In order to realize the full benefits of computer network technology, end users need to understand how the technology works. Computer networking allows ease of digital information and hardware resources sharing. However, users who are not well conversant with basic knowledge on networked computers can hamper the smooth use this useful technology. A network is either created when two or computers connect to each other either through peer-to-peer, client-server or cloud based networks. In peer-to-peer network, computers communicate with each other but every computer on the network stores its own data. Client-server network has a centralized sharing mode where a powerful computer stores information accessed by other computers on the network. The cloud-based network allows connection through a browser to an external storage and software provider. Below are six areas that need emphasis when training users on networked computers.
Computer must be working well before initiating a connection to other computers. In a network, users get authentication to the networking group set up by system administrator. For example, users need to know that a computer cannot print form a networked printer if the computer they are using is on different networking group from that of the printer (Peters, 2011). When a resource is not available on a network then a user can do little without the help of a system administrator. However, users need to heed any notice issued by information technology department to avoid misunderstandings that can lead to a loss of valuable working time (Rinkworks, 2012). All users of a network need an introductory lesson on availability of shared resources on the network. For example, a user should understand that, when the print server is down, no printing of any nature would take place.
Stand-alone computers connect to the internet through a dial-up phone line. Dial-up users will need to understand that their phone numbers are very important when connecting to the internet. For instance, when a user needs assistance for a customer support, phone numbers should be provide by the user in order to allow checking of other details associated with network connection (Peters, 2011). Users can learn the importance of giving phone number whenever they call for help if internet service provider puts more emphasis on usefulness of the number. Similarly, users on networked computer need to remember their username and password (Cisco, 2012). Passwords and usernames are measures that prevent unauthorized access to shared resources. Training should focus on the mode of connection used by a computer as this explains how IT customer support locates a user’s problem.
It is important for users to understand the location of their resources and be in a position to direct somebody exactly to their position. Proper positioning will reduce time lost in the event that the computer on the network has an issue that needs quick fixing by information technology support. A user can be having a simple problem of printing using a networked printer located in a different building from where the IT support department is situated. When network users learn to give accurate directions of their location, IT support saves a lot of time and effort in assisting the user (Peters, 2011). Alternatively, there are instants that do not require locating the computer on a network where solving the problem is done remotely (Rinkworks, 2012). The issue of resource location can be best trained to users using proper description of building, floor, and computer position. Moreover, computer users need knowledge about proper description of the errors messages reported by networked computers. Proper problem descriptions will allow for a quick resolving of any problem an IT specialist working remotely.
Users on network need to have knowledge about how computer loads programs in addition to proper switching off or on computer using proper procedure. This is important in preventing corrupting operating system files and destroying user data at the same time. In an event where the computer user forcefully uses the power button to switch off the computer instead of first closing all running programs then allowing to log off properly and finally switching off properly, this might crash the machine (Rinkworks, 2012). Users take a short introduction on the importance of switching off and on of their machines, which goes a long way in preventing undesired behavior when starting their networked computers on subsequent instances.
Users of computers need to know when to use the mouse and the keyboard during a conversation especially over the phone. Majority of issues occurs when users fail to listen carefully the instructions given by the support personnel attending to their problems (Peters, 2011). Following instructions wrongly can lead to more problems to the computer. Issues occur when the computer user wrongly uses the left button of the mouse instead of the right one while at the same time insisting that they are following the instruction as issued. This escalates the problem further and a lot of time is wasted on a simple issue that can take just a few seconds to complete (Rinkworks, 2012). The user can be trained to identify the issues on their computer and report the exact error they receive from pop-up windows that contain the error messages. Majority of user can be trained to differentiate between the time to use the keyboard and time to use the mouse when instructed to do so by listening carefully. Training on attentiveness is critical for user to follow the instructions issued by the support personnel over the phone.
It can be concluded that computer networking brings many benefits such as ease of sharing computer resources and information among several users in a quick and secure manner. However, there are problems that accompany networking of computers. The problems range from users not understanding their connection, to other computers to lack of better understanding of the nature of their connection to the internet, to lack of understanding of the location of their resources and be in a position to direct somebody exactly to their position. Other issues include users on network lacking the knowledge about how computer loads programs in addition to proper switching off or on computer using proper procedure. Users confuse on when to use the mouse instead the keyboard during a conversation with support personnel especially over the phone. Training should focus on the mode of connection used by computer as this explains how information technology support for customers locates a user’s problem. If proper training about basic problem identification is done earlier, then user can be able to follow the right procedures in reporting to support personnel. Training can lead to proper following of instruction systematically thereby solving the user problems in speedy manner without and without having irate customers.
Chris Peters (2011), techsoup.org, Networking 101: concepts and Definitions, Retrieved May 22, 2014 from http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/networks/page4774.cfm
Cisco (2012), Basic Networking: What you need to know, Retrieved May 22, 2014 from http://www.cisco.com/cisco/web/solutions/small_business/resource_center/articles/connect_employees_and_offices/basic_networking/index.html
Rinkworks.com (2012), Computer Stupidities. Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/