In addition to being the time of the semester when students suddenly realize that they have been slacking off for 15 weeks and hope that they can make up for it with an extra credit assignment, it also appears to be the time of the semester when their computers are most likely to self destruct. In the past two days, one student’s laptop screen stopped working while another student’s computer refused to boot. And the epidemic is not limited to students in my courses. Across campus students are experiencing rampant computer failure. This is most frequently combined with a complete lack of ever having backed anything up.
Despite the tone of my comments, I have real sympathy for students in these situations. The only possible solution that I can think of is for students to frequently use their computers for coursework throughout the semester so that the computers are not caught off guard by the sudden need to function 24/7 in the last few weeks.
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