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Five online schooling backup plans for when your technology fails

Five online schooling backup plans for when your technology fails

What if the power goes out? What if your Internet connection fails? What if your laptop breaks? What if your phone breaks? Worse, imagine one or a few of these things happening when it's after midnight and everyone's sleeping. Whereas the traditional college student should have backup plans, the online college student absolutely needs them. With no in-class meetings, a majority of the online student experience depends on the use of technology.

Here are five backup plans if you're an online student and your technology fails you.

1. Know somewhere else you can get online

If your Internet connections goes out, what are you going to do? Maybe you can wait, or maybe your assignment is due in three hours. You need to know where to go in times like these to connect to the Internet.

If you live in a big city, there may be a 24-hour coffee shop near you if you're on a tight deadline and it's past midnight. Otherwise, if it's late, you could ask every awake friend who's on Facebook chat for help or pray your professor grants you an extension.

If it's within business hours, the library or a friend's house could be a feasible option. Many businesses have free Wi-Fi, including McDonald's and Starbucks. Just look into this ahead of time to be on the safe side.

2. Adjust those autosave settings

If you're writing a paper on, say, Microsoft Word, you probably know from experience that every now and then it freezes up. In this scenario, Grantham University business instructor Chase Cookson urges in a blog that autosave is your best friend.

"If you're like me, once you get in a zone on a paper, it's difficult to remember to save frequently," Cookson wrote. "Losing even one paragraph means you're losing valuable content. In most versions of Word (or OpenOffice), you can simply click on 'File', then 'Options', then 'Save' and check to see how often a recovery document is being saved. You can set this to a minute to decrease the likelihood of losing your work."

Thank goodness for autosave! Don't lose what you've already done. Be smart about it.

3. Write down your professor's contact information

If your Internet goes out and you need to contact a professor, how will you get his/her contact information? Perhaps by logging onto someone else's computer or finding an Internet connection somewhere. But as a precaution, you better write down your teacher or professor's contact information.

Campus students may not have to worry about this as much, since they may see their professor that same day. But to the online student, it's crucial.

4. Use an online resource to back up your work

In the event that you lose everything or many things on your laptop or computer, you'll want to have it backed up. You could send emails to yourself or use one of many online resources. Below are just a few:

  • Mozy.com
  • CrashPlan.com
  • Wuala.com
  • SpiderOak.com
One of the worst things that could happen to an online student is doing all the work and then losing it all in a crash or a virus. Don't even chance it. Use one of these resources or many others to backup all your papers, homework assignments and school projects. Even though crashes and viruses are rare, be on the safe side.

5. Make friends in your classes

Though it may be harder to make "friends" in an online class, it's not impossible. You can connect through forums, emails, or in person if they live near you. This could make all the difference if you experience a technology failure.

Imagine an assignment is due tomorrow, it's past midnight and you experience a technology failure. Chances are, one of your fellow students is still awake. They may be able to help you in your predicament if this happens. Other friends or family members, who may be asleep, or may not be able to relate or help you with this assignment, may not be as useful to you in this kind of situation.

Even though online schooling is largely dependent on technology, it's still a great investment in your future, even when your technology fails. Just make sure to have a backup plan to ensure the occasional technology snafu doesn't mess with your grades and educational experience.