To the Editor:

In response to the News’ View “CA response system could use adjustment” (4/1), we at Student Computing make it our goal to provide quality support for Yale undergraduate and graduate students. Our service spans the full spectrum of computer problems, including networking, upgrading operating systems, removing viruses, cleaning compromised computers, recovering data from dead hard drives, and repairing serious hardware problems. Since August 27, 2003, our 72 Computing Assistants (CAs) have resolved 6,055 help request tickets (more tickets resolved than the last two academic years combined!) for 3,310 unique students, and the CAs have logged almost 21,000 hours of work, averaging about 10 hours per week per CA. Students have used our online feedback system to submit 390 unique comments on our support, and all but 3 have been positive.

Our support model has evolved from an informal phone system to an online help request system. We have moved to the online system because help requests are now logged and seen by multiple CAs, as opposed to individual CAs as before. The new system ensures that help requests are not lost in e-mail inboxes or voicemails. We use our online help request system to record all transactions regarding a student’s computer troubles, but most importantly, we have an online forum for the CAs to collaborate on tickets.

Each of the colleges has a CA coordinator whose responsibility is to assign help request tickets, to verify that tickets are resolved quickly and efficiently, and to ensure the college computing cluster is maintained in good working order. The coordinator is an experienced CA who has demonstrated responsibility and technical knowledge. In addition, the coordinator reports directly to Student Computing management in weekly status reports and biweekly coordinator meetings. This system has been in place for several years and has proven very effective.

We are constantly expanding the FAQs section of our Web site, and we welcome any requests for online help documentation. In the near future, we plan to replace the static content of the FAQs with dynamic content generated directly from our internal CA knowledge base.

We strive to maintain a 48-hour first response time and to resolve problems as quickly as they arise. Under our current support model, our help requests have an average first response time of nine hours, and an average complete resolution time of one week. The sheer volume of the work we do will result in occasional lapses and individual cases where we do not meet our service goals. When we have not met expectations, we ask that you try to be as understanding as possible. We do want to improve and if you feel as if you are not being helped in a timely and effective manner, please contact us immediately.

We are extremely proud of the hard work of this year’s CAs, but we are always working to provide better support to more people. We work very hard to improve the service skills of the CAs, and your feedback is crucial. We welcome your comments on our Web site at or you can e-mail us directly at Our offices are at 175 Whitney Avenue, Rm. 148, so please come by and share your experiences with our service, whether they are positive or negative.

Loriann Higashi

Minh Vuong

April 11, 2004

The writers are the manager and the assistant manager of student computing.