In April 2017, we invited staff to take part in our annual survey to find out your views on IT Services at the University of Aberdeen. See full survey report here.
We received 1,101 responses from staff and postgraduate researchers. Overall
- 88% of respondents said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with our services
- 44% felt we had delivered an improved service over the past 12 months
We reviewed and analysed all survey results, including over 900 free-text comments. Detailed below are some of the changes we have already made in response to this feedback, and our future plans. We are committed to continually improve our services to meet your needs, your views are invaluable in helping us to achieve this.
- Core Services
Email O365: You said... We did...
“O365 is cumbersome and irritating to use especially if you have more than one account.”
The full Outlook client allows you to add more than one university mailbox to email in 0365; this may help, as you’ll be able to see all the mailboxes in one window. Contact the Service Desk if you’d like assistance setting this up. We also provide a range of material supporting use of email via the Learners’ Toolkit.
Teaching Spaces: You said... We did...
“There aren’t enough large computer rooms for group teaching.”
We constantly review the classroom usage statistics and bookings to see what is required. Whilst we are restricted by physical building size we do our best to make sure our estate offers what is required. Over the next two years we plan to consolidate the smaller rooms.
“Classroom computer instructions are poor.”
We aim to provide clear and uncomplicated prompt sheets. Please let us know if you have any suggestions to improve them. Our AV team can also provide training if needed.
“Slow pc start-up times.”
We have invested in fast SSD technology to improve PC start up times. Currently 80% of our estate has these and we will continue to work towards ensuring the full estate is covered. If devices are slow to start up then they are broken and should be reported to the Service Desk.
“Projection facilities need to be improved in most classrooms”
AV staff support and monitor around 400 teaching spaces across the campus. If you spot a problem with image quality or operational performance, please report it to the Service Desk so that we can address the issue quickly.
There is a continual replacement cycle for all display facilities in classrooms and lecture theatres.
Virtual Learning Environments (VLE): You said... We did...
“MyAberdeen feels clunky and there are some areas where functionality does not meet your needs.”
“The MyMBChB upgrade failed to meet user expectations.”
IT Services is collaborating with colleagues in the Centre for Academic Development to review the existing VLE provision across the institution. An updated provision is expected to be available for the 2018/19 academic year.
“Group data does not flow between MyAberdeen & MyTimetable.”
Following discussions with the MyTimetable School Representatives, we have developed new functionality to synchronise the group information between MyAberdeen and MyTimetable. This new functionality will be available for the 2017/18 academic year.
“Student Absence Reporting is not linked to Attendance Monitoring within MyTimetable.”
This forms part of the wider Student LifeCycle and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) projects, and so whilst there may not be an immediate improvement, we already have this on our list of process improvements to make.
Lecture theatres: You said... We did...
“Not everyone needs interactive whiteboards, they crowd out the blackboards and whiteboards that are sometimes needed.”
We no longer install interactive whiteboards and the legacy boards are being removed gradually. We will continue to develop and deploy technology solutions for users who wish to use interactive technology during their lectures although we recognise that not everyone will wish to use it. Training will also be supplied for new any technologies introduced.
“Some microphones in large lecture theatres don’t work.”
Microphones in lecture theatres are now checked on a daily basis to ensure they work.
MFDs: You said... We did...
“What’s the best way to report a fault? Last time I emailed but it took 30 hours to get a response.”
Report MFD faults or issues via firstname.lastname@example.org. Faults with hardware or configuration are dealt with by a third party vendor, to whom we pass your calls. However, the Service Desk should provide an acknowledgement and an update on progress swiftly.
“We need more machines with a stapling function.”
There are 64 MFDs with stapling capacity in the fleet. Please email the Service Desk with details of your location and we can both advise you of the nearest devices that do stapling, and can discuss with you the options for relocating existing staple-capable devices or adding stapling function to your preferred location. We have precise figures for usage of our MFD fleet, and are currently (July-August 2017) considering re-locating devices to maximise usage.
“The new machines seems slower and are often broken”
We have 374 devices, and receive regular statistics regarding availability. Across the fleet, the uptime average for Q2 2017 was 99.8%, with an average downtime of 162 minutes. If you have concerns about a particular device, please email Service Desk with the location and we will investigate.
“Spare toner needs to be kept in-house”
Yes, we agree! In June and July 2017, Service Desk staff have been contacting the 120 named departmental contacts for our print devices to clarify arrangements about storing and ordering toner. Part of the drive is to ensure that a spare toner cartridge is available near each device.
Wifi: You said... We did...
“Wifi seems patchy in some buildings”
“Eduroam is unstable”
We are mid-way through an upgrade and replacement programme to replace the existing wireless network across the campus. Our wifi performance has improved significantly in the locations where the new network has been installed, allowing even more people to log on with better performance and once complete will allow even more users to concurrently log-on. Whilst we continually monitor the service please do report blackspots to the service desk to help us improve coverage even further.
- Non-Core Services
MyIT/Service desk: You said... We did...
“The online system is clunky, has an unpleasant interface, and reports get lost too”
The Service Desk has a medium-term ambition to replacing the call-handling software, improving both the look and the functionality of the self-service reporting tool. We track thousands of call each year and have no knowledge of reports getting lost. We will happily look into specific cases if we are sent the call reference number.
“The response rate is variable, from minutes to never!”
The Service Desk initial response time will vary during the Academic Year; at the beginning of term, we have peaks of demand with hundreds of calls per day, and this will affect response time. Calls are either resolved by the Front-line Service Desk team, or passed to appropriate experts. Whilst it is disappointing to hear “Never” as a response time, we accept that calls can get overlooked. We issue weekly reports within IT Services on call numbers and duration, and managers within IT Services will chase up the calls in their area that are lingering. As ever, if we receive a specific call reference number, we can investigate and report on call turnaround time.
“It feels a bit like a lottery, some staff are fantastic, super-fast and really know what they are doing. Others aren’t so helpful or their advice varies dramatically.”
Within the Service Desk team, we do monitor and review calls, and seek to improve the service. If a customer feels that IT Services was not helpful, or did not provide good advice, please tell us so that we can investigate and report back.
BoB: You said... We did...
“It’s a brilliant tool but not enough people know we have it.”
It’s good to hear the positive feedback. BoB is now featured on the IT Services’ home page (www.abdn.ac.uk/it/) and was a featured item in the Learners’ Toolkit in a bid to improve its visibility. We will continue to promote the service in new ways to raise its profile further amongst staff and students.
Digitally Enhanced Learning Spaces (DELS): You said... We did...
“Staff should be given training or dedicated sessions to practice using these spaces.”
We will be organising regular training sessions for these spaces, keep an eye out in the staff ezine for dates.
“Swipe access would be more convenient than having to wait for the room to be unlocked.”
Swipe access has been installed in the DELS space in MR028, Old Aberdeen. We would like to provide this at Foresterhill too but multiple tenancy is making this tricky.
Learners Toolkit: You said... We did
“I’m worried that factsheets with clickable links are being replaced by videos.”
The video clips are designed to be quick and easy introductions to a service, but rest assured fact sheets remain a key part of the Learners Toolkit. We currently have over 180 fact sheets in Toolkit. To access fact sheets, click on the Guides icon.
“I could find nothing for expert level in the toolkit”
We review the Learners’ Toolkit every year to look at how we can make it a better user experience for you. This year, in addition to launching an enhanced interface, we have introduced new tool Types. From customer feedback, we realised that the Levels were very much open to interpretation; for example, one person’s notion of ‘intermediate’ might be another’s ‘expert’. Our new categories - Digital Skills, University Systems and Software, University Services and Schools, and Productivity Tools - replace the old Levels. See our news item for more about the new look Learners’ Toolkit.
Skype for Business: You said... We did
“Skype for Business isn’t as effective or easy to use as Skype or other video conferencing software available.”
We've opened Skype for Business (SfB) to allow users to connect with SfB users in other organisations. You will now be able to see their presence and availability, making it simpler to arrange meetings or calls. See our news item, Using ‘Skype for business’ for meetings worldwide.
Virtual Desk Infrastructure (VDI): You said... We did
“The VDI system can be slow at times”
We are aware the VDI can be less responsive during times of heavy use. In 2017/18 we will be dedicating significant budget to enhance the performance of this system to address this issue.
“I want to save files between my machine and the VDI.”
We do not permit the saving of files through the VDI to protect the University IT systems from malware.
“It is annoying that so many library journals can only be accessed through the VDI”
Unfortunately many publishers will only allow access to Journals from the University network. Using the VDI puts you on the University’s network via a virtual desktop when working offsite.
Remote Access (VPN): You said... We did
“The remote access system is clunky, slow and difficult to use”
We plan to replace the VPN with a flexible and better performing remote access solution in the coming year.