Campus Sports

Campus life can be very active. Young people are always ready for some action, especially if they live on a campus where the facilities for sports and games are superb. We wanted to go today and play some basketball, and there were plenty of people waiting for their turn. All those people, all those bodies ready to burn some accumulated, academic energy. Imagine sitting all day long, studying, going about your business, and then in the middle of the day it’s time for a sport intermezzo and everybody goes outside to do sports. Though not everybody is doing sports, there are also students playing card games, chess, reading books, and the like. But everybody is outside.

After finishing their sports activities, it’s time for a shower. We are fortunate to have tankless water heaters, otherwise, I can’t even imagine a tank big enough to satisfy the needs of the campus. Anyways, doing sports is awesome. It is one of the best ways to release the pent up energy from sitting and studying. The brain needs to relax. If you have too much of that energy, you might even burn out. That’s what older students told us during orientation week. They also told us that since the programs are demanding, there were people who could not take the pressure and quit. That’s why, the older student said, you need to find a way to relax your brain and give it a break.

The university has equipped the campus with playing grounds for a lot of sports. Since they’ve done this, the productivity of the students has risen significantly. That’s why the campus is packed with sports gear such as balls, nets, tables, hurdles, etc. And every time a ball or a net is torn, they immediately make a new purchase. All we as students have to do is learn and play sports. There are also several teams at the university. Our soccer team seems to give the best results according to the regional championship they were a part of. I am not quite sure what the championship system they played in was, but the logo of the soccer team is all over campus. So besides keeping the students sane, sports also lift the spirit on campus.

Campus Safety

Today’s blog is devoted to campus safety. I have heard the same news reports you have and have cowered at the thought of what can happen in the dark after a study group or class ends. There have been way too many assaults on women in particular. Everyone, however, is vulnerable when they walk across the quad when unaccompanied. The first rule of safety is to stay in numbers wherever you go. Of course, muggers and robbers don’t work exclusively at night. If you have no choice, there are products you can use such as pepper spray (mace), stun guns or Tasers, and a personal body alarm. It is all about taking action now to prepare yourself for the unforeseen but inevitable. Writing a Self Defense Guide is an enormous subject.

When it comes to students, I wouldn’t necessarily counsel them to rely on martial arts as it takes years to become effective enough to fend off attackers. If you fail with your fancy maneuvers, you could incur unexpected reprisals. Above all you don’t want to provoke a nervous thief or rapist to use force. Few students go so far as to carry weapons themselves, which is probably a sound idea. I prefer to use technology to help you stave off danger. I am thinking of key chain “weapons” (no guns) you can buy online. Here is what is usually offered:

  • Pepper spray: you don’t need a huge one in most cases unless you are in a riot. You can arm yourself with a small but powerful spray that will immobilize an attacker with a quick burst. This usually lasts up to forty-five minutes. It works as far as five to seven feet should you see someone lurking in the immediate vicinity.
  • Stun gun: barely touching an assailant for a couple of seconds is all you need from a small size model that weights significantly less than the police models. They give six million volts of “shocking power.” Experts say you can even fire it into the air as the noise will deter an attacker. Attach it to a keychain so it is readily available although concealed. I like the rechargeable type that include3s an LED flashlight. Two things for the price of one! Just be sure the safety switch is on when you intend to use it.
  • Expandable baton: many people forget about this weapon. All you need is a retractable unit that in the closed position measures 5.5 inches. It is also a keychain and opens with the flick of a wrist. It is made of sturdy steel rendering it quite effective although it may weigh only nine ounces. It must be vertical when you wish to retract it by hitting a hard surface.
  • There are various knuckle weapons and knives available if the above are not enough. They are the most popular items on campus and you won’t need more than one. It takes some moxie to deliver a punch with a sharp-edged plastic knuckle so I leave it to the end.

The Mother of Invention: Saturday Night

I have a dream to invent something useful for mankind before I get to the age of thirty. This means that it could happen in college. We have the lab time and the materials at hand. We are encouraged to be imaginative which is the key to new discovery. It just depends on what you want to do to help humanity. Of course, college students aren’t going to find a cure for cancer or heart disease. They aren’t going to clone rats. They may not find a treatment for baldness which affects about half the male population. So, I have set my sights a little lower. I will do something for the cosmetics industry which is huge and still growing. There is a lot of money to be made if you innovate an old product or create a new one. I decided to go to the local drugstore and look at the vast array of skin care and makeup products. I can’t try them out, but I will talk to other students and find out what women need the most.

After doing my little survey, I hit on an eyelash growth serum. So many ladies complain about thin and pale lashes. They say that traditional mascara doesn’t even help. They want to grow their lashes naturally and permanently to look better. While lipstick is the number one best-selling beauty product, mascara is next. Attention is always on the eyes. Without dark lashes, most women look naked. They are plain Janes indeed. Cosmetics are amazing. So, I am going to set about finding a lash-growing serum. I set out some ingredients. I can’t use anything medical that would require a prescription. I don’t want to use Vaseline either as it is already patented. It does claim to be an eyelash moisturizer and mine will be more pleasing to apply. This means giving my serum a scent from essential oils.

I need a base for the serum and one Saturday night I hit on lanolin. It is cheap and easy to procure. I will work with it until it is less oily but still has its basic properties. I try different oils so that I can see what is overpowering and what is lighter as a scent. I don’t want the eyelash growing serum to be perfumy and too strong. It has to be just right. I also put in some vegetable dye that is safe for the eye although it has not been tested. I won’t try it on animals, even rats. I just assume it from reading the label. Of course, no one has ever put it in the eyes. I see that the ingredients are safe and there are no chemicals. It is all organic and natural. This is how I want my serum to be. It will be sold in health food stores alongside the vials of vitamin C liquid that you apply to the face. For the growth factor, I am thinking about pulverized vitamin E. It is said to heal the skin, which in a way means the growth of new cells. Let’s give this the old college try.

Campus Carwash Fundraising

Students love to get involved in campus life. Fundraisers are an immediate draw for most. They love causes and see useful ways to raise money. Outgoing types are not opposed to going door to door, standing in front of stores at the mall, asking family and friends, and just getting the word out. Bookworms and retiring types find other ways to help. Most will bake cookies, fabricate crafts for sale, man a carnival ride, or wash cars. Novel or traditional, local activities easily find a willing support group. This is especially true if it has to do with kids and education, including their own college or university. Maybe the dorm needs refurbishing or a new science lab has to be installed. The pool is cracked or the basketball hoop is dead. Scholarships are always in demand as are slush funds for special projects.

Once they are on board, the students will rally. They will plan and publicize the event—putting up posters and writing emails. They will work hard for hours. After, they will party. It’s a great respite from the daily grind and they all need a break. Carwashes are super popular with sororities and fraternities, either separately or in tandem. It is like one big social outing in which tossing suds balls is quite okay. Spraying people with the power washer is a little iffy, but it has been done as well. (Just make sure it isn’t on high or you may lose a few bikini tops.)

There is nothing better for camaraderie. It is also a great for hooking up (remember no one dates anymore). Getting out of the dorm or library is a welcome treat. In the spring there is the lure of the great outdoors. There are usually some refreshments and an entourage spurring everyone on—faster, faster! You missed a spot! Of course music is blaring. I can’t think of a better, more popular way to fundraise unless it is snowing out.

If this sounds like you, why not organize an event at your school and poll people about the right cause. Some are universal like World Vision and some are timely and local like putting equipment in the local playground. Whatever you decide, it is simple to execute a carwash and everyone knows how. Pick a typical Saturday, starting in the early morning, and break for dinner. Make plenty of giant signs, preferably held by female students. Get volunteers from the neighborhood and especially teens who are always eager to work alongside those a few years ahead. It gives them a taste of what is to come. If you sell tickets, you will know your take right away. You can also ask for donations from those without cars. Ask the local hardware store to donate a really good power washer or any needed supplies like cloths and soap. Make a check list and delegate away.

Your first college carwash will be a milestone and harbinger of more to come. Why not become the go-to expert and get more credit under your belt. In any case, watch for the next one and take notes.

Hi Tech Fans

If it has the word “high tech” in it, it has to be good. This is my mindless assumption as one of the new generation of industrial revolution followers. We like stuff that is modern, state-of-the-art, ingenious, and almost alien. We like to read about it and fantasize owning all sorts of clever gadgets that make life easy while they look cool.

It is odd how much the world looks the same in its outward appearance. So if I want to feel that I exist in a different time and place, I have to look at the world of appliance invention. Cars operate the same way unless you have a hybrid car, and of course I do. Electricity is at least an improvement over traditional fuels. But stoves and refrigerators are nearly identical save for some decorative features and exterior surface treatments.

A garden hose could be 100 years old as could a hand mixer or hair dryer. Yes we can program a sewing machine with software and our Kindles and tablets have revolutionized the nature of reading. But it isn’t dramatic. Planes fly, trains roar along, and life is stagnant. We are even going retro in design.

I want to live in a world of new, exciting things. It’s been a long time since the invention of cell phones and laptops. Social media is old hat. My parents have been in the know about this longing and have forked over some bucks for a dorm room bladeless fan and one of the best tower fans. They made sure I had the literature enclosed in the surprise box so I could read all about the product’s marvels and figure out its advanced mode of operation. Most of the new bladeless models are space-age desk top or floor devices. They can vary in size so they are easy to place in a small area. I mounted mine in the ceiling with brackets for space-savings and great, reliable air circulation.

So what does this wonder do? It’s nothing akin to the large whirling things you see in restaurants or on patios. They blow the air about, but it is intrusive. This bladeless job gives a more subtle flow that can be adjusted to one’s particular needs. If you are sensitive to blasts of wind, this is for you. It is light-weight, easy to install, and nice looking in an interesting techy, stream-lined kind of way. Just my vibe. It looks a bit like a modern sculpture or magical tuning fork. The pamphlet talks about “turbulence” and “oscillation.” I love it! No choppy air, noise, ugly dusty grilles to clean.

The big deal is that traditional fan motors make noise, but if they don’t run fast, you don’t get cool. How do you maximize power without the drawbacks? We are now talking aerodynamic diffusers and annular apertures. We are getting into my die-and-go-to-heaven realm. It is the brave new world of fans! So mundane, but I will take it. Give me the remote control and I’m ready for bladeless vibration.

Technology in the Classroom

Any teacher worth his or her salt is a technical pro these days. My grandmother remembers her classrooms days as a student in a huge college humanities class where AV was used regularly, especially for the lecturer in art history. The poor professor had to lug two heavy projectors and carousels full of slides across campus. If she wanted to include musical accompaniment, then there was further stuff to tote. The hall did have some ability to utilize this modest equipment and there were speakers and microphones of course. But it was primitive at best.

Thank goodness everything has evolved. Such a professor can now use PowerPoint where the images and music can be in synch and where artworks can dissolve one into another with elegance. Special labeling makes the material stand out. The projector is now in the lecture hall and she can use her own laptop or the one in place. Students may not notice the difference, but it makes for far less stress and anxiety about things going wrong. The slides are no longer upside down from misplacement. The music doesn’t require an old tape machine and a reel that can break. The old laser pointer and microphones are there but are hopefully state of the art.

The computer has perhaps been the greatest gift to instructors. No more mimeographing anything. If you don’t want to simply print your tests, you can have students take them online. They can be mechanically scored and scaled. Record keeping is great. Each class or student can have separate files You can archive old material for reuse at a glance.

So the new scenario for the art history teacher is standing on the stage or classroom platform, laser pointer in hand and a laptop within reach on a table or lectern. The pace of the presentation can be controlled and even stopped for comments and questions. The room need not be as dark as it once was to allow for eye contact. The instructor is no longer victim to breakdowns and errors. If she had put her slides in the carousel incorrectly, there was no going back! PowerPoint is a magical program easily adaptable to any environment or subject. You can use the school logo as your template or a personal one with which you can always be identified. You can embed videos such as a pan through a museum gallery or an artist explaining his work.

In small classrooms, smart boards are vital for a stream-lined experience. They are interactive and professional. You can get your school to purchase just the right one for your teaching needs. The best institutions will have them and upgrade as needed. No more blackboards and dirty erasers. No more white boards and nasty marking pens. Kids love the smart boards, but adult education also has multiple uses. Linked to a computer, the possibilities are endless.

Electing to teach at any level is more enjoyable and rewarding for all parties involved with the help of technology. Online research yields instant information about how to use it and make lectures and lesson plans visually exciting and rich in content. You have to be a little more savvy, but it now goes with the territory.


The Computerization of Sewing Machines

Computerization has been a boon to modern life. While everything looks and feels the same as a half century ago –houses, clothing, even cars—the digital world is so different. The way we spend our time with laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc. is a transformation of great proportion. Kids no longer play in the street or the park due to the draw of video games. Women buy their fashions online and men their athletic equipment. Watches, clocks, recording devices, kitchen appliances, TVs, shavers, sewing machines, etc. are all state-of-the-art wonders. Your toaster has an LED display and your refrigerator is programmable. It makes for a good life and everything seems to be easier and more fun. Smart boards in school start kids off early and once hooked, you can never go back to manual anything.

Right now I am looking at the newer next-generation of the best computerized sewing machines. The old words don’t mean the same thing. It is no longer a simple matter of pressing the foot peddle, turning on the little light, and setting the stitch dial. You need to be a high-tech whiz to make a simple garment. But it is so worth it. The computerized models do everything, saving you time and money, especially if you have a large family.

Women, for the most part, have the unenviable task of clothing themselves and the kids on a budget. The investment in a sewing machine is minimal considering the return. Costs are dropping as the technology evolves. Since growing children change sizes within months, learning the ropes of the new units is a good expenditure of time. A novice can become a pro in no time. They wouldn’t sell so many if this weren’t the case! DYI is big. Watch the Home and Garden network and see for yourself. Men are busy mending the roof, upgrading plumbing, and rewiring the house. Ladies, you have your role to play.

Brother and Singer are still top brands and the most popular. They consistently get good reviews for design and functionality. The options computerization enables are legion. Hundreds of stitches and embroidery patterns within easy reach. From $300 on special to over a thousand dollars, take your pick. You will have so much fun that the sewing machine will find a permanent place on a den table. You will love the couture-level workmanship you can produce, the professional buttonholes, and the perfect seams. Easy automatic threading is a boon. You don’t have to have an eagle eye anymore and super stable fingers. Plus, speed control is a breeze and bobbin making no longer a chore.

Which machine is a difficult decision as there are so many fine models from basic to professional grade. Read the features of the highest rated bestsellers. There is a reason why they are recommended. Buy for average usage unless you plan on opening a store. Often, there are bells and whistles you just don’t need. All in all, however, computerized sewing will change your life. Remember, software is included!

Technology Against Plagiarism

The bane of any writer’s existence is the accusation of plagiarism—of not being original. In the olden days, you could get away with it if you were unscrupulous; and many students had to avail themselves of privileged material to get by in a pinch. Now there is the dreaded Copyscape! It will reveal the pros from the amateurs like stripping chaff from the wheat.

In college, you are warned incessantly about it and no doubt become wary of the eagle eyes of your professors. Before the Internet, you had to assume a memory lacuna would help you escape the dreaded label of plagiarist. Nowadays, in seconds your sources are bared for all to see. You can paraphrase and restate, but more than a few imitated words is a major no-no.

Plagiarism is defined as appropriating the ideas and words of another. (It also applies to music and lyrics.) It is more serious than “copying” or borrowing. You call it your own. Some people loosely insert a few lines in an essay or book without a formal citation or assume certain phrases are universal and up for grabs like poetry or famous quotes. Plagiarism seems more of an act of will to disregard the property of others. In fact, using existing writing is downright fraud.

You can now open a Copyscape account to check student work and it may well be worth the effort. There are free services like WriteCheck, downloadable software programs, and apps. If in doubt, do it. You can quickly spot a perpetrator in the making or save yourself a lot of grief. You can Google some words as well to reveal sources. Those taking writing courses, for example, should know the ropes right out of the box. If you can’t cut the must or on your own, don’t indulge your fantasy. The Internet ultimately reveals all like an electronic crystal ball, and the results are not always appreciated.

There is a moral imperative about doing your own work and not taking credit for others’ ideas. You can use them for inspiration, of course, but must manipulate the material at least somewhat for renewed authenticity. I know an author who used some quotes and was rejected for copying. It was a mindless use of the system since the citations were there to back up personal statements and were acknowledged references. There was no bibliography to substantiate it, but it was pretty clear. Obviously, the process of checking for plagiarism can go too far. Editors and publishers understand this, and it is also relevant for classroom instruction as well.

A word on ebooks. There are so many out there that Amazon can’t possibly check each and every word. It is up to writers and readers to agree to a truce about plagiarism. It isn’t a matter of what you can get away with, but an issue of honesty about not conning the public. The greed for fame and fortune can overtake the best intentions, but too little is at stake to lose your self-respect.


Medical Uses of Laser Technology

You can have a gallstone removed with laser or a benign mole. You can have your face resurfaced with port wine stains and freckle spots removed as well as your yellowed teeth cleaned and whitened. An unfavorable tattoo can be banished. There is no end to the use of this technology, even for the ubiquitous and persistent toe fungus. The light tool and scalpel version have altered the face of medicine. They cut tissue cleanly during surgery, reshape the cornea, unclog blocked arteries, and more. The laser in its various guises is a virtual miracle of modern technology.

With all this exciting innovation, toe fungus seems a humble foe to conquer with such an advanced system. However, the laser does make it easier to deal with resulting in less damage to the kidneys (from potentially dangerous prescription pills like Sporanox or Lamisil that can raise the level of enzymes) and longer-lasting results, although the jury is still out whether this is actually the best treatment for toenail fungus. Ugly, discoloured nails can be zapped by your podiatrist or dermatologist. It is expensive (running from about $700 up to $1,500), but effective and more surefire than lotions and potions of specious origin. Onychomycosis is a scary-sounding word, but the treatment is not. It is common and some people are just unlucky enough to have a propensity for it. A caveat at the start: it may take up to a year to clear.

So what happens with the laser if you have toe fungus and want it gone from your life? First of all, it must be the FDA-approved model to ensure results. The tool is applied without anesthesia (it is painless) for about 35 to 40 minutes a session for all ten toes. Up to four can be routine. It kills the fungus and impedes regrowth at best. After that, the body’s own defenses take over. You start to see new growth and wait for full recovery over time (clear nails). It is still in its infancy as a technique and little data has yet to be accumulated. It does sound promising, however, for sufferers who feel that they have no other recourse and are glad to have one more option.

With laser, it is possible to be fungus-free and have clear nails once again. At the worst they may be a bit cloudy, but not black or yellow. You will be proud to wear sandals and open-toed shoes that were banned from your closet in the past. No one will accuse you of poor hygiene, not understanding the real nature of the problem. You can help prevent it with regular cleaning and drying of the area and by sporting clean socks (changed often) and using an anti-fungal spray, but it may rear its ugly head in any case. Turning to the laser offers a solution that is fairly reliable as statistics go and is as good or better than pills and potions. It is called an infectious disease but can be kept under control and improved with proper care and treatment.

Taking Computer Science

It wasn’t always available in school, but kids learned it soon enough at home. It caught on like wild fire from the moment the first computer appeared. Computer science is the staple of one’s education without which research and learning cannot be as effectively done. While many do their web browsing on a smart phone, good old fashioned computer science will show you the ropes of spreadsheets, word processing, desktop publishing, and more.

Sometimes students learn programs in a particular class. You might be taking accounting or math and need to excel in Excel. Literature and language courses require full knowledge of Word. A budding artist needs graphic skills with Quark, Publisher, Illustrator, and the like. After one’s formal education, the show must go on. Most jobs are computer-based in one way or another. Getting a degree in Computer Science could lead to a very lucrative career.

I, for one, avail myself of a very expert computer consultant to remedy each and every problem that rears its ugly head. He can work from home and has actually hired a couple of colleagues to take the overload work. He makes good money and is often on vacation (and out of reach!). He is self-taught but many who love the consulting area have gotten the newer degrees that help them obtain corporate employment. To stand out in the competition, it seems to be necessary; and the field is bursting with opportunity.

Most companies have in-house technical staff. Network systems require expertise beyond the norm. Custom software may be in place and complicated databases. These positions can pay well depending upon the size and location of the business. A good computer science expert is worth his or her weight in gold. Graphic skills dovetail with the need for infographic and website design. An all-around IT guy or gal is the heart of operations.

You can get an online or on-site degree. You can work with any university or a technical program that offers an associate or bachelor’s degree. Make sure it includes the latest software and hardware knowledge. Define if you want to be a developer or administrator and what each entails. There is a difference between a web administrator, a project administrator, and technical administrator. Learn the job description for tech support, business intelligence, and content management. It is beyond the scope of this blog which aims to show that work is out there for enterprising opportunists.

Making a good decision involves some analysis of the job market in your area. If you don’t live in Silicon Valley, you can still find suitable positions if you understand the vast parameters available. Don’t go with the predictable. There is too much competition. Develop your own niche and expertise and learn how to market yourself on social media, word of mouth, through job applications, and networking.

Note that business administration is a different field that may encompass computer science. It is a broader program for management often involving a finance background and leadership skills. It is more people oriented than a computer tech job might be, unless you have a staff. Keep your options open and tailor them to your individual strengths.


Industrial Design

You can study very practical applications at the university level such as Industrial Design. Coursework and an apprenticeship will take you to a career that is always in demand and challenges one’s creativity and ingenuity in the process. It takes great skill to do good work whether it be a bicycle, a chair, or a hairdryer.

Industrial design has been around since the first toaster, iron, and stove were invented. Mass products utilitarian objects may not look aesthetic today, but much thought went into their appearance as well as function. Now fancy words like ergonomics and industrial engineering have come into play. A whole field of study teams applied art and science. Manufactured consumer products depend on well-conceived styles and methods of execution. Cost of materials is factored in at the very beginning stage.

While products become dated (referring to small handheld devices as well as larger kitchen appliances like refrigerators and washer/dryer sets), they also are kept for long periods of time. As a result, the lure of a new design weighs heavily on consumers. To spend or not to spend, when you have a perfectly working item? State of the art operation is a plus in this case. Research is always being conducted on household needs and how to cut through practicality to make impulse purchasing a real possibility.

The role of an industrial designer is therefore important in keeping the appliance economy on a roll. Colors have replaced chrome in the best hand mixers and even some of the latest bread machines while stainless steel has replaced colors in stoves and refrigerators. It is all about trends. Housewives used to want avocado-schemed kitchens with matching tile and now crave only bland gray granite and stainless steel everything. Marketing often dictates industrial design decisions, not the other way around.

The design process has come a long way from the drafting table and good lighting. Computer skills are the only new requirement along with a good aesthetic sense and solid engineering training. (CAD programs and 3-D software.) Sketching takes on a whole new meaning. Every appliance has its difficulties in maintaining optimal performance. Breakdown is the bane of any brand’s stellar reputation. Comparative product research is a must before undertaking any task. Tested applications make ease of use possible and not the result of trial and error. A prototype is developed and evaluated extensively before millions are produced without flaws.

Getting up to speed can result in a university degree on the bachelor’s or master’s level. Whether a university grants them in the College of Fine Arts or Liberal Arts depends upon the individual programs. It is a hybrid field of study bridging many disciplines.

Archetypical designs like the Eames chair and the VW Beetle have given Industrial Design a good name. Apple knows this only too well. Competition for the best looking smart phone is an ongoing obsession. Even little changes make people buy more. They wait in line for the latest and greatest. If designers can make more products that are fads by nature, their work will not have been in vain.

Online Universities

Getting a degree online is no longer a sorry second choice and something to regret. It no longer means you didn‘t get into your top list of schools or don’t have the funds to attend an on-site institution. There are many accredited programs for those who need to work part-time or from home like Kaplan, Capella, and University of Phoenix. They are offering more and more courses of study to meet the demands of the modern job market. In essence, they are a viable option for a good education in many fields.

While you don’t have the same camaraderie or in-person instructor contact, you can establish a relationship nonetheless. It need not be impersonal at the better venues. People who have attended college have enjoyed the experience but are ready to move on to more practical methods. With online universities, the material must stand on its own, and testing is in a vacuum; but there should be opportunities for questions and further discussion. Webinars are the way around the problem and have updated many curricula of the better on-line locations.

On the positive side, you can work in the middle of the night if you want and take tests as time permits. If you go on vacation, you can choose to participate or suspend your commitment. You can take as few or as many courses as you want, even from different institutions. (Look for transfer possibilities and credit policy.) Some jobs require a course or two for advancement and not an entire degree. When your salary depends upon continuing education, you have endless possibilities at the tip of your desktop.

The flexibility is appreciated by busy moms tending the kids and employees on the go. Online study is the answer to lack of mobility and confinement. It is the electronic version of four-day work weeks and flex hours. It is higher education in capsule form, contained by a small screen, but with vast repercussions. You can accelerate the process or stretch it out, and get your desired degree in time.

Courses tend to fall on the technical side in many cases. Fine and liberal arts offerings are usually less extensive than computer science, business administration, accounting, or health care, but they are available. Common subjects include public safety, social work, counseling, information technology, and legal studies. You can follow a career in criminal justice, environmental policy, or engineering. Every school has its specialization and research is required to find the most suitable program for your needs. Your bottom line is whether you are seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree, or specialized certification in a specific area of concentration.

All in all, studying remotely is challenging and exciting for many. You have a world of possibilities normally not available in your residential region and a choice of the best and brightest instructors around. Not much that is negative can be said for this brave new world of higher education. Learning can be an automatic part of life for anyone with a laptop and a mouse.

Backing Up your Work

The nightmare of all time for a student is losing the text of one’s thesis. For an author, it is the latest round of corrections and edits. Professors have lectures, tests, and notes to safeguard. You say you will back up soon, but the dreaded event happens and the files are lost. You think it can’t happen? Ask around!

It seems impossible to believe that everyone doesn’t back up daily or at least weekly. Getting software is easy or using storage and sharing like Dropbox. As long as it is dependable, it will prevent tragedy from striking when your battery dies or the power goes out (or you get sabotaged). At the very least, print your current work and archive-able materials. Pages to retype are better than nothing. Relying on memory is just as absurd as it sounds. There is no alternative better than backup.

University professors often use office staff or teaching assistants to prepare course outlines, exams, lectures, and other related documents. It is their responsibility to follow up and make sure these items are stored safely and a copy transferred to them electronically. The naiveté of the absent-minded professor doesn’t cut it. You don’t impress anyone by pretending your brainy head is always in the clouds (and I don’t mean the good kind on the Internet). Utilizing safeguards is not out of character or beneath you. It is the difference between literary life and death.

That being said, what can you do? Remember the days when you burned a CD and had a zip drive. You could send files to clunky storage centers. In addition, universities are known to have large departments with dozens of faculty. The computer system is often a network. While people are using Google docs more and more, some older methods store information in the local server. Otherwise, the same data protection you get for business is available for the teaching profession with existing software. The principles are the same. Some you can customize them for your needs. There are numerous options for your Mac, PC, or smart phone. It’s great to be able to download files while on another computer at will. PC Anywhere and LogMeIn are forerunners that have led the way to the new technological heights. The procedures are more streamlined and user-friendly than ever before.


R-Drive Image
Backup Genie

There are dozens more whether they are for storage or “backup.” It depends how you want to backup, retrieve documents, or share with others. Keeping tabs on your work output is as important as any other routine chore. Email used to work but many files are too large. There are transfer programs for a fee to remedy the problem if you don’t like dropbox or Google Drive (such as ShareFile, SharePoint, or ZipSend). Sometimes you have to go with what others set up prior to your participation. As long as a system is in place, you can start to feel more secure about safeguarding your work.