You might be an expert at checking email, paying bills online or staying in-touch with friends on Facebook. But do you know the technology tips that can help drive your success as an online student? As a Penn State World Campus student, you have access to the HelpDesk—a 24/7 team of professionals ready to help you with your technology and IT needs. Learn the tips and life hacks that can help you succeed in your studies:
1. Know the shortcut keys for your operating system. Using keyboard shortcuts can save you time and effort in completing tasks that might otherwise require a mouse or other device.
2. Keep current with software updates. Don’t miss a critical change to your computer’s software that might cause glitches with your coursework.
- If you use a PC, make a point of routinely running and installing Windows Updates. In Windows 8, in Apps View, search for “windows update” and then select “check for updates” to run the process manually. In Windows 7, open the “Start” menu and then search for “windows update” and select “check for updates.” Windows 10 installs updates automatically.
- If you use a Mac, select the Apple icon and then select “software update.” To ensure that updates are made automatically, go to “System Preferences” and then “App Store” and make sure that “Automatically check for updates” is selected, as well as each of the three options below that selection.
- Update Java, Flash, and QuickTime as updates become available. These programs will periodically check for updates after they are installed. Some browsers may also update them automatically.
3. Create a separate user profile just for your course work.Windows and Mac systems both allow you to set up multiple user profiles. This will allow you to keep your work or personal files separate from your school files, which may be especially important if you share a computer with your family or others in your household.
4. Dedicate a web browser to use only for course work if you prefer. This is another effective way to keep your school activity separate from personal or work activity.
- Penn State World Campus recommends Firefox as a browser for your course work. You can download Firefox for free.
5. Back up files regularly by copying them onto a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or to an online storage location “in the cloud.” Storing files in more than one location can prevent file loss if there is an accident or system crash.
6. Contact the HelpDesk immediately if you have a problem during a timed quiz or exam. As of August 2017, the HelpDesk is available to assist you 24/7 with any technology issues you have.
7. When submitting attachments to a drop box, try selecting your submission after it is ready. This will allow you to confirm that the correct file is attached and readable.
8. Take advantage of the free technology resources that Penn State provides to students:
- its.psu.edu: Provides antivirus protection and other downloadable tools
- Microsoft Office 2016: Provides Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other programs; note that students must select the link for Penn State students to download Microsoft Office from the page linked here
- Adobe Creative Cloud: Provides programs like Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more
- WebApps: Provides programs that can be accessed on most mobile devices
- WebFiles: Allows you to access and manage your files and copy files from other services like Google Docs, Dropbox, and SkyDrive
- Box at Penn State: Allows you to store and share files securely online
- Lynda: Offers online training for commonly used programs. This becomes available to students after the first week of classes.
Feel free to contact the Penn State World Campus HelpDesk at any time with technical support questions or for help with Penn State systems.
by World Campus HelpDesk Staff