New avenue for tech help launches

By on September 22, 2010

The Quinnipiac Knowledge Base, a new search engine specialized for the Quinnipiac community, is the newest addition to MyQ. The program, which contains a collection of over 200 articles aimed at answering technology questions, launched this semester during the first week of classes.

The Knowledge Base is an online database of articles that outline FAQ, processes and procedures. The technology-related articles and tutorials it contains are searchable and accessible from any Internet connection.

John Bratsis has been a system administrator at Quinnipiac for four years. In this position, he ensures that the core systems of the online Quinnipiac community, such as MyQ and WebAdvisor, are usable and available to students, faculty and staff. As system administrator, Bratsis took on the role of implementing the Knowledge Base and integrating it in MyQ. This includes licensing, testing, customizations, checking redundancy and availability and granting permission to users and administrators.

“Information Services wants to assist the whole Quinnipiac community with finding answers to their technology questions and needs,” Bratsis said. “Not only does the Knowledge Base assist all Information Services members in this mission, but also students, faculty, and staff can search the Knowledge Base for answers themselves. We feel that combining a repository of knowledge with the element of selfservice is extremely powerful.”

In the database, there are three ways to search through articles. First, the basic search feature is a method based on keywords. Second, the advanced search is a method that looks for exact words or phrases within an article.

The tag cloud is the third technique. It includes a visual search method that lists clickable article groupings which show all the articles associated within the selected group. The size of the font in the tag cloud correlates with the number of articles in that section. The larger the font, the more articles there are.

“You can think of it as being a Google search for Quinnipiac technology questions and information,” Bratsis said.

According to Bratsis, the Knowledge Base has been in evolving for approximately nine months. During this time, the system was developed and tested, technology articles were added and the program was introduced.

Lauren Erardi worked at QU Online for five years and in November 2009, assumed the position of associate director of technology. As associate director, Erardi works to set strategies and direction to integrate technology as a fundamental classroom component of the teaching and learning processes.

For the Knowledge Base, Erardi is the project manager. The project team consists of representatives from units throughout Information Services including Academic Technology, Administrative Systems, Arnold Bernhard Library, Client Services and QU Online.

According to Erardi, the Knowledge Base’s key function is allowing Information Services to expand technology offerings by empowering people to “help themselves.”

“One of Information Services’ goals is to make technology accessible and approachable to the campus community,” Erardi said. “This includes creating an array of self-help material so anybody can find the answers they’re looking for at any time, and in any place. The Knowledge Base provides a ‘one-stop shopping’ model for this information.”

A few bugs early on during the testing phase were identified and fixed through continued testing of committee members.

“Since the launch of the Knowledge Base, we are hearing positive reviews from students and faculty who are finding answers to their technology questions,” Bratsis said.

“We are tracking the questions that come into Information Services and we are creating additional Knowledge Base articles based on those questions to help ensure it is as comprehensive as possible,” Erardi said

If the system is heavily used, Information Services may consider engaging other campus offices for it to contain more than technology information.

“We hope the system will be embraced across campus,” Erardi said. “When viewing an article you will notice on the right side of the screen there are basic tracking capabilities that shows how many times an article has been accessed. This information will help us determine how the system is being used.”

A campus-wide naming contest for the Knowledge Base program to be renamed will be held soon.

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About Meghan Parmentier

Senior Managing Editor
Email: editor@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @MegE921
Year: 2012
Major: English & public relations
Hometown: Hudson, N.Y.
Dream Job: Government PR / Editor for book publishing company