Colleges Try ‘Crowdsourcing’ Help Desks to Save Money

Sourced with compliments from http://www.resourceshelf.com/2009/11/02/colleges-try-crowdsourcing-help-desks-to-save-money/

At Indiana University at Bloomington, good help is not hard to find, but it’s pricey. Questions to the 24-hour tech-support help desk cost the institution about $11.41 per phone call and $9.39 per e-mail message—and last year the help desk handled more than 150,000 inquiries.

All that advice adds up, and at peak times some in need of it are left waiting. So, in a few weeks, the university will try something different: letting computer users answer one another’s questions.

Information-technology people call this “crowdsourcing,” a buzzword that puts a positive spin on leaving the job of writing and editing to volunteers rather than hired experts. The idea is to open a Web site where students and professors can post their IT woes and share their solutions. College officials tell me they hope it will grow into a self-service support center for colleges nationwide—a kind of Wikipedia for campus computer problems.

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