Getting to know the software
√ How to make a simple object
√ How to render an image
√ How to save your scene
Using the help file
How to adapt the GUI (graphical user interface)
How to set up the system units to metric / centimeter
You can specify default working units for new scenes in the New Scene Options (File > New Scene > ). You can specify linear units, angular units, and time settings.
What you can find in the general preferences
What are your automatic backup features?
Maya 2011 finally offers autoback but it is not active by default. You need to go to window>settings and preferences > preferences > Files/Projects and check the Enable in the AutoSave section. You can limit the number of files to save, the interval in minutes, and assign a folder if not the currently set project.
Setting up external backup
Make it a habit of backing up the files you work with, at least on a daily basis. Always backup to an external device, preferably to a cloud service like Google Drive, Onedrive or Dropbox.
Always backing up my work on Dropbox, so check!