General Guidance & Support Resources for Working Remotely
Working Remotely Checklist
Review tips for working productively, remotely.
Verify that you can connect to campus resources from home, including the VPN, and that your internet connection is reliable.
Forward your phone calls or change your voicemail greeting to reflect your change in location.
Plan with others in your department about how you will meet and collaborate, as well as setting expectations for working remotely.
Find Guidance for IT Hardware and Software Purchases.
Know how to contact IT support when you have trouble.
Stay informed with what is happening on campus.
Tips for working remotely
General tips and advice for transitioning to a remote work environment
- Stick to your normal morning and workday schedule.
- Have a defined place you work and try to keep it for work only.
- Schedule check-in times with your team/supervisors to stay on task and supported.
- Take regular breaks, hydrate, and stretch.
- Keep in mind Academic Technology Resources for Teaching Continuity if needed.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. If your household is eligible, you can receive:
- Up to a $50/month discount on your broadband service and associated equipment rentals
- Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
The FCC has announced that consumers can begin applying for and enrolling in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program on May 12, 2021. The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.
Connect to campus resources
Use these resources to improve home internet connectivity and for connecting to campus VPN. OIT also has a Home Networking 101 presentation available for download that goes through our recommendations, as well as a recording of the Networking 101 webinar.
Internet Speed Information & Recommendations
Whether you have applied for a federal grant for technology through the CARES Act and are looking for information on how to spend that money appropriately, or you just want to make sure your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) connectivity meets the minimum standard for remote learning success, these recommendations can help point you in the right direction.
Most Common Types of Internet Connectivity offered in the United States:
Broadband connections are run over a cable infrastructure, i.e. Coaxial Cable, Optical Fiber, and/or Ethernet.
- Cable connectivity offered by Comcast/Century Link are very common and offer technical help in setting up the connection.
- Speeds range from 25Mbps to 150Mbps for download and 1Mbps to 25Mbps for upload. Generally, this type of connectivity is considered optimal, since speeds of over 25Mbps can offer multiple people in a single residence better than good performance.
Cellular connections are run over a wireless “cell” infrastructure and are provided by companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
- Speeds can range depending on the service you are connected to. These services are upgraded in an evolution, as carriers roll out better speeds over time. The most common is 4G LTE and in some metropolitan areas 5G is being adopted, though speeds are limited to your device’s cellular chipset.
- Speeds range from 5Mbps to 12Mbps for download and 2Mbps to 5Mbps for uploads, but will vary depending on congestion and signal to the nearest cellular tower.
- Connecting a wireless enabled computer to a cellular device (e.g. phone or hotspot) is typically done by creating a wireless network and then connecting that device to the shared SSID or wireless network name.
- OIT does not recommend that these types of connections be shared between more than one user at a time.
Base Recommendations for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) of choice:
- Because Zoom is the remote learning collaboration tool you will use that is most reliant on consistent internet connection, your ISP’s speed should match Zoom’s minimum bandwidth requirements. Zoom's System Requirements include at least a 3Mbps connection to take advantage of basic and advanced features.
- Test your ISP's connection using CU Boulder's speed test site. Make sure to close extra tabs in your browser and quit any unnecessary applications before you click the Start button to begin the speed test. Be sure to test from the computer you plan on using for schoolwork and make sure it is connected to Wi-Fi or a hotspot. Any result in the download gauge showing speeds near or above 3Mbps should be acceptable.
- Connectivity doesn’t meet the threshold? Contact your ISP and talk with them about what internet options are available. Most broadband companies have offered increased speeds and plans that are more reasonable to meet the demand remote learning and working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connecting to CU Boulder's VPN
Many of the resources and tools to complete your daily work do not require the use of the CU's VPN. A few that do include the following:
- Access CU Boulder's file servers like UCB Files
- CIFS, NFS file sharing
- Access CU System administrative tools from off-campus like HCM and CU-SIS
- Access the Cisco VOIP Phone Self Care Portal
- Access specific library databases
Note: Some countries outside the United States filter internet traffic. As a result, access to some CU resources (including VPN) may be restricted. Such restrictions are outside of CU's control and can change frequently. OIT is unable to know which resources may not be accessed from countries outside the United States.
Collaborate, message, and meet with peers
To provide a cohesive unified experience to our campus community, it is highly recommend that you utilize the campus’ supported tools.
Chat, Call, or Meet in Microsoft Teams
- Connect with anyone on campus via chat, audio, or video call. All CU Boulder users are licensed for Teams, making it easier to add people to a team or search, call, and chat
- Invite external (guest) users to be part of your Team
- Access other Office 365 apps including OneDrive, SharePoint, OneNote, and Planner
- Connect your Team to third-party apps and connectors including Google Drive, SurveyMonkey, Twitter, RSS, Salesforce, Trello, GitHub and JIRA
Collaborate using Office 365 tools
CU Boulder's online productivity tools allow you to work with peers from different locations, and since your work is stored in the cloud, you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Office 365 is a Microsoft product available to all faculty, staff, and students
- Apps included: Outlook, Word, Excel, OneDrive, OneNote, PowerPoint, Power BI, Teams, To-Do, Planner, and more.
- If you are working on a computer or device that doesn't have productivity software like Microsoft Office installed, login to the O365 Portal for web-based tools.
Utilize Google Workspace for collaboration
CU Boulder's online productivity tools allow you to work with peers from different locations, and since your work is stored in the cloud, access it from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Google Workspace apps are available to all faculty, staff, and students
- Apps included: Docs, Sheets, Drawings, Slides and more.
File Storage Information
Storing documents in the cloud offers large capacity and easy accessibility to your data. Cloud Services are hosted off-campus, using non-university owned equipment that is operated by non-university employees, however they often provide increased functionality at a lower cost than traditional storage services. Use OIT's Storage Solution Information to figure out the appropriate storage solution for the type of data and features you need.
Use DocuSign for paperless workflow
DocuSign is an easy-to-use, full-featured, web-based application for signing/sending documents, creating forms, and managing document workflow. DocuSign makes it convenient to access and sign documents, check the status of a document and send reminders or view audit trails online. All campus affiliates with an active IdentiKey can use DocuSign.
Phone settings and Voicemail access
Forward Your Campus Phone
- If you do not receive any calls related to student, faculty, staff personal data or financial transactions, you can forward your phone. Instructions for forwarding your phone.
- If you do receive calls related to student, faculty or staff data or financial transactions, please email email@example.com and request single number reach be activated for your account. With single number reach, you will receive calls to your alternate phone as well as your campus phone. If you do not answer, your CU Boulder voicemail will take the message.
Access Your Voicemail
- Dial 303-735-6245
- Enter your campus 5-digit extension followed by #
- Enter your mailbox PIN when prompted
- If you forget or need to reset your PIN, please contact the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Have your voicemail forwarded to your email inbox (may take up to two weeks to activate). To prevent the written transcription and email transmission of highly confidential information, this feature is prohibited for anyone who may receive this type of information by telephone.
IT Hardware and Software Purchases
Procurement Service Center (PSC) Guidance
The Procurement Service Center (PSC) has issued advice on IT Hardware & Software Purchases in response to the COVID-19 situation. As of March 2020, the PSC’s published information states that “IT hardware and software purchases should route through campus IT organizations prior to purchase.” When inquiring with the PSC, CU Boulder staff are directed to OIT to approve any non-standard hardware purchases. Because OIT does not purchase personal computer equipment for employees, we are issuing the following guidance in place of an authorized exception:
- You are encouraged to contact your IT desktop support to determine if they can help you with a solution so that you can avoid a purchase.
- Individual faculty and staff should consult with their department purchasers rather than purchase on their own.
- Department purchasers should follow the recommendations from the PSC.
- If department purchasers determine that an exception to the purchasing method is in order, or wish to have the item shipped directly to an employee’s home and skip campus delivery, OIT recommends following the procedure(s) below.
Procedure to purchase with a P-Card rather than the CU Marketplace
- Document why the purchase of new equipment must be made, rather than the employee using their current office equipment. Include this documentation with your P-Card receipt. Be sure to follow your individual department’s practices for creating and documenting your P-Card Expense Reports.
- If ordering online, verify that you will receive the item sooner with a P-Card than with a CU Marketplace order. This is not always the case.
- If you intend to ship an item directly to an employee’s home and skip campus delivery, see below.
Procedure to ship an item directly to an employee’s home
- Since the only way to ship an item directly to an employee’s home and skip campus delivery is to purchase with a P-Card, see the section above titled “Procedure to purchase with a P-Card rather than the CU Marketplace”. Please note that this should only occur when all other options have been explored.
- Consult with the OIT Recommended Software and Hardware List and the OIT Supported Software and Hardware List to ensure the computer hardware is appropriate for campus use and support. You may also want to check out OIT's Recommended Peripherals for other commonly used hardware.
- Consult with your IT desktop support. This may be OIT Dedicated Desktop Support (DDS), or someone else. Because most new computer hardware requires special setup by your IT support to function correctly and connect to campus resources, your IT desktop support may require that the new hardware be shipped to a campus location and set up by an IT technician on campus before it can be distributed to an employee. Also, only certain models may be supported by IT. Finally, your IT support may require the computer to be tagged and recorded for inventory purposes.
- Verify with your IT desktop support contact that:
- The computer hardware can be deployed and supported without setup by on-campus IT staff.
- The computer hardware model and configuration will be supported by your IT staff once normal campus operations resume.
- If you are purchasing a computer on behalf of a faculty member participating in the Faculty Computer Purchase Program (FCPP), ensure you have obtained FCPP approval in advance of the purchase. Indicate in your exception request that this is related to COVID-19, and you have performed the steps in the previous bullets.
Get IT Support
- IT Service Center: Call 303-735-4357 or email email@example.com for help with all OIT services, including all the tools and strategies provided above.
- Dedicated Desktop Support: If your department is supported by DDS, contact your technician via the Request portal for assistance.
- Additional support resources for the CU Boulder campus community in remote teaching, learning, and working technology.