Tips for Being Your Own Tech Support and Other Helpful Advice

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Whether you are a new student or a returning one, here are a few tech tips or reminders to keep in mind to help avoid tech crises.

Brant Schalk, eCampus I.T. guru, displaying some of his favorite tech
Brant Schalk, eCampus I.T. guru, displaying some of his favorite tech

Oh no…I spilled my drink on my laptop!

Protect Your Data

Backup Your Data: It’s not a matter of if, but when a catastrophic failure may occur on your tech device. Unfortunately, they often occur at the least opportune time. Find a backup method that will allow you to consistently and efficiently back up your data. A cloud-based backup solution like Google Drive for Desktop, Dropbox, or iDrive may serve you better and will work even with limited internet access. Or if you want to stay away from a subscription-based product, you may use an external hard drive or USB-C/USB 3.0 flash drive. Large capacity (1TB and up) flash drives are more reasonably priced these days and are a bit easier to carry along. Remember your backup is only as good as the last time you made it. 

Now, what did I do with that PDF?

Staying Organized 

Use a Digital Calendar: Utilize digital calendar apps like Google     Calendar or Apple Calendar to keep track of classes, assignments, and important dates. Set up reminders to stay on top of your schedule.

Taking notes: There are many tools to consider using when taking notes. Evernote, OneNote, or even Google Docs will work. These apps also allow you to search and access your notes from any device. Evernote and OneNote have more functionality than Google Docs. 

Folder and file management: Chances are you will need to download and edit files for each of your classes. I recommend using UAF’s provided Google Drive system to help keep your files organized. Or, if you are not comfortable using that, create a labeled folder associated with your course folder structure on your local desktop or laptop. Then as you download files, you can move them to their respective folder.


Stay Secure Online: Be cautious about the information you share online. Use strong, unique passwords for your accounts, and consider using a password manager such as Keeper, Nordpass, or Roboform.

Keep your system up to date: Update your system often. These updates consist of security fixes, bug fixes, and other patches that can also help system performance.

Where did I put my iPhone?

Activate Find My Device or its equivalent on your smart device: We all know how frustrating and stressful it can be to lose your smartphone or AirPods. But what a sense of relief if you can find it quickly! If your tech device has a Find My functionality, I highly recommend activating it. 

And finally, AI is here.

I would be remiss not to mention an Open AI tool such as ChatGPT that may be a helpful tool to solve some of your technical problems. I have found ChatGPT often provides me with clear concise answers. Sometimes it includes the exact written solution or code needed to fix the problem (I’m in IT after all). Google Search has been a top tool in my arsenal for the last 15 years, but ChatGPT is like Google Search 2.0 and another great tool.

These suggestions are meant to improve your computer’s performance and help you stay organized, use the most effective software and app, and let you focus on what’s truly important: your education and the time to pursue it but also enjoy your outside school activities!

Remember, technology is a tool that can enhance your learning experience. Make the most of it by staying patient, up-to-date, organized, using the right apps and tools, and maintaining a healthy balance between screen time and other activities.


  • Brant Schalk

    I.T. Technician
    Brant completed his associate's degree in I.T. and a bachelor of fine arts in printmaking at UAF. He enjoys skiing, hand cycling, printmaking, painting, 4-wheeling, and snow-machining. Brant is happy to help students and can do so through chat, phone, in-person, or remotely (from computer to computer).

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