New Year's Tech Resolutions | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh
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New Year's Tech Resolutions

It’s a new year, and with it comes annual resolutions. Maybe you’ve vowed to study harder, increase your fitness level, or to lose weight and get more organized? But have you thought about resolving to make better use of technology? If not, I say it’s not too late. Here are my top 4 for 2021.

1. Use my camera in Teams meetings and Zoom classes.

This will require me to resume some activities that I’ve abandoned in the last 9 months. I’ll actually have to get dressed and brush my hair every day. But that’s a small price to pay for the advantages I’ll reap. Surveys have consistently shown that engagement and trust increase when people use video, rather than only audio. When others can see you (and you can see them), you are forced to really pay attention—you can’t multitask or zone out. Meetings and classes should be real, personal interactions, not just a background video. That means using video so everyone can see the real me–not just my avatar. I’m turning my camera ON in 2021.

2. Protect my tech.Person showing chewed earbuds cord to smug kitten

There are many ways to protect my tech that I too often ignore, even though I know better. No excuses in 2021. I already have anti-malware and antivirus software loaded, but my passwords are pathetic. So each time I log into an online account for the first time this year, I’ll change the password to one created by Pitt Password Manager (LastPass). They are wicked random, and using LastPass means I don’t have to remember them. I’m not letting Chrome remember my login credentials, demographic info, or credit card number, either—that’s what LastPass is for!

I also pledge to be more careful with my social media posts and privacy settings, and I won’t work with sensitive university data on my personal device (work device with PittNet VPN (PulseSecure) only). I even bought a new bottle of bitter apple spray, so my mischievous cats will stop eating my cords!

3. Subscribe and pay attention to IT updates.

I admit it ... I ignore a lot of the alerts I get from Pitt IT. But every so often, I see one that I really need to know for my work. It only takes a second to dismiss a text or delete an email that isn’t relevant. But it’s a major pain to not know that a system I use will be down or that there has been a change to how it works. So I refined my Status Update subscription to get updates only on the systems I use. I made sure to follow Pitt IT on social media, and I subscribed to the Pitt IT newsletter. I rely on Pitt IT services, so it’s on me to stay in the know.

4. Take a class on a Pitt IT system.

It’s time I actually figured out how to use some of the neat Pitt IT services in a real way. I’ve muddled through figuring out a basic Qualtrics survey or signing something in DocuSign, but I don’t actually know what I am doing enough to take advantage the cooler features. Figuring out the more advanced functionality is not hard, per se, but it takes a conscious effort. Whether it’s a technology class through the Faculty & Staff Development Program, an online class through LinkedIn Learning, or a video tutorial through the vendor, I plan to schedule 1-2 hours per month just for tech training. Who knows—maybe you’ll see a helpful blog post about the coolest features I discover in the next couple months!

Those are my top tech resolutions for 2021. They seem totally doable and really helpful. And I can eat as much chocolate as I want while I achieve them. Win–win!

-- By Karen Beaudway, Pitt IT Blogger