Cold Closure in #edtech Repairs

To avoid wasting instructional time preparing to use technology that may or may not be functioning, teachers are likely to avoid those devices that are malfunctioning (or even rumored to be malfunctioning) until they are assured they have been repaired. When a help ticket has been fixed, the technician closes it, then moves on to other duties. While most ticketing systems notify the individual who initiated the case that it has been closed, this can be called a cold closure and it is opposed by a direct closure.

A direct closure occurs when the technician speaks with the individual who reported it and confirms the issue has been resolved. In the ideal situation, direct closure is done in-person, but a telephone call or voice mail are better than cold closure. A teacher who hears, “let me know if it does not work,” will have the confidence to begin using the repaired systems.

Avoiding cold closure helps technicians reduce the occurrence of a troubling situation. If the person reporting the problem either inaccurately describes it or describes a situation with incorrect terminology, then the technician can arrive at the computer and not see what the person who submitted the ticket thought she or he reported. Not seeing the anticipated symptoms, the technician closes the ticket and moves on to other work. The individual who reported the malfunction may return to the machine to discover it still malfunctions because the technician affected no repair or the technicians fixed different symptoms.

While direct closure does reduce technicians’ efficiency, it can increase the effectiveness of repairs and it leads to more accurate repairs being made (which ultimately increases efficiency). Closing this loop of the repair process can be automated by ticketing systems, but many recipients of those messages find them to be confusing rather than informative. Consider the configuration of communication that is set up in many ticketing systems. When the message is entered into the database, a message is generated to tell the individual who reported it “your message has been receive,” and the individual who reported it may find additional messages generated as the repair proceeds. While keeping individuals up-to-date is important, many educators who receive these many messages claim, “they just fill my inbox with unnecessary information.” The excessive messages from the ticketing system can be especially problematic for individuals who use the ticketing system frequently. Because most IT managers insist problems be reported through the ticketing system as it provides important information regarding the fleet of these devices he or she manages, they must take steps to make them easy-to-use and effective.