Campus Tools to Work Remotely
This document points to resources to assist students, faculty and staff in working remotely.
In order to work remotely, you may need some or all of the following:
- Internet access
- Programs for computer security (anti-virus, VPN)
- Communication tools (email, chat, etc.)
- Work-related programs (office productivity programs, etc.)
- Remote desktop access to your computer at work
You may only need a few of these options in order to perform work or school-related tasks. This document will give you options for accessing these services.
If you have any questions please contact the DoIT Help Desk.
There are several options for internet access if working off-campus if you do not already have internet access remotely (i.e. cable, DSL, or dial-up):
Public Internet Access
Many cafes, hotels, and public places (such as libraries) offer free wireless access. This may be a option for those working remotely without a local phone line. See additional notes below about making sure your wireless connection is secure.
Private Internet Access
You may be interested in receiving high-speed internet at home. This service is usually installed by your cable, phone, or satellite company. Prices vary based on plan and usage. You may wish to contact the following companies to inquire about service plans: Charter Communications, AT T, AT T U-Verse, TDS Metrocom, TDS Telecom, or Verizon DSL. The university does not offer personal high speed internet as a service for private use..
Note: The DoIT Help Desk does not provide support for 3rd party internet connections such as Charter Communications, AT&T, AT&T U-Verse, TDS Metrocom, TDS Telecom, and Verizon DSL.
Now that you're online, you'll want to make sure that your computer is secure before accessing any campus resources.
Symantec Endpoint Protection
If you don't have anti-virus programs on your computer, or the anti-virus program that you are using is expired, DoIT and OCIS recommend downloading our free anti-virus software, Symantec Endpoint Protection. See one of the following documents for more information:
Additionally, DoIT and OCIS recommend using WiscVPN to create a secure connection between your computer and campus.
For information about connecting to WiscVPN with AnyConnect see:
- WiscVPN (Windows) - Downloading and Installing the WiscVPN AnyConnect Client
- WiscVPN (Mac) - Downloading and Installing the WiscVPN AnyConnect Client
- WiscVPN (Linux) - Downloading, Installing and Connecting with the WiscVPN AnyConnect Client
For information about connecting to WiscVPN with GlobalProtect, see:
General information about computer security can be found at https://it.wisc.edu/about/office-of-the-cio/cybersecurity/.
Once you have a secure connection, you'll need to perform the functions you normally do at work: access online courses, communicate with colleagues, access and save work-related files securely, schedule meetings, etc. Luckily, the university provides tools such as Office 365, WiscChat, Box, and Learn@UW to allow you to easily perform these tasks.
Office 365 - Email Access
To access your email, simply point your browser to http://email.wisc.edu/. Enter your NetID and password, and you should have full access to your university email account.
Please note: Not all campus divisions and departments use Office 365 for email. If your department uses a different tool for email access you will need to consult your department web pages for access instructions.
If you'd rather use a third-party client to access your email (i.e. Outlook), no problem! Setup instructions for popular email clients are below:
DoIT recommends using a Microsoft Outlook client to receive your mail.
Configuring Email Clients
WiscChat - Instant Messaging
WiscChat Instant Messaging allows you to chat with colleagues in real time, just like instant messaging through AOL, MSN, or Google. A list of WiscChat clients for PC and Mac, along with instructions on how to set up WiscChat for these clients can be viewed here: http://kb.wisc.edu/helpdesk/page.php?id=6839
Box - Online File Access
Box is a great tool for working remotely, as it allows you to upload and download files from any computer anywhere in the world. Want to save a file securely? Upload it to Box! Simply point your browser to uwmadison.app.box.com, click continue, and log in with your NetID and password.
More information about Box can be found here: https://it.wisc.edu/services/box/
Office 365 - Online Calendar
Office 365 is a great tool to keep track of meetings, appointments, and events. You can also schedule meetings, invite colleagues to meetings, and view colleagues' agendas.
For more information on calendaring in Office 365, please see: Office 365 - How To's for Calendar Clients
Learn@UW - Online Class Access
Learn@UW is a collection of software tools enabling instructors to create course web sites with state-of-the-art communication, collaboration, content delivery and student assessment capabilities.
To learn more about Learn@UW, follow this link: https://it.wisc.edu/services/learnuw/
Often, working remotely requires software such as Microsoft Office that you may not have a personal copy of. If you are a faculty or staff member and you require specific software for working remotely, inquire with your department about purchasing a copy of the software for your home/remote use. Alternatively, you can purchase copies of productivity software from the DoIT Techstore.
If you require an office suite, but cannot acquire a copy of a supported office suite (i.e. Microsoft Office or Apple iWork), you may want to try the free, open source office suite Open Office. Open Office is able to open almost all Microsoft Office documents (including documents, powerpoint presentations, and excel spreadsheets), and is cross-platform compatible.
Please Note: The DoIT Help Desk does not support Open Office.
Certain departments allow remote desktop access so that employees can access their work computer remotely. This is usually achieved via a combination of running WiscVPN and connecting to your work computer via a Remote Desktop Connection or VNC program.
Access to this service varies by department, operating system, method of remoting, and various other factors. In some departments, firewall restrictions may prevent remote connections completely. In other departments, making your computer available for remote access may violate policy. Ultimately, you need to contact your local IT support staff for more information about whether this option is viable and for assistance getting this setup.