Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Back it up

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I’m probably going to get heckled for this since it’s not specifically an instructional best practice, but in light of Steve’s recent post on the idea of best practices, I am very confident that the notion of backing up your work is a best practice.

What I’m hoping to accomplish with this post is to go beyond how to back up your course to explain why you might actually want to grab one of those backups. You see, those backup files from D2L, unlike the old Blackboard/WebCT backups, can actually be opened by you on your computer. Not only is the backup a full copy of the course (e.g. enough to recreate an entire course organization, including discussions, quizzes, etc.), it’s an easy way to get access to your files. After all, that’s most often what you’d need in the event of a catastrophe. Not that we’ve ever weathered any of those…

So, I won’t spend any time talking about how back up your course, but I will show you that if you do download that backup and unzip it, you’ll see the exact same content you see in the Manage Files area in D2L.

D2L files in the file manager and on the desktop

D2L files in the file manager and on the desktop. Click the image to see a larger version.

Not bad, huh? So next term when you (well, maybe not you. But one of your coworkers) accidentally deletes that Module 2 when shifting your lessons around, you’ve got that backup to call on. Or, and I’m speaking purely hypothetically now, if D2L isn’t available, you can still pull out the lessons for that week to share with students via e-mail.

I realize that you have access to previous courses in D2L. But I’ve also seen where a file was deleted, renamed, replaced, etc., and not noticed for over a year or more. And that’s where this idea of backing up being a best practice really comes in.

Where should you store the backup? Well that’s probably a topic for another post, and I believe there are some TLC presentations on just such a topic. But I’ll drop a hint that you already have access to through PCC. Google Drive.

About Andy Freed

I'm the Manager of Technology and Support in the Distance Education department, where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services group. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several posit... more »

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