HelpDesk Service Level Agreement
serves as a set of guidelines to inform decision making within
Information Technology Services (ITS) as well as a guide
for community members to better understand the Micro Computer
support services provided by ITS. The document is limited in
scope in that it sets official policy for providing help through
the HelpDesk. Because ITS is very service minded there are other
avenues by which service is provided, e.g., staff freely help
students in the Lilly computer lab even in the evenings and on
weekends; staff interact with faculty, staff and students across
campus in many settings besides a formal “office call.” By
setting down these policies and channeling requests for help
through the HelpDesk we hope to provide better service, have
an accurate profile of user training needs, and demonstrate the
appropriate level of staff needed to handle the volume of requests.
In developing this document, ITS and the Information Technology
Policy Committee (ITPC) assume that training is an important
aspect of effective support for the use of computer technology.
tracking the kinds of questions received at the HelpDesk, ITS
plans to develop and offer timely and appropriate training
This document will change over time as circumstances warrant
and therefore it is a work in progress. The document was prepared
Information Services and reviewed by ITPC. Questions and comments
are welcome. Please contact the Director of Computing Services,
Coordinator of Information Services or members of ITPC.
Covered Under This Agreement
This agreement is intended to cover all Earlham College Administrative
and Academic departments, units, and programs as determined by
Government and Organizational Offices
Connected to the College Network
Methods of Contact
The HelpDesk acts as a central point of contact for all technical
support, including hardware and software questions and consulting,
installations, networking, network connection requests, and troubleshooting.
Faculty and staff may submit requests online, by sending e-mail
or by calling 973-2000 (on campus, dial x2000).
Please note that due to staffing limitations phone support may not
be immediately available at all times.
Hours of Operation
Assistance will normally be available from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday
through Friday, except when the College is closed due to holidays,
administrative closings, or inclement weather. Phone coverage may
not be available at all times due to staffing limitations. Requests
can be submitted online
or by e-mail 24 hours
Responsibilities of Those Making a Request
Before contacting the Helpdesk users should explore help that is
readily available in their departments. This help might come from
the help utility that is built into each application and the operating
system software, and/or peers in the department.
When such local help has been exhausted and assistance is needed,
then the users should contact the HelpDesk through one of
the methods described in Section 2.
In contacting the HelpDesk provide the following information:
contact information (first and last name, department,
and phone number)
Type of computer
on which you are experiencing the problem (Dell or Macintosh,
Desktop or Laptop), and operating system (Mac OS X, Windows
2000 or XP)
clear and specific description of the problem or request,
including information regarding any error messages you
may have received.
The average replacement cycle for college owned computers,
in primary placement locations, is 4 years. Primary placement locations
include ITS managed labs and systems specifically designated to
individual faculty and staff.
Computer equipment located in secondary placement
locations, such as departmental classrooms, non grant-funded departmental
labs, student government organizations, departmental student worker
systems, etc., will be replaced with suitable recycled systems as
they become available.
Computer equipment originally acquired through grant
funding or direct departmental funds, will be replaced with suitable
recycled systems and treated as secondary placement equipment, if
additional grant money or departmental funding, is not available
to replace it with new equipment.
Expansion of primary or secondary computer equipment,
must be approved by the Director of Computing Services in consultation
with the IS Directors and appropriate senior administrators.
Computer Hardware Expansion Guidelines
Requests to add new computing equipment to our existing inventory,
that are not being funded through grants or departmental funds,
must be submitted to the Director of Computing Services, by the
departmental supervisor. The requests will be reviewed by a committee
that will be composed of the IS directors, one faculty member from
ITPC and the Instructional Technologist or other experts as appropriate
to the request. Funding will be sought for requests that pass this
In an effort to improve support and keep costs down ITS selects
computer configurations and models that will meet the computing
needs of the average user for the term of the replacement cycle.
ITS will upgrade components of the system as appropriate to keep
it at a reasonable level of functionality for the term of the replacement
The selected system should allow the user to create word processing
documents, spreadsheets, simple multimedia presentations, and web
pages, as well as check e-mail and access information on the Internet
in a reasonably efficient fashion.
Hardware support is divided into three different categories;
fully supported, minimally supported, networked only.
This category refers to college-owned hardware
purchased through or in consultation with Computing Services
that fall into one of
ITS has chosen Dell to be the PC vendor of choice for all operating
systems (such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, Free BSD) that function
on an Intel-based
and will fully support the Dell hardware models listed below.
|- Optiplex Desktops
|- Precision Workstations
|- PowerEdge Servers
|- Latitude Laptops
ITS also fully supports the following models of Apple Macintosh
G3 & G4 PowerBook Laptops
|- G3, G4 and G5 Desktops
|- G3 & G4 iBook Laptops
|- G4 & G5 iMacs
IBM Laptops, Dell Dimension desktops, and older Macintosh
PowerPC models will be supported as legacy systems until they are
This category of hardware includes all college-owned hardware that
is not covered in the fully supported category.
Hardware in this category will be included in the
college’s desktop inventory and given the ability to connect
to the campus wide network.
The support for this hardware and all the software
installed on it (excluding inventory and antivirus software) will
be the responsibility of the department or individual who purchased
Hardware in this category will only be eligible for
college owned site-license software that is used to inventory equipment
and to protect the system as well as the network, such as antivirus
software, patch management and policy enforcement software.
This category will include all non-college-owned
Student owned equipment is covered under this category.
Student owned equipment is directly supported only
for the purpose of connecting it to the campus wide network. This
support will consist of assistance in assuring that the network
card is correctly configured for the student's operating system
to properly function on the Earlham Network. It is the student's
responsibility to insure that the operating system software is functioning
properly and that the computer is free of viruses, spyware, and
adware. Non-direct support assistance* will be available during
Faculty and Staff personally owned equipment is
discouraged on the college network, but in certain instances, with
the approval of the Department Head or Convener, ITS will provide
the ability for this hardware to be connected to the network. ITS
cannot provide any other type of support for this hardware.
Hardware in this category will only be eligible for
college owned site-license software that is used to protect the
system as well as the network, such as antivirus software and policy
* Students can schedule a time to come into ITS to
get assistance with their computers. Days and times for this service
will vary semester by semester. The student is expected to be present
during this time and will be guided by ITS student workers or staff
to repair their own computers.
Software support is broken into four categories; fully support,
partially supported, installation only, and not supported, that
are described in more detail below. The first three categories apply
only to fully supported hardware. This support is intended for software
installed on college-owned computers, excluding those in managed
The software packages in this category are considered the college
standard packages for each of the noted application types. Upgrades
for these standard packages are to be done on all of the college
owned computers in a “reasonable” timeframe. Although
exceptions are possible the packages in the Productivity Tools categories
will be upgraded once every four years at the start of the new replacement
cycle. Requests for an exception to this cycle will be considered
by the Director of Computing Services in consultation with the IS
Directors, ITPC, and the appropriate senior administrators.
Operating System software will be kept up-to-date
with the latest security patches and updates, as they are made available.
Major OS upgrades will be performed at least once every four years
at the start of the new replacement cycle. Exceptions to this cycle
are will be considered by the Director of Computing Services in
consultation with the IS Directors, ITPC, and the appropriate senior
Software in the Utilities category will be upgraded
as is necessary. Many of these packages get automatically upgraded
as regular operating system updates are performed.
ITS will install, troubleshoot, and help in the use
of these applications. All of the software listed below comes installed,
as appropriate to platform (Mac or PC), on newly installed desktops/laptops,
with noted exceptions.
Macintosh Operating System: OS X (10.3.x)
Windows Operating System: XP Professional
Word Processing: MS Word 2003 (PC) & 2004 (Mac)
Spreadsheet: MS Excel 2003 (PC) & 2004 (Mac)
Presentation: MS PowerPoint 2003 (PC) & 2004 (Mac)
Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 (PC & Mac)
PDF Creation Utility: Adobe Acrobat 7 (PC & Mac)
Reporting Tools: Hyperion Explorer (Formerly known as Brio) * (PC)
- Eudora 6.2 (Sponsored Mode or “Light Mode” only.)**
(PC & Mac)
- Apple Mail (Mac)
- Sophos (PC, Mac & Unix)
- MS Internet Explorer 6.x (PC) & 5.x (Mac)
- Mozilla Firefox 1.x (PC & Mac)
- Safari 1.x (Mac)
- Photoshop Elements 3.0 (PC & Mac)
- Irfan View (PC)
- Preview (Mac)
- Windows Media Player (PC)
- RealPlayer (PC & Mac)
- Quicktime (PC & Mac)
- WinAmp (PC)
- Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 (PC & Mac)
- Preview 2.x (Mac)
- SSH Secure Shell (PC)
Web-Based Software Packages
A number of web-based software packages are available for use by
authenticated Earlham users and in most cases are fully supported.
The list below represents the most common packages.
- SunOne Calendar
- WebEvent Calendar
- Library System
* Hyperion Explorer (formerly Brio) can be purchased
by Administrative offices for creating reports from the Banner database.
**For Eudora there is a “Paid Mode” version
that does not contain advertisements. Individual departments may
make the choice, at their expense, to have this version installed.
Paid Mode is fully supported by ITS.
ITS will support these older packages, but will no longer install
them. The newest versions mentioned above will be installed when
systems are upgraded or replaced.
Macintosh Operating System: OS X (10.1.x & 10.2.x)
Windows Operating System: 2000
Word Processing: MS Word Versions prior to 2003 (PC) & 2004
(Mac) Spreadsheet: MS Excel Versions prior to 2003 (PC) & 2004
Presentation: MS PowerPoint Versions prior to 2003 (PC) & 2004
Email Client: Eudora All versions prior to 6.2
Image Editors: Macromedia Fireworks Versions prior to MX 2004
Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver Versions prior to MX 2004
- MS Internet Explorer Versions prior to 6.x
- Netscape All Versions
ITS will install these products, but users must learn how to use
them on their own. Classes may be available through Element K, an
online training site. Call Computing Services to check on the availability
of classes and to get assigned an Element K account.
- Adobe Photoshop
- Macromedia Fireworks
- MS Publisher 2003 (PC)
- Adobe PageMaker (Mac)
- SPSS 13.x (PC) & 11.x (Mac) *
- MS Access 2003 (PC) **
- FileMaker Pro (Mac)
- LeapFTP (PC)
Unix Terminal Emulator:
- X-Win 32 (PC)
* This software is provided with the computer at no cost to the
department, through a Campus Site License negotiated by ITS, or
because it is provided by the vendor at no cost.
*** This software is available at no cost to the department, through
a Campus Site License negotiated by ITS. Departments or individual
requesting this software should consult with the Administrative
A special category of `Installation Only’ software is specialized
software used by a few people because of its discipline or departmental
related special purpose. In these cases ITS will work with the individuals
to determine if the software will work on the current standard operating
system installed on new machines (i.e., in 2005 Windows XP Professional,
MAC OS 10.3.x). ITS will provide installation of this software on
`Fully Supported Hardware’ if the user does not feel capable
of performing the installation. Support of this type of software
will be the responsibility of the user.
ITS will not assist in installing, using, or troubleshooting any
products not covered in the list above. See Section 9.
ITS reserves the right to remove any unsupported software
if it is suspected the software causes a recurring problem on a
college-owned system that ITS supports.
Responsibilities of Computing Services
Computing Services, using tracking software, will maintain
records of incoming requests as they are received. If a user reaches
a person by telephone the Helpdesk staff member will try to determine
the nature of the problem and refer the query to the appropriate
specialist. Based on the “Priorities and Response Times”
statement below the requests will be answered. However a Helpdesk
staff member will make personal contact with the requestor within
seven working days.
Priorities and Response Times
The HelpDesk will use the following guidelines in prioritizing
requests and will strive to begin working on the problem within
the target timeframe.
times may be shorter or longer depending on the volume of requests
Response Time *
more than five individuals; or is mission critical and there
is no workaround available.
Examples: E-Mail services are
not functional; network printing is not available; classroom
computing technology is not functioning pending a class.
call or page technicians for immediate response.
one to five individuals, no workaround available.
Personal document located on user’s hard drive must
be printed, but user’s monitor is not functional.
response within 8 working hours.
fewer than five people, workarounds available.
Can't check e-mail from one computer, but could use WebMail
response within three working days.
affect on productivity, or unsupported software.
Monitor showing b/w instead of color. CD player has no sound.
effort as time allows.
Target Response Time is defined as the time between receipt of
the call and the time
than a Micro Support Team member begins working on the problem.
Due to the wide diversity of problems that can occur, and the
response time IS NOT defined as the time between the receipt
of a call and problem resolution.
Rights and Responsibilities of users
Academic faculty and staff
new Dell PCs are installed users must log onto the machine. Users
are given access rights as a “User” or as a “Power User .” If
a user wishes to be approved as a Power User for the college-owned
desk or laptop provided for their use, the user must sign a statement
for the legal ownership and use of software other than that installed
by Computing Services. A copy of the statement can be viewed
Users may also opt for access rights as a user only. In that
the user will need
to contact Computing Services for the installation of software
beyond the basic set listed above.
Administrative faculty and staff
new Dell PCs are installed users must log onto the machine. Users
are given access rights as a “User.” If a user needs the ability to install
software as part of their work responsibilities, approval will be given by the department’s
supervisor for the user to be approved as a Power User for
the college-owned desk or laptop provided for their use. The user
must sign a statement accepting
responsibility for the legal ownership and use of software other
than that installed by Computing Services. A copy of the statement
can be viewed at http://www.earlham.edu/ecs/html/policies/softpiracy.html.
Without the “Power User” access it is
necessary to contact Computing Services for the installation of