Staff Computer Training: Help Us to Help You

by Annie Yu

The Staff Computer Courses offered by the Computing Services Centre (CSC) has provided leading-edge training to strengthen the IT skills of faculty and staff since 1992. A variety of courses are offered throughout the year at different technical levels (introduction and advanced) and conducted in-house at the Teaching Studios on campus. These courses are well received by our colleagues.

However, there are times when only basic skills are needed to be learnt to perform certain office tasks. It may not be good investments in time and in cost for staff to sit through the entire day learning features of the software which may not be directly related to their work. On other occasions, courses may need to be customized with local flavours. In view of this, the CSC has taken a further step in helping departments to make better use of IT training to boost their office productivity by offering tailored-made courses for their staff.

To begin with, departments should identify which aspects of the course are useful to them in their work. If a general overview is all that is required, then staff can simply sign up the regular introductory course. Otherwise, the CSC and the departments can work together to decide what topics should be included in the tailor-made course. The sequence of events is as follows:

1. Department will raise an online CSC work request stating what course they would like to take and how many staff will be participating. To make effective use of resources, the minimum number of participants in each class is 10. The requesting department also has to decide how many sessions are required. Sometimes it may not be feasible for all staff to attend training at the same time. Department may consider having two sessions or more. Other information such as the number of hours of training that their staff can afford to spare and the preferred course dates (morning or afternoon) should also be specified in the work request form.

2. The CSC will then send a detailed list of topics which are covered in the regular course to the department and they will in turn highlight the items in the list which they would like to be covered under the tailor-made course, add preferred items if they are not on the list, and suggest optional items which are not mandatory for the course but can be covered if there is time.

3. The information obtained will be used for revising the course material, booking the teaching venues and checking the availability of instructors. The CSC will try its best to allocate the best possible time and instructor for conducting the course.

When we plan courses, we always have different needs of our departments and colleagues in mind. By offering tailored-made courses, many staff who could not find time to learn the necessary IT skills will be able to do so in a more compact and concise session. For staff who do have the time to further develop their computing skills, our regular on-going courses can certainly serve their purposes.