You Can Never Have Enough Back Ups: Lessons Learned

I’ve learned some lessons over the years about having back up plans. When choosing a career as an adolescent, have a back up plan. When acting on stage where someone forgets their lines, have a back up plan. When planning a wedding outside in Washington state, have a back up plan. Don’t rely on just one babysitter because what happens if they’re not available and you’re in dire need? What if the guest speaker you planned to be in the class can’t make it at the last minute? Have a back up plan.

We’ve all experienced these lessons…especially when it comes to technology.

As a student I learned that you need to save your presentations and word documents on your computer and a thumb drive (Thank God we now have Dropbox, Google Drive & the like) because you never knew what was going to happen to your computer or your file or your whatever-else-could-possibly-go-wrong.

When I was a faculty, I always knew that the only thing I could definitely count on the first day of the quarter was that something unplanned and unexpected was going to happen with the computer or projector or sound system or the content in my online course, etc.

So, I had learned these lessons and I took them with me to present about how to leverage mobile technology for student support services at the Washington State Student Services Conference in Tacoma last week. I had created my presentation in PowerPoint, included article links for further information, appropriately cited all my engaging pictures according to the Open Education Resources class I had just completed from the state board, put my presentation on SlideShare with a Creative Commons license, and embedded my presentation into a Canvas class online. I even had a backup on a thumb drive. They told me to bring my own laptop and I did.

I had thought of everything…right?

Nope. Let’s see if you can figure out the problem.

This is the plug to connect my laptop to the projector.

This is the plug to connect my laptop to the projector.

Wait for it…

These are the available ports to plug into on my laptop.

These are the available ports to plug into on my laptop.

Yep, even in all my planning, I didn’t consider that the hotel conference equipment wouldn’t connect to my laptop. Silly me. BUT, luckily I had done all that other backup and I was able to use another laptop (Thank God the hotel had another one! I figured if they didn’t, then someone at this conference would have one I could use, right?). My presentation was then able to proceed without a hitch and I had a wonderful story to relate to my audience about the wonders of technology.

So, my lesson I took from this was not only, continue to back up your presentations and have many fail-safes, but also, take your own chords and adapters.

Here is my presentation on ways to leverage mobile technology for student support.

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