With courses now transitioning into online learning, new issues can arise regarding network speed, web browsers, security, and storage. This blog will go over how you can avoid some of these issues and ensure your device is in tip-top shape.
Please note that this blog will refer to services with varying privacy policies, terms and conditions, and locations for servers. Google services, for example, collect your name, your IP address, your activity, etc., and may store their information in American servers – hardware or software (computer program) that stores and provides resources, data, services, or programs to other computers over a network . Depending on your comfort level with your personal information, opt for websites offering Canadian servers over American servers so that your data is kept within Canada and under Canadian privacy laws . Read the privacy policies, usually found at the bottom of the page, and terms of service offered by the website so that you know what kind of personal information you are giving them access to and where your data will go.
- To improve your Internet speed, close the number of applications and browser windows or tabs you have, and turn off any video sharing .
- If you have data on your phone, you can use your phone as a hotspot to provide the Internet for your computer. A hotspot provides wifi to other devices and can easily be set up in the Settings of your mobile device. Mobile data is usually secure, but make sure you set a password on your hotspot so strangers will not have access to the same network as you. Read about using mobile hotspots for Apple or Android devices, and check with your phone provider to understand how this may impact data and billing .
- For those facing issues accessing learning technologies, you can use your home wifi then connect to UBC VPN (Virtual Private Network). If you are connecting from China, the Alibaba Global Accelerator may help with connectivity. Go to Cisco AnyConnect on your device and log in to myvpn.ubc.ca with your CWL ID and password. To connect to Alibaba’s server, log in with your CWL ID and password, but add .student.int to the end of your CWL ID .
- Different technologies have different browser requirements. To start, install the latest version of at least one of these browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari .
- Download apps and extensions for learning technologies well in advance if needed, such as LockDown Browser and Zoom. Be aware, however, that downloading software may take up a lot of space, especially for older devices.
- Tip: If you have an older device with limited space, consider buying an external hard drive. For more tips regarding software downloads, including the one about the hard drive, read this article on dealing with software issues.
- If you are facing issues regarding browsers or learning technologies, clearing the cache, which is temporary data to help you browse your Internet faster, and/or cookies, which are text files which store your personal data to help websites recognize who you are, on your browser or mobile app can help. You can usually clear your cache and/or cookies by clicking the “History” tab and “Clear history” on your browser or Apple device, or going to your “Settings” and tapping “Storage” on your Android device.
- Make sure your devices are free from viruses by installing malware protection software. Here is a list of free anti-malware programs provided by UBC IT.
- Encryption scrambles the personal information you send so that only you and the recipient can see it. Learn how to encrypt your devices and check the security settings on your mobile devices to ensure they are encrypted.
- If you are working on personal UBC-related materials, you can use UBC VPN to protect your data. When you send personal information by email, it is likely the email service already provides basic encryption. For Outlook, for example, you can click on the “Encryption” button available. If you want additional security for emails you access through your browser, you can download Mailvelope on Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge. For more information about encryption, read this article about encryption with helpful resources.
- For a more in-depth course on security at UBC, take the Privacy & Information Security Fundamentals Training, offered by UBC Safety & Risk Services. Although the training is geared towards UBC staff, the information can be applied to your studies and to your future workplaces.
- With online learning, make sure to keep your files organized by course and by week. You can keep your notes across mobile and computer by using apps such as OneNote.
- Collaborate and share with others using cloud services, such as OneDrive. You can access these files from anywhere you log in, making it easier for you if you need to print them at the Chapman Learning Commons and ensuring that you have a back-up in the case your device is lost or stolen.
- For group projects, Microsoft Teams is a great option to share files and search up words and documents in a conversation.
Check out Keep Learning for more tips on how to use learning technologies and devices for courses. UBC IT provides support with UBC technologies. If you have questions about UBC learning technologies, contact the Chapman Learning Commons Online Assistants live (Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00) or by email.
It is always a good idea to ensure your device is up-to-date to prevent data theft and malfunctioning apps. With courses now reliant on online learning technologies, we need to be more aware of how secure these services can be and what they may do with our data. How do you ensure your devices are protected and reliable? Share your suggestions for a faster, secure device below.
 Server – Definition and details. Paessler. Retrieved from https://www.paessler.com/it-explained/server
 Server Cloud Canada. (2017, Oct 17). When your data must stay in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.servercloudcanada.com/2017/10/privacy-law-canada
, , ,  Setting up. Keep Learning. Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://keeplearning.ubc.ca/setting-up
 Alibaba Global Accelerator. UBC Information Technology. Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://it.ubc.ca/services/email-voice-internet/myvpn/alibaba-global-accelerator