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The end of the semester is always a busy time — doubly so when it’s also the end of the academic year.

Students are graduating, instructors are wrapping up their courses, staff are finalizing the fiscal year, and everyone is gearing up for summer.

Whether you’re just focused on getting through the next few weeks or thinking ahead to next semester, here are a few ways you can end the semester right.

Silence Outlook and Teams

An oversized envelope with a notification showing zeroIf you’re a student going on summer break or an employee taking a vacation, you’ll probably want to unplug from email and chat. It’s tempting to use the nuclear option and delete Outlook and Teams from your phone to silence the notifications, but removing your apps will make it hard to check in when you need to.

While it’s good to have an uninterrupted vacation, it’s still important, especially for students, to check in occasionally over break. Instead of trashing the apps, try using Microsoft’s “quiet time” and “do not disturb” features. This way, it’s easy to pop back in when you need to.

For Outlook, use Do Not Disturb mode to snooze notifications. In the Outlook app, tap the menu in the upper left, then the alarm clock icon in the upper right. You can choose between either timed, such as by day, or scheduled periods, such as during events. If you choose to disable notifications until you turn it off manually, set a reminder to re-enable when you return.

For Teams, choose either Quiet Hours or Quiet Days. In the app, tap your profile, choose Notifications from the main menu. Then, configure how and when Teams should disable notifications to your device. You may want to set a reminder to re-enable notifications when you’re done with your trip or restart the semester.

Prep for travel

The end of the semester may have you dreaming about your upcoming travel. Whether you’re traveling near or far, skip using public Wi-Fi networks. Connecting to public Wi-Fi is risky and leaves your devices vulnerable to hackers and criminals. Thankfully, there are safe Wi-Fi networks out there.

No Wi-Fi Better yet, one of them is probably already configured on your device — eduroam. UNC-Chapel Hill uses eduroam to deliver on-campus Wi-Fi, but did you know it’s part of a worldwide network? Eduroam, derived from the words “education” and “roaming,” provides more than 10,000 hotspots at schools, universities, museums and cultural sites in more than 100 countries.

When you register your device with eduroam at Carolina, you will automatically connect to encrypted Wi-Fi whenever you’re in range of eduroam, no sign-in necessary. When your device connects to eduroam, you can trust that it’s secure. If you’re not registered or want to register more devices, visit the eduroam enrollment page.

If you’re planning international travel, add one more item to your checklist. You may not have cell signal to receive text messages or voice calls — and that may mean you can’t access UNC resources protected by 2-Step Verification. Check your 2-Step settings for both Duo and Microsoft 365 to make sure you have ways of authenticating that don’t rely on having cell service. Both Microsoft and Duo have mobile apps that generate passcodes without cell signal or Wi-Fi. And Duo supports physical security keys to go phone-free. If possible, enroll an additional device, like a tablet, to ensure you can authenticate.

Clean up and organize your files

Trashing filesTo keep your files secure, it’s important to make sure you’re sharing them with the right people. And with projects and classes closing out, the end of the semester is a great time to do it.

To see who has access in OneDrive or SharePoint, select the file or folder you’d like to check. Then click Share above the list of files and choose Manage Access to view or remove permissions. Making a file “anyone with link at UNC can view,” is fast, but it isn’t very secure. Consider changing access to individuals or stop sharing the link entirely.

For Microsoft 365 groups and teams, review your membership and permission levels. Instead of granting everyone all the privileges, it’s a best practice to set permissions to the lowest level that person needs. For Teams and SharePoint, explore the difference between owner, member and guest capabilities.

And if you want to do some electronic spring cleaning, now’s your chance. But before you delete files, double check if you need to retain them. Everyone is responsible for managing University Records according to the instructions in the University of North Carolina General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule. If the files need to be retained, consider moving them to SharePoint so your entire team to co-manage the records.

Plan ahead

And while you’re wrapping up this semester, keep an eye on the future.

If you’re a graduating student, it’s time to check your tech! If you aren’t also an employee or continuing on to graduate studies at Carolina, your Onyen access will end 180 days after graduation. This means you won’t be able to log into email or other Onyen services. Now’s the time to begin making changes so you don’t get stuck later. Update your email address in systems, set up an autoresponder and migrate important files out of OneDrive and Adobe Creative Cloud. For more guidance, use the graduating students checklist.

A person happily checks items off an oversized to-do list

If you’re an instructor, boost your Canvas skills. If you haven’t made the move from Sakai to Canvas, there are tons of resources to help you get started. Or, if you’re one of the 1,543 instructors who taught using Canvas this Spring, use the summer to level up. Training and support options range from self-paced video tutorials to live two-day design institutes to be held in May and August.

For staff, the end of the Spring semester lines up with the beginning of a new performance review cycle. You can use your free access to LinkedIn Learning, including the LinkedIn Learning app, to find ways to meet your individual goals. LinkedIn Learning offers a variety of courses, many under an hour, and topics range from software to soft skills. Whether your goal is to level up your Excel skills, improve managing a remote team or become a confident public speaker, LinkedIn Learning has you covered.

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