Technology Support Technician McLean Lucas has been a full-time staff member at DELTA since 2017, but his time here stretches much further back.
After growing up in nearby Angier, North Carolina, Lucas moved to Raleigh and began college at NC State in 2012. He majored in communication with a concentration in public relations and minored in arts entrepreneurship.
Two years later, he joined the DELTA team as a student employee supporting the LearnTech Help Desk. In this role, he helped faculty as they encountered technical difficulties with the learning tools that DELTA supports, something he’s continued to do at DELTA for several years. Once he graduated in 2016, Director of Instructional Support Services Stacy Gant approached him about his interest in a professional temp role. He started as a full-time staff member in March 2017.
How would you describe your position to someone unfamiliar with DELTA?
Lucas helps faculty across NC State as they use supported learning technologies like WolfWare, Moodle and Zoom, providing one-to-one support, consultations, open labs and support documentation. He also works closely with ServiceNow, which tracks all of the service requests submitted by faculty, staff and students on campus. ServiceNow is also home to the LearnTech Knowledge Base, which provides informative resources like video tutorials, FAQs and articles about DELTA’s learning technologies.
He describes Moodle as his area of expertise. “I spend a ton of time with Moodle. That’s a huge part of my job.”
Moodle is a critical component to student and faculty success at NC State. The Learning Management System (LMS) allows instructors to host online courses, and it’s a primary resource for students in both online and in-person classes.
“It’s a powerful tool with a lot of flexibility,” says Lucas. “It allows instructors to do many different things in an effort to provide students with a useful and meaningful learning experience.”
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
When he’s not keeping up with support needs on campus, Lucas contributes to several projects and committees. He’s currently working on a Rapid Design Grant along with a team of DELTA staff members to help an instructor quickly develop a user-friendly online course.
Lucas is an active member of three DELTA committees, boosting organizational function and fun. He finds technical efficiencies as a member of the LMS Tactical Committee.
“They’re the first people to look at any new updates that might be coming through for the technology that we support and address any problems that may have come up,” he says.
LMS Tactical is the next stop for problems that stump the LearnTech Help Desk and developers, and the committee combines forces to find solutions.
“The group has people represented from each interested party here at DELTA, that being developers, trainers, the support team, instructional designers, making sure that things continue to run like they’re supposed to.”
Lucas also reviews new ideas and updates to technology on campus as a member of the WolfWare Technical Concerns Committee.
“Before something comes to Tactical and we talk about doing something with it, the Technical Concerns committee looks at it and says ‘Okay, this is no good,’ or ‘This is good. Let’s see how we can propose this and put it in.’”
As a member of the DELTA Activities Committee, Lucas makes sure that DELTA is a fun place to come to work. Since joining last year, he’s helped organize cook-offs, the annual Thanksgiving lunch, and recently, DELTA’s Dupid on Valentine’s Day.
“That was the wildest thing I’ve done here so far,” he says.
What has been your favorite experience at DELTA?
“The chance to teach workshops,” says Lucas. Over one-and-a-half to two hours, he takes instructors on a deep dive into Moodle or another learning technology, showing them how to use it to make their course better and their jobs easier.
“I think that’s part of the reason that I love teaching workshops. It’s this departure from helping instructors from a technical perspective. It affords you opportunities to go in-depth, where as being in a support desk environment, you don’t really get the same chance to do that kind of thing.”
Lucas has the opportunity to get in front of people and do what he loves at Summer Shorts in Instructional Technologies, a series of intensive workshops designed to train faculty in the latest learning technologies and strategies.
“You teach a bunch of different workshops and provide open labs. Everyone that shows up seems to really care about online learning. It’s just this really great experience [with] people who are definitely invested in what you have to offer, and you get to impart that information to them.”
What makes your job special?
Lucas’s position gives him the opportunity to help people in ways that trickle down throughout campus.
“I like helping instructors help students,” he says. He works closely with faculty who engage directly with students, impacting the materials and instruction they receive in their courses. His work to improve learning applications for both online education and in-person courses positively affects student success on a campus-wide scale.
By keeping up with service requests by phone and email and capturing them in ServiceNow, he’s able to spot what needs extra attention.
“It affords us the opportunity to see recurrent issues and better identify problem areas that we need to address.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Outside of work, Lucas is an active musician.
“I play in two different bands, and that’s my favorite thing to do.” Lucas’s musical style is varied, and he contributes to two different genres.
“I play in a metal band. The other band I’m in is indie rock, so it’s a little more laid-back. That’s sort of a fledgling project though. We don’t have a name, and we’re just finally putting demos together and trying to get off the ground.”
Besides making music, Lucas likes to read and play card games, specifically “Magic: The Gathering.” He’s also married, and enjoys spending time with his wife of a year-and-a-half, Lauren. Lucas is an avid soccer fan and enjoys following England’s Premier League. Last year, they visited Wembley Stadium in London and watched their team from the stands.