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UoPeople - Help! I’ve lost my assignment!

J. Francois Barnard – 20 October 2019

In this day and age of working and studying online, no one should lose any data. A few years ago, I lost data and a part of my life in photos! I undertook that this tragedy would never be repeated.

I have previously described my working environment and the computer hardware I use. Here I would like to explain a little more in detail about how I structure my data for my online studies.

Firstly, I am connected to UoPeople via my Google Mail (Gmail) address. That means that I send and receive all my emails from a Gmail account. I use Thunderbird as a mail client for Gmail. Thunderbird is terrific when it comes to setting up rules for managing emails.

I have a rule in Thunderbird which moves all UoPeople mail from the Inbox to the UoPeople folder. As I am writing this, that folder alone has by now 16,000 emails in it! And I am a hoarder, so I keep all those emails.

study006When transferring my Thunderbird from computer to computer (say you want to reinstall, or you have replaced your old machine), I just copy the %appdata%\Thunderbird folder to an external drive and again replace it after the installation.

Google gives you 15GB space for free for your emails and your Google Drive. If it is not enough, you can buy extra space. I have extended my Google space to 200GB at $2.64 per month.

Your Google Drive is usually stored at C:\Users\[user name]\Google Drive. I have created a UoPeople folder below the Google Drive folder. This folder contains all files relating to the university, such as academic calendars, a register to record all my payments, and a curriculum as I plan to take my courses. Then I have three folders below the UoPeople folder called _Completed, _Current, and _Future. The three classes I am currently doing is obviously in the _Current folder. Once completed, I drag and drop those sub-folders into the _Completed folder. The _Future folder is for any material I find online, which might help in courses I plan to take in the future.

My computer is always online. I very seldom work offline. That means that my Google Drive is continuously updated.

You do not have to do the above. There are many other options too. You can use OneDrive from Microsoft and also their Office365 mailboxes instead of the Google Mail facility. Another shining star in the online storage world is Dropbox.

When doing your assignments on Moodle, the Moodle server stores it from time to time. I have had a situation where I pasted a lot of text in the Discussion Forum, and minutes later, the internet connection failed. I thought I lost the data. But when the internet was restored, the pasted data was still there.

If you are really paranoid about losing data, you can also use Google Drive as described above and then use SyncBack or SyncBackPro to synchronize it with your Dropbox folder. If you have web server space, SyncBack can synchronize it for you by using FTP.

Whatever you do, work online, and you should not lose anything.