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Help is available ‘24/7’ for on-line students, faculty

January 31, 2006

Twenty-four hour help is now available to students and faculty in courses that use the online course management system (Blackboard) at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

maureen_windmeyer.jpgThe 24-hour, seven-day-a-week help desk service launched January 5 and is working well, said Maureen Windmeyer, director of client services for UNCP’s University Computing and Information Services (UCIS).

“There were 40 calls on Friday, January 5 and 124 on the following Monday,” Windmeyer said. “We’re very pleased with the service so far.”

UNCP’s rapidly growing on-line course offerings led the University to contract with SunGard Collegis Learning Technology of Maintland, Fla., to provide round-the-clock service for Blackboard, the online course management system.

SunGard provides troubleshooting for Web browsers, Blackboard and logins, and they can check accounts to verify enrollment. The company can also monitor UNCP’s server to see if it is experiencing problems.

“So far, the average time needed to answer these calls is 18 seconds,” Windmeyer said. “When callers are referred to us, it is for appropriate reasons.”

Online courses and courses that use Blackboard software are growing rapidly.

In the 2005-06 academic year, there are nearly 200 online courses, up more than 33 percent from the 2004-05.

maurice_mitchell.jpMore than 400 courses and 4,631 students used Blackboard services in 2005-06. Some UNCP’s professors, who are not teaching online courses, also used Blackboard to offer course information, resources and written interactions.

Students and professors may call toll free, 1.800.630.7603 and hear “UNCP Blackboard Help Desk,” Windmeyer said.

Dr. Maurice Mitchell, associate vice chancellor for UCIS, is also pleased with the service.

“This is a tremendous leap forward for the service we provide users,” Dr. Mitchell said.

For questions about the Help Desk, please contact UCIS at 910.521.6260 or email For questions about online courses at UNCP, please contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at 910.521.6367 or email