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Drexel University, 2013 - Ongoing

LeBow Tech Knowledge Base

Documentation is Essential

When I arrived at Drexel in 2013, one of my responsibilities (which quickly became the most time consuming) was working the Help Desk. I noticed right away that I was consistently answering the same questions over and over again, and they were fairly simple “how to” or “where do I find” questions. On top of that, I also noticed that a lot of the same user base were asking similar questions repeatedly. Occasionally I would receive a technical stumper, but those tickets were often buried. It became obvious that the solution to alleviating the ticket influx was a Knowledge Base, which had not been done at the College level.

Redefining My Role

I began the Knowledge Base project with two goals in mind: users should not be held back by lack of knowledge, and I want to offer more to my clientele than support. A good Knowledge Base would free up my time to work on the real problems and change my role from support to more of consultant. I began the work of documenting the most asked questions with easy to follow step by step guides that were accompanied by images and/or how-to videos, depending on which was most appropriate. Meanwhile, I worked with the programming team to build a Knowledge Base platform with Drupal that would allow any members of our team to easily create a KB article and contribute to the resource without worrying about style.

Thinking Ahead

One of the bigger hurdles in this project was thinking far enough ahead about how I wanted the Knowledge Base to function, users to access it, and other members of the team to contribute to it. This required some strategic planning, studying other schools’ knowledge base resources, and a little bit of trial and error about methods of categorization that would work and be sustainable long-term. We needed categories that would be broad enough to contain a depth of related articles, yet specific enough to return accurate search results. We also wanted to ensure that actions that would generally be related appeared together as well (Ex.: Creating Student Groups and Setting Up Group Assignments).

View A Sample

Preview a sample Knowledge Base article straight from LeBow’s live Knowledge Base.

Key Qualities

It was essential to me that I provide a multitude of options for accessing the Knowledge Base resources. Just as I encourage my faculty to offer multiple modes of instruction, I wanted to practice what I preach and offer text, video and printable instructions through the Knowledge Base project. In addition, I wanted to integrate the Knowledge Base into our ticket system so that emails could be easily responded to with the appropriate KB link.
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