We're Still Here!

SSCC continues to provide all our normal services with our staff working safely from home. With campus now reopening in a limited manner, we have access to the Sewell Social Sciences Building when we need it (in particular our Datacenter) and can continue to operate this way indefinitely. We're in no hurry to get our staff back to working on-site.

We strongly encourage you to ask for whatever help you need just like you normally would. The Help Desk, Desktop Support, Statistical Consulting, and all other other services are ready to help you—just call or email the Help Desk and we'll be happy to set up a video chat (be sure to leave a voice mail if your call isn't answered immediately). If you don't think we can help you because of COVID-19 precautions we especially want to hear about that, because those are the situations that will drive our planning as campus reopens.

Planning for the Fall Semester

The one thing we can say for sure about the Fall semester is that it won't be normal. So we encourage everyone, but especially instructors, to consider their computing needs carefully and talk with us about them now. Please don't take anything for granted—talk to us.

We don't know what the exact rules will be for the use of our computer classroom in 3218 Sewell Social Sciences Building but maintaining social distancing will require limiting the number of students in it, most likely to twelve. Serving the usual number of students twelve at a time would require us to move some classes to evenings and Saturdays, as the Chancellor suggested. We'll certainly need to clean it thoroughly between classes. The mobile lab will be available, but we'll again need to clean it thoroughly. If you're even thinking about using either of them in the fall, tell us now.

Winstat is a good alternative to the computer labs and a great way to give students remote access to software. Even when the software is free (R, Python) or available in the Campus Software Library (Stata), telling students to run it on Winstat rather than installing it on their own laptops avoids you becoming their new tech support person. But Winstat is a complicated system, so if we need to install any new software on it or increase its capacity in order to support fall classes, the time to talk to us about it is now.

Summer Training & New Instructional Videos

SSCC's summer training will be done via distance learning technologies. Given the challenges involved the selection is more limited than usual, but we're offering our core Introduction to R with RStudio, Data Wrangling in R, Introduction to Stata, and Data Wrangling in Stata courses. We will offer them again in August for incoming graduate students (and others) and will schedule them once the situation is more clear.

On the other hand, the videos we're creating for our online courses will make it easier than ever to for people to learn this material independently. Videos for Introduction to Stata are available now, and more are in production. Instructors are welcome to use them in teaching and we'd be happy to talk about adapting them (though our capacity to do so is not unlimited).

Please: Send All Questions and Requests to the Help Desk

Between summer vacations, furloughs, and COVID-19, if you send an email to one of our staff members there's a good chance they won't be available right away—and maybe not for quite a while.

We always want to respond to you in a timely manner, which is why during business hours there's always someone watching for messages sent to Please send all questions and requests to that address. Also, when you have a new question or request, please send a new message rather than replying to a message about an old ticket. Replies about old tickets go to the person the ticket was assigned to rather than the Help Desk staff.

(Another bonus: messages sent to are automatically entered into Request Tracker (RT), our help desk software. When you send a request to a staff member they must create an RT ticket manually.)