CJ Robinson, Reporter
The Student Technology Assistance Team is available to help students who have basic technology questions.
STAT employees help students having trouble connecting to Wi-Fi, accessing Canvas or having minor technological problems with their personal devices. According to the Pierce College website, a STAT member is always present in the College Center in room 272. Additionally, STAT stations are set up in the cafeteria and library during the first three weeks of each quarter and midterm week.
“The STAT program is just like what we do in the computer lab, helping students with technology questions,” District Computer Labs Manager Kandee Nelson said. “The difference is we have expanded beyond the labs, at the point of need for students.”
Nelson came up with the idea when she saw rates declining in the use of computer labs and a large amount of students using personal devices on campus. In order to help these students, STAT stations are set up during peak times, such as the first three weeks of the quarter as many students need help with their first experience with Canvas or connecting to campus Wi-Fi. This gives technological help to students without them being required to go into labs. Two of these on the Puyallup campus are in the library and the dining commons.
This program also provides a buffer between the IT department and students.
“They welcome STAT,” Nelson said. “If we weren’t here they (students) would be knocking down IT’s door the first three weeks of the quarter asking those simple questions.”
Joseph Sanchez, a STAT employee, said that the stations aren’t always used to their full potential.
“I’m supposed to help, but when 5 or even 6 (p.m.) hits, no one is there,” Sanchez said. “You’re sitting there doing nothing.”
A survey in fall 2015 showed that 92 percent of students approved of a service that supports mobile devices at Pierce and 40 percent knew that one existed on campus.
During that same time period, a total of 46 students at the Puyallup campus were helped during the five weeks it was offered and 44 were solved by STAT directly. Nelson said this year was a “pilot year” for the program and that these statistics come from little advertising and minimal funding.
Funding for the program comes from the technology fee included with students’ tuition. Because the program is an expansion of existing resources for students, Nelson said she requested more funding this year, but was denied. She hopes to gain more in 2016-17 to augment the program.
In order to advertise, the team now have vests with a logo created by Marketing and Communications, tablecloths for the STAT stations and are planning to create a vertical banner. At Fort Steilacoom, the student government funded 400 touch-sensitive gloves to help spread awareness about the program, but funding was denied at the Puyallup campus.
Nelson said she hopes to one day be able to have roaming STAT members who can help students in even more locations.
Students with questions can visit a STAT station during the first three weeks of the quarter and midterm week or the computer lab in the CTR room 272.
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