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Posted by Sarah Roche on October 17, 2011
In my last two semesters I have seen the same embarrassing thing happen to both students and professors countless times, and this first week back, it came very close to happening to me.
The embarrassing situation? Your laptop screen is projected on the classroom screen, showing something that isn’t appropriate for the whole classroom to see. Sometimes it’s desktop wallpaper that is unexpectedly illicit; sometimes it is a rather telling browsing history. Other times it is simply a matter of distraction- my default browser opens to a number of homepages that are fun, but distracting if I am trying to use the web in front of a class. In the case in point, it was a post-it note with my saying for remembering a password; one that if you didn’t know the first two letters of each word made up a password, you would think I was slightly psychotic.
We all have something on our laptops that is not for general viewing. Not necessarily something horrible, but just not something for everyone’s eyes. Whether it’s funny family pictures or search prompts saved from your last paranoid WebMD search when you were sure that cough was tuberculosis, these things can make you blush when they are projected on a giant screen for both students and the professor to see.
There are a few simple remedies for this situation. I simply turned on my guest account on my windows laptop. (Start>Control Panel>Add or Remove User Accounts > Turn on Guest Account) After the initial set up, it takes only about a minute to switch between accounts. By placing folders in the public documents in my usual account I can access them in the guest account. I still maintain access to all my programs, but there is no chance of random pictures of my cat getting mixed in with stock photos for a presentation.
Another tip is to use separate browsers, one for personal searching and another for school related searching. This prevents delays while your personal home pages load. I like Chrome for personal use and Safari for school. The main thing with both the desktop and the browser is to make sure they look different so you can recognize which one you are using.
Have you had this happen to you? Do you have any other tips for preventing your personal life from encroaching on your student life? Let me know in the comments below.