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A typical IT help desk has several functions. It provides the technology users a single point of contact, to receive assistance (on demand training) on various computer-related issues. The IT help desk typically manages its requests via help desk software, such as an issue tracking system, that monitors and tracks user requests.

In addition to supporting end-users directly, many organizations have begun to utilize help desk interactions for planning and product/service development. Another potential value of help desk(s) is their unique position in communicating daily with numerous customers or employees. This gives the help desk the ability to monitor the user environment for issues from technical problems and user preferences and satisfaction to providing data for product design and strategic planning. Such information gathered at the help desk can be valuable for use in planning and preparation for other units in information technology.

Typical Help Desk Support Levels (example)

  • Level 1 is general support (Will be provided by Vendor)
  • Level 2 is more advanced support (Provided by Campus Administrators)
  • Level 3 is generally an escalation point from the Campus Administrators (Provided by UMassOnline/UITS)
  • Level 4 is for vendor related issues (Provided by Software/Hardware vendors)



BO: Kevin O'Brien
PO: Kevin O'Brien
TO: Kevin O'Brien
Others: UMOL Tech Team


UMassOnline has partnered with Pearson Embanet Help Desk Support Services to provide 24x7 Technical Support for Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Vista and other online technologies.

Each campus has the ability to choose both the hours of coverage and scope of services (i.e. technologies supported, support levels, etc.). UMass Amherst, UMass Boston and UMass Worcester participate with 24x7 coverage, while UMass Dartmouth and UMass Lowell only receive off-hours, holiday and weekend support. Quinsigamond Community College and Wentworth Institute of Technology also opt into this support model for students and faculty.


Any UMassOnline hosted campus may participate in extended help desk services. Please contact Licensing at for additional information.


UMassOnline campuses are charged $13.27 per contact as defined in the Pearson Embanet Agreement.


As each campus' technologies (i.e. the academic tools provided to access online learning), services (i.e. the type of support and resources offered to end-users of online learning) and business processes (i.e. the policies, practices and workflows related to online learning) are different, it is critical to clearly establish relationships, roles and responsibilities between the campuses as the primary client — their local CE offices, IT support staff, local help desk, etc. — UMassOnline, as the contract manager — and the vendor as the service provider.


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