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CSP 2201 300 - SYLLABUS

A Guide to Computer User Support for Help Desk and Support Specialists, 4th Edition 

Spring, 2010


General Course Information

Instructor: Sheri Mitchum

Office: Bldg_C-114

Office Phone: (815) 224-0531


Classroom: A209

Class Times: Wednesdays, 6:00-8:15pm

Prerequisites: CSP 2200 - PC Troubleshooting, Upgrade & Repair

Textbook: Fred Biesse, A Guide to Computer User Support for Help Desk and Support Specialists,  4th Edition. Course Technology-Cengage Learning, 2010, ISBN 13: 9780495806493

Course Objectives

This course focuses on key information and skills for user support professionals, including troubleshooting and problem solving, successful communication with clients, determining a client's specific needs, and training end users. For those considering entering the field, alternate career paths for user-support workers are covered. With balanced coverage of both people skills and technical skills, this course is an excellent resource for those in or preparing for the technical support field.

 Specific topic coverage includes:

  • Introduction to Computer User Support
  • Customer Service Skills
  • Skills for Troubleshooting Computer Problems
  • Common Support Problems
  • Help Desk Operation
  • User Support Management
  • Product Evaluation Strategies
  • End-User Needs Assessment Projects
  • Installing and Managing End-User Computers
  • Training Computer Users
  • Writing for End Users
  • A User Support Utility Tool Kit


In order to simulate the work environment, I expect all students to attend class and to be on time. Regular attendance is important and expected for successful completion of this course. Attendance will be taken during each class: lecture and lab. Students that miss an exam will be allowed to make up the exam ONLY when prior arrangements are made with the instructor.


Policies regarding cheating may be found under the heading of “Academic Integrity” in the IVCC Student Handbook. Students should become familiar with these policies and abide by them. Working together for lab assignments (not quizzes or exams) is encouraged because students can learn a great deal from their peers. LEARNING is the key word. If a single student is doing all the work while others just copy it, no LEARNING is taking place. I want you to leave the class knowing that you can do the work on your own at the workplace – regardless of your grade. Finally, there will be assignments that will specifically require individual work. It will be clearly stated in and on the assignment whether group work is permitted or required.


Students need to notify the instructor in order to withdraw from the course. The last date for withdrawal of this course for the Spring 2010 Semester is April 12. Failure of the student to notify the instructor will lead to the assignment of a letter grade at the conclusion of the course based on the work completed and not completed. Withdrawal from a course can affect financial aid. Students who receive financial aid should see an advisor in the Financial Aid office before withdrawing from a course.

Grading and Evaluation Criteria

40% of the grade is based on a midterm and a final examination. Both examinations are cumulative and given in a varied format. An in-class review will be held prior to each examination.

20% of the grade is based on quizzes, attendance and participation.

40% of the grade is based on assignments and keeping a project notebook. Students are asked to obtain a small notebook to enter the answers to the various Discussion questions, Hands-On Activities, and Case Projects at the end of each chapter in the text.


  1. Students are not allowed to turn their PC’s on unless instructed to do so. Only by special permission will you be allowed to type notes in class.

  2. Students are expected to come to class having read the assigned reading materials including previous class meeting notes. All assignments are expected at the beginning of class the date they are due.

  3. Participation and attendance will be graded in this class. I will do some assignments during class in groups and individually. If you miss a class where group work was done, you will NOT be able to make it up.

  4. I use the Blackboard course management system to manage Announcements, Assignments and Grades. You may submit the projects/assignments in class on the due date or the Digital Drop box in Blackboard. Assignments submitted electronically should be in Microsoft Word or Rich Text format.

  5. You may be asked to participate in an online discussion within the Blackboard course throughout the semester.

  6. I will do extensive communication via the Internet, generally through Blackboard. If class will be cancelled for any reason (illness, weather, etc) it will be posted in the Announcements of my Blackboard course and on IVCC’s web page

    Students who have opted to participate in the IV Alert will also receive either an email or text message with important college announcements.

  7. Please use the college assigned email as your primary email for class. You may set up a “vacation message” to forward all emails from the student account to your preferred account. Please use an account that you can check both on and off campus. Check your email provider’s instructions to ensure that the mail isn’t blocked or automatically going into the “junk mail” or “trash”.

  8. If you have any questions about the course, need assistance or need to miss class please contact me in person or by telephone M-F 8am-4:30pm, or e-mail by 5:00pm the day of class.

  9. In an effort to create a classroom environment that maximizes the success of all students, I encourage you to make me aware of any barriers that may inhibit your learning. The college provides several support services for students. They include, but are not limited to: Disability Services Office B-204 or call (815) 224-0284 or 224-0350, Writing Center/Peer Tutoring 224-0479, Counseling Center 224-0360, and Project Success 224-0594.

Course Outline - Tentative Schedule 

Dates, Topics, Readings, Exams

Week of


Chapter Readings



Introduction to Class
Learning Styles Inventory & Awareness Activity


Background CAT


Introduction to Computer User Support
Customer Service Skills for User Support

Chapter 1
Chapter 2



Customer Service Skills for User Support
Help Desk Operation

Chapter 2
Chapter 5

Ch1Proj, Ch2Proj
Ch2RQ, Ch5RQ


Help Desk Operation
Skills for Troubleshooting Computer Problems

Chapter 5
Chapter 3



Common Support Problems
Review for Mid-Term

Chapter 4



Mid-Term Exam


Mid-Term Exam


Training Computer Users

Chapter 10



Writing for End Users

Chapter 11

Ch10Proj, Ch11RQ


User Support Management

Chapter 6

Ch11Proj, Ch6RQ


Spring Break March 22-27 - No Classes




Product Evaluation Strategies and Support Standards

Chapter 7

Ch6Proj, Ch7RQ


End-User Needs Assessment Projects

Chapter 8

Ch7Proj, Ch8RQ


Installing and Managing End-User Computers

Chapter 9

Ch8Proj, Ch9RQ


A User Support Utility Tool Kit

Chapter 12

Ch9Proj, Ch12RQ


Review for Final Exam




Final Exam


Final Exam

Dates to remember

College Open – No Classes in Session:  March 19, March 22-25

College Closed: January 18, February 15, March 26, May 31 

January 28 – last day to DROP (with refund)

February 12 - Deadline to Apply for Spring Graduation

April 12 – last day to WITHDRAW

May 21 – Commencement (Graduation)

May 24 – Pre-Summer begins