KUCHING – Staff from Politeknik Kuching Sarawak recently visited Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus to learn how the university provides IT support to staff and students as well as the management of its information technology assets.
The group of 12 visitors was led by Shamsuria Binti Mohd Ariffin, Deputy Director (Academic Support) of the polytechnic.
They were welcomed on arrival and briefed on the university’s IT structure and policies by Caroline Hon, Director of Administration, and Jonathan Ng, Manager of Information Technology Services Department (ITS).
“We are very impressed with the efficient structure that has been implemented at Swinburne Sarawak with regards to ITS. A total of 12 ITS staff is able to provide quality service to the whole of Swinburne Sarawak due to proper implementation of ICT policies,” said Layam Anak Engkasan, who heads the ICT Unit at the polytechnic in Matang.
Swinburne Sarawak currently has a staff of about 250 including part-time lecturers and about 3,000 students. In addition to the support services its ITS provides to staff, access to the internet and a wide range of software, such as the Blackboard learning system, that supports a wide range of courses are also made available to students.
Layam said the visit was also an opportunity to exchange knowledge on the latest ICT technologies and to build closer cooperation between the two institutions.
“We have a lot to learn (from Swinburne Sarawak) with regards to setting up a proper helpdesk or service desk to ensure that the second-line ICT personnel have more free time to attend to requests or problems.
“We also learned of some new technologies that have not been introduced in the local polytechnics as yet, such as the use of FM-200 in your data centre and BlackBoard course management system,” she said.
Layam said that some of the hardware and software at the university may be available in some government institutions of higher learning but it is also imperative that these resources be well-managed with the help of policies that define and determine how an ICT unit operates: proper procurement specifications, customer support, response-time policies, acceptable usage policies and so forth.
She said that Swinburne Sarawak was chosen for the study tour as “we wanted to visit a private institution of higher learning in order to broaden our horizons as we have mostly been communicating and exchanging knowledge only with other government institutions of higher learning”.
The delegation also stopped by at the university’s 700-capacity library to look at its self-checkout system where students and staff may borrow books without involving library staff. Biotechnology labs and the IT data centre were the other places visited.