Technology for working remotely
Most of the tools you might need are easily accessible with an internet connection, and your laptop or home computer. Some may require setup, and there is help available from the DoIT Help Desk.
Looking for help with learning remotely?
In this page:
- Stay safe: Use VPN and antivirus software.
- Access your files: For general file storage, try SharePoint team site, G Suite or Box. Researchers have ResearchDrive, Electronic Lab Notebook and file storage as options too. If you work with sensitive data, review the guidance on handling sensitive data.
- Email: Make sure you can access email or other Microsoft Office tools.
- Your work phone: Forward your work calls to another phone number.
- Software: Get software you might need while remote.
- Remote access: If you will need remote access to your campus computer (most employees won’t), consult the DoIT Help Desk or your department’s IT representative.
- Need a headset? See our recommendations.
- Web conferencing tools: Use the built-in webcam on your laptop or learn about recommended technology for web conferencing.
- Get help: Contact the DoIT Help Desk with questions. If you do not have the necessary equipment at home, consult with your supervisor.
In order to work remotely, you may need some or all of the following:
Work with a local internet service provider (ISP). The university does not offer personal high speed internet as a service. See Home Internet Guide in Wisconsin for details about available ISPs with links to their sites and additional info. Check out these tips for How to manage slower internet or low bandwidth.
Security while working remotely
When working remotely, safety and security are important. Keep your operating system up to date, use antivirus software, use a VPN, enable your firewall, use strong passwords, and enable multi-factor authentication. Explore How to Stay Safe Online While Accessing Campus Remotely.
Communication and collaboration tools
Visit the UW-Madison Instructional Continuity website for guidance on delivering classes remotely. This helpful site offers general guidance, a smooth course transition, and important accessibility considerations.
Email and online calendar
UW-Madison G Suite
A collection of cloud-based tools for collaboration including Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Sites, Google Keep, Google Hangouts Chat & Meet, and more.
Chat, video meetings, and make phone calls to communicate easily and efficiently. Get started using Teams with the info on this KB doc.
Free online file storage. Upload and download files, but be aware of storing sensitive data. Login with your NetID and password.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Tools like Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator are available by logging in to Adobe Creative Cloud with your NetID.
Other software programs are available through the Campus Software Library, like Matlab, Smart Draw, and more. For information on access to software while working remote, please see How to get software while remote.
You also might want to make updates to your phone service like call forwarding, notification and updating your telephone PIN.
Using voicemail: Listen to and delete messages, as well as change greetings. You must either be on UW-Madison campus or using WiscVPN to use.
Remote desktop access to your work computer
Certain departments allow remote desktop access so that employees can access their work computer remotely. Access to this service varies by department, operating system, and various other factors. Contact your local IT support staff for more information about whether this option is available to you and for assistance with setup.
Broadband internet at home
DoIT strongly encourages employees to use wired broadband internet service at home and not rely on mobile hotspots from wireless carriers. While hotspots are convenient for occasional internet access and for internet access when traveling they do not provide enough data in their plans to sustain full-time work from home. Even the “unlimited” plans are capped at about 20 GB of data, which is not enough data for most people to get through the month before the cap resets.
In many urban and suburban areas of Wisconsin there is at least one internet provider. Unfortunately, access to wired internet in rural areas can be challenging. Most carriers offer high speed internet with no monthly data caps. Many have introductory pricing of $50 per month or less. Contact your local carrier to determine if service is offered at your residence. In many cases, you can check availability online.
Major carriers in south-central Wisconsin that may provide service in your area: AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter/Spectrum, Comcast, Frontier, TDS Telecom or TDS Fiber. You can also search for providers using an ad supported site.
For those not served by wired internet there are some satellite providers. Monthly data caps may apply.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission publishes a list of financial assistance that can help low-income families pay for utility costs.
DoIT is providing this list of resources as a convenience to aid in your search for an internet service provider. Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement, recommendation, or support; other capable and quality providers may not be listed. As with any purchase, shop around, ask for promotional deals, look at consumer reviews, and read the terms and conditions of any contract prior to signing up for the service.
Faculty & instructional staff accommodations
If you have a disability, consider how transitioning from in-person to remote may impact your ability to teach. To revise a current accommodation, request a new accommodation, or if you encounter a barrier, please contact your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR). For accessibility barriers with instructional technology like Canvas or Kaltura MediaSpace, please contact the DoIT Help Desk who will connect you to the Learn@UW–Madison team. The Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement’s Employee Disability Resources unit is also available to help.