WSU Technology Knowledge Base:OR100 Module 2

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This article is part of the

Digital Life 101 Series

About This Article

This article includes links to the modules under development for OR 100.


  • Cort
  • Jorge
  • Skylar


Module 2: Helping Yourself

  • Troubleshooting Basics
    • Is something going wrong? Are you just not able to figure out how to do something with your computer/software?
      • Try searching for solutions that make sense. For example:
        • Microsoft Word keeps giving you word suggestions that you don't like --> Check the options to change its default settings.
        • I want to align my paragraphs to the right in Microsoft Word --> Search your buttons and try to use the correct one.
    • What if I make a mistake?
      • Undo function (CMD+Z or CTRL+Z)
        • Will save you a lot of time and effort (even in troubleshooting instances)
      • If you’re really worried that you’ll make mistakes that undo won’t save you from, save a separate copy of your file with a different name
      • Manually undoing what you’ve done
        • For example: Toggled an option that didn’t accomplish what you wanted it to? Untoggle it. Retrace your steps backwards when the undo button can't do it for you.
    • Search for functions and programs
      • Search Programs and Files/Spotlight (show screenshots, "how to" for each)
    • Explore Menus (show screenshots)
      • Every program traditionally has menus at the top
      • Right clicking provides menus (show screenshots, "how to")
      • Holding mouse on icons/options may provide deeper descriptions
    • Explore Options/Preferences
      • Customize your experience to achieve the desired results
        • Some settings may make your experience easier depending on your personal preferences
    • Options/Preferences are typically underneath menus such as the Program name's menu, Help, File, or Edit.
    • When something is “locked up” or “frozen”
      • Quitting, reopening
        • Use Task Manager/Activity Monitor (show screenshots, "how to")
  • Getting Help
    • The Golden Rule: Be as clear as you can about what you want to accomplish or about the issue that is occurring
      • Try to be as specific as possible about what you want or issues that happened
      • For issues, were there any errors that showed up?
        • Read them. Sometimes an error is simply solved by choosing the correct option in the dialogue box that pops-up.
        • Your error(s) don't make sense to you? Write them down or take a screenshot for reference just in case.
          • Snipping tool for Windows, Command+Shift+3 for Mac OS X.
        • Detail what you were doing (before the issues) in step-by-step fashion.
    • When something just “isn’t working”
      • First ask yourself, What steps are you taking?
        • Reevaluate your steps. Are these steps in line with what you want to achieve?
          • If you are sure that these steps are the right way to accomplish your goal or fix your problem, then you may be running into errors that would require tech support.
          • If you realized that you made a mistake, try something else.
      • Is it giving you errors? Refer to the errors section above.
      • Is it broken and not functioning correctly? Refer to the tech support section below.
    • Research
      • Google/Search Engine
        • Power searching
          • Copy and Paste your error report into the search engine. Include any other significant information (for example: what OS you use, Mac or PC)
            • Possibly use a short video to demonstrate the process
        • Helpful sources
          •, Wikis, technology websites, How-To Guides, Forums, Answer websites, Tech Support sites, official websites
      • Built-In Help Documentation
      • Look for help or support in your application
  • WSU Tech Support
    • Before coming in, did you:
      • Close your programs, reopen them, and try again? Refer to task manager/activity monitor section for help with ending tasks/force quitting.
      • Reboot your computer? (show how to)
      • Run updates?
        • Typically computer software is supposed to update on its own these days, but in many occurrences it is not always immediately up-to-date on everyone's computer.
          • To run system updates for Windows, search for Windows Updates, for OS X, it is underneath Software Updates in the Apple icon.
          • Specific programs may have a Check for Updates option underneath their Programs name's menu, Help, or in their Options/Preferences.
      • Check helpful sources? Refer above under Research.

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