A note for the Blackboard Help-with-a-capital-“H” Desk

I wish I could be a computer genius. I also wish I could be a chess champion and an Olympic diver, but I’ll leave all these wishes to my daydreams. At this point in my life, I figure I’ll do what I know and leave the rest to the pros.

I’d like to take some eCampusNews blog space to recognize some pros on campus: the Blackboard Help Desk. I don’t know what I’d do without them. When I send them an email, they often respond within the hour. If I’m in a moment of near-panic (post-panic, as the case often is) and have to call, even their outgoing voicemail message—“You have reached the Blackboard Help Desk…” brings me calm. This is rare for a recorded message.

The best part of this Help-with-a-capital-“H” is its availability. Sometimes I’ll be stuck clicking something over and over to no avail—banging my head against the Blackboard, you might say—and want to call. But wait, I say to myself, it’s Sunday! No one is on campus now! I look up their webpage and see someone is there. Wait, it’s lunch hour… no problem. Wait, it’s almost eleven at night… no problem. Wait, it’s eight in the morning—OK, no one is there, but just wait a half-hour. Someone will pick up the phone at 8:31 am (yes, I’ve called at 8:31 am before—and 10:50 pm). I’ll tell her or him my problem, and without fail they figure it out.

Better still, they’re there for my students. Even though I put the Help Desk contact information in my syllabus, my online students always email me when they’re having troubles with Blackboard. I don’t fault them for it; as their teacher I expect to be the first point of contact with any difficulty they have. I confess I can be little help, however. I try to troubleshoot the problem with what technical know-how I have, but then I always write, “If that doesn’t work, call the Blackboard Help Desk. Write me back if the problem persists.”

I never hear back. No news is good news.

Thanks, Blackboard Help Desk. You’re like the computer wizards I wish I were. I suppose you all play speed-chess and can do reverse 2 ½ somersault pike dives, too.