Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Blake Cholerton

Technology Support Technician Blake Cholerton on a hike in Boone.

Blake Cholerton has a dedication to helping and teaching others that is evident in his work at DELTA. As a technology support technician, Cholerton assists in operating the LearnTech help desk on a daily basis.

Cholerton has lived in the Raleigh area his whole life. He grew up in Garner, North Carolina, and stayed in Raleigh for college. While studying communication media at NC State, Cholerton began exploring his interest in sports-related media. During his time as a student, he held a position with the student-run sports media group, PackTV.

When his cousin gave him a referral for a job at DELTA, Cholerton decided to use the opportunity to experiment in other areas of work. He began working as a student for the LearnTech help desk in 2016. After graduating from NC State in the spring of 2019, Cholerton started working as a professional temp and was hired full time in February 2020.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Cholerton’s kitten, Lenny, that he adopted during quarantine.

“I help faculty and staff with our learning applications, like Moodle and WolfWare, and most importantly for this year, Zoom,” Cholerton said.

Cholerton has played an essential role in the switch to online classes during COVID-19 by assisting faculty as they learn to use more online learning tools than ever. He communicates with faculty through email, phone and instructional consultations to answer questions and assist with any technical issues that arise while teaching with learning technology applications.

“I also manage the DELTA’s webinar and large meeting accounts, so instructors can email us to let us know they want to borrow a Zoom webinar or large meeting license, and I set that up and answer any questions they have with that,” Cholerton said.

What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on?

One of Cholerton’s favorite projects at DELTA was exploring new features on Moodle before they were released to faculty. By evaluating the convenience and effectiveness of various Moodle features, he contributed to the decision to retire an old version of Moodle forums and rely on a newer version.

He enjoyed “just being able to go through the new features that faculty will have access to and being able to make life easier for them. Also, being able to learn about the new things that Moodle has to offer and then help faculty when they see it.”

Cholerton is looking forward to examining more learning tools in the future, such as Panopto, which is coming soon to NC State. He appreciates that his position allows him to evaluate learning applications and use his knowledge of these resources to help instructors improve learning outcomes in their courses.

What is your area of expertise?

When it comes to online learning technologies, Cholerton is most proficient with Zoom. This proved particularly helpful as instructors began learning to use Zoom for synchronous online courses during COVID-19.

“The Zoom portion of the position is probably the thing I do the most in terms of what is different from the rest of my team,” Cholerton said, “and there have been so many people with questions since we moved online fully.”

Operating the LearnTech help desk requires both knowledge of applications and exceptional customer service skills, and Cholerton has just that. He spends most of his time working directly with educators to guide them through challenges in online learning, which requires him to be patient and communicative. Not only is customer service an area of expertise for Cholerton, but it is also the part of the job that he is most passionate about.

“While I’m not 100% sure what my area of expertise would be, my customer service skills have really helped me enjoy this job.”

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most fulfilling part of the position for Cholerton is being able to help instructors and seeing the results of his work. Online learning technologies can be difficult to work with without the help of support technicians, and seeing the relief that his work can give instructors makes Cholerton’s job even more enjoyable.

“It’s nice to be able to help someone and make their life or day easier just by being on the other end of the phone or email,” Cholerton said.

Experiencing the ways in which support technicians can help others has made Cholerton’s job rewarding and has shown him the value of not only his own work but help desks in general.

Cholerton and his friends snowboarding and skiing at Wintergreen Resort.

“The instructors have this technology that admittedly can be complicated, and I wouldn’t want to be in their position without the LearnTech help desk because we are able to make their day better.”

What do you like to do outside of work?

When he is not working, Cholerton enjoys exploring the mountains and beaches of North Carolina. He has a variety of hobbies, including snowboarding and playing soccer, disc golf or video games. Whatever he is doing, he is probably doing it with friends.

“Most of everything I do is done with my friends, as I was blessed with having quite a few friends to do things with in the area,” Cholerton said.

Though he may not be able to see his friends as often due to COVID-19, Cholerton has still been enjoying his time outside of work. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has been teaching himself to play the piano and adopted a kitten to keep him company during quarantine.

 

Cholerton feels grateful to be part of the DELTA family and looks forward to continuing to guide instructors as they navigate the challenges of online learning.