Hect: Technology Oasis modeled after Apple Genius Bars

By Lauren Dielman

Those frustrated by iPads, iPods, laptops, smartphones and class projects have a place to go to get their questions answered: Technology Oasis.

Jeffrey Hecht, associate dean in the College of Education, said Technology Oasis was modeled after Apple’s Genius Bars.

“Technology Oasis is a place where people could drop in and get assistance with hardware and software,” Hecht said. “Over the years, we recognized staff, faculty and students wanted a place they could get technical questions answered as well as with hardware and they had no where to go for that.”

Technology Oasis employees will also fix broken hardware.

Mary Baker, instructional designer for Technology Oasis, said many students come in for help with multimedia projects.

“They also come in for help adding video and audio, their wireless access and formatting issues,” Baker said.

Hecht said the most common questions Technology Oasis gets are about software, especially Microsoft Word.

Steve Builta, College of Education information systems manager, said the Technology Oasis staff helps with consulting work, hosts workshops and provides training NIU ITS is not able to provide.

“We do partner with ITS quite closely and try to share information back and forth,” Builta said. “It’s a collaboration effort.”

Hecht said the main difference between ITS and Technology Oasis is ITS is for the whole campus, while Technology Oasis is mainly for College of Education staff, faculty and students.

However, if students in a different area of study walked in with a question, they wouldn’t be turned away, Hecht said. Students are not asked to show their ID or tell their major.

Hecht said he hopes the rest of the university will take the College of Education’s lead.

“We really do think this is going to be a model that the rest of the university will follow,” Hecht said.