In today’s high-tech world it’s good to know a mechanic of sorts. Someone that can help keep the absolutely necessary laptop running smoothly, or for that matter, help find that lost password that seems harder to locate than the infamous single blue striped sock.
CSUN has a knowledgeable staff of technicians in its IT Help Center and it’s probably a good bet most don’t know about this service or where to find it. They don’t call it the “dungeon” for no reason. It’s located underneath the Oviatt Library in Room 33. This is a nickname sometimes heard from a staff member at the front desk when a student who finally locates them and they’re usually somewhat surprised that anything exists down there.
Now it’s time for the all-too-familiar disclaimer: granted, the IT Help Center staff are here to help CSUN students, however, the extent of what they are willing to do is limited. Understandably so considering the service is available to more than 36,000 students and it is free of charge.
Hewitt Dixon, computer science, 21, has been on the IT Help Desk staff for about a year and he spoke of not only what services are available to students but to the degree or extent of help, and who will qualify for their assistance.
“We can help them with any kind of password resets, information on the portal, and some antivirus installation [Mac or PC],” he said. The anti-virus programs are available for free and can be downloaded at the CSUN IT website and CSUN student ID and password will be required. Only one anti-virus program installation per student, he said.
“Due to the fact that we can’t give out licenses to everyone, we can only give out one license per person,” Dixon said. Also students must be verified prior to receiving tech support, he said. “We have to be able find you in the system‚ either student or extension student or visiting guest. We will help but any outside [individual], we can’t give any services.”
Dixon enjoys assisting students with their computer related dilemmas and he isn’t the only one on the IT Help Center staff that is ready to help. Sam Huffman, computer science and math, 21, is polite and answers just about every question with a “yes sir.” A trait that would just about make anyone feel older than they are–moving along. Huffman said that the most common question of the IT Help Center involves accessing student accounts and he often hears the phrase, “How can I access my account?” Getting him to specify exactly what account wasn’t difficult at all.
“Well, the myNorthridge Portal account as well as the e-mail account [Google]. Both of them usually go hand-in-hand. If they can’t access one they can’t usually access the other,” he said. “And that usually comes down to a password issue.” The most common reason for the inability to access these accounts is that the student can’t recall their “forgot your password phrase” or it was never set up initially. In either case, the IT Help Center staff is able to assist students.
Huffman also works in the call-in center at 818-677-1400 and although many of the calls relate to password issues, with the walk-in center the more common issue is Wi-Fi connectivity.
“We usually get a lot of the laptop related wireless issues because the students are on campus. They’re trying to get onto the wireless signal but if they can’t, they have to bring them here,” he said.
Which is nice because all of us at some point have made that call which begins halfway around the world with someone who speaks English as a second language. At this point the frustration mounts.
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