Instructional Article

Background: During my time at the College of Engineering I managed nearly 80 different students over the course of four years. This constant high turnover meant that each part of our help desk operations needed to be modular; that we could never rely solely on the skills of one person and that our training program needed to be airtight. To accomplish this, we employed a web based search-able and browse-able knowledge base (KB).

This particular document is a checklist to be used by students to create a high quality knowledge base article. The trick was to help them discern between frivolous and helpful articles. I used a mnemonic, “SECRET” to help students memorize the main points. If, after evaluating an article a student could answer, “yes” to all questions, a good article was almost always created.

S – See a potential need

  • Pro-active method:  Submit what you know, that others should know before a problem arises
  • Reactive method:  Submit an explanation of how you resolved an ARS ticket

E – Evaluate the relevance

  • Is this information likely to be used again?
  • Do we still use the Software/Hardware?

C – Check for existing articles

  • Am I submitting new (or modified) information, not already on KB?
  • Do I know where to file my article so that is with like articles?

R – Readability

  • Is my article clearly written (makes sense to another reader)?
  • Is my article professionally written (no slang, poor grammar)?
  • Have I checked spelling in Word?
  • Have I sighted sources when appropriate?
  • Are acronyms, jargon, specifications in my article well defined?
  • Could someone follow my instructions un-aided?

E – Enter information into all applicable fields

  • Is every required field filled in?
  • Are all links working links (double checked)?
  • Is my subject line in the form of a statement (not a question)?
  • Does my description explain the solution or direct the reader to links?
  • Are all of my links necessary (do they apply directly to the problem)?

T – Turn in final copy

  • If you have answered yes to every question, you may proceed.  Be sure to give yourself the proper number of points as outlined in the Point Sheet at time of submission.
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