Technology Resources for Working and Teaching from Off Campus

[email protected] has prepared the following list of technology resources to help students, faculty and staff prepare to seamlessly continue their normal work from a distance. This toolkit will help you to:

  • Telecommute or attend meetings from home
  • Prepare in advance for disruptions to campus operations (for example, a pandemic or extended severe weather)
  • Organize course materials and communicate with students during both normal operations and large-scale disruptions

This toolkit is not a definitive list of technology resources, nor is it designed to address non-technical issues, such as attendance policies or pedagogical best practices. Specifically for faculty, the Office of Teaching and Learning maintains a list of Resources for Teaching from a Distance.

How to access University resources from home

Methods are available for accessing on campus materials from your personal laptop or home computer.

  • To access resources on the DU Network like Banner, shared network drives, or to connect to your work computer remotely, you will need a virtual private network (VPN). Connect to Citrix VPN:  PC  | Mac | Mobile

    Please be advised that the University’s VPN is only needed for access to resources located on campus that have not been made available to the outside world through our firewalls.  Network file shares, Remote Desktop (RDP) access to servers and workstations, and iBanner are all examples of when the VPN is required.  Jabber, One Drive, Canvas, Kaltura, Microsoft Teams and o365 email are all examples of when the VPN is not required.
     
  • To access your on-campus Windows PC, use Remote Desktop Connection.
  • To securely access and store files, use OneDrive or departmental shared folders and zephyr drive.
  • To enhance file security, review suggested data encryption options for staff and faculty.
  • Antivirus should be installed on all computers. Read more about downloading and installing antivirus here.

Comcast has developed a comprehensive COVID-19 response to keep individuals and families connected to the Internet, including:

  1. Internet Essentials Free to New Customers: Speeds will increase to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream for all new and existing customers. New families who connect will receive 60 days of Internet service for free. The Internet Essentials program is normally available to all qualified low-income households in Comcast’s service area for $9.95/month.
  2. Xfinity WiFi Hotspots Free for Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser to connect.

Check out these Frequently Asked Questions about Technology Resources for Teaching and Working Off Campus for additional information.

Resources for online communication and collaboration

Useful for both emergency situations and general classroom and business activity, this list provides resources establishing lines of virtual communication and collaboration.

How to Encrypt Emails

When sending emails from home that contain confidential information, encrypt emails by simply adding "DU Confidential" without quotes followed by any additional text in the subject line.

Accessing email from the web

If you have access to a web browser but you don’t have access to your own computer, you can still sign into Office365.du.edu with your DU email and password.

Accessing email from a mobile device

Modern smart phones and cell-connected devices provide the best way to access email during emergencies. Cell networks are often buffered from the disruptions in power and are less susceptible to wind damage than cable, phone and fiber networks. When the worst does happen, cellular services are some of the first systems to be restored.

Canvas includes a number of tools for instructors to use to communicate with and interact with students through a course site. Making content available in Canvas can be as simple as uploading documents to the Files area or writing content directly into Canvas Pages. Students control how they receive communication from Canvas via their notification preferences.

Canvas's Commitment to Continuity

Additionally, the following Canvas tools are available in all courses.

Announcements

Announcements can be used communicate with students about the logistics of your course. As soon as you have submitted an Announcement, Canvas takes care of notifying students according to their preferred Notification Preferences, through Facebook, Twitter, text message, or email. Students can also respond to your Announcement with comments and questions.

Assignments

Assignments allow students to submit files, text, or URLs for grading.

Inbox / Conversations

The Inbox tool in Canvas serves as a course-specific email system. Require students to use this tool, and consistently use it yourself, if you want to keep all course-related communications gathered in one place, separate from emails about other topics. It can be much easier to keep up with messages in the Messages tool than in your already overburdened email inbox.

Discussions

Canvas provides an integrated system for focused and threaded discussions so that both instructors and students alike can start and contribute to as many discussion topics as desired. Discussions are date stamped when created, or replied to, and can be enhanced with any rich media like video, images, wikis, files attachments, and can be created as an assignment for grading purposes (which is then seamlessly integrated with the Canvas gradebook), or simply as a forum for topical and current events.

Grades / Gradebook

Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes can easily be graded in Canvas. 

Kaltura

Pre-recording lectures works for classes of any size. You can use Kaltura, which is integrated with the Canvas LMS, to record video lectures and seamlessly share them in your Canvas course.

*Please be aware that Kaltura requires a minimum internet bandwidth of 10 Mbps.

Quizzes

You can use the Canvas Quizzes tool to create graded or ungraded quizzes and surveys. Canvas Quizzes allow you to create multiple question types (multiple choice, essay, true/false, and more).

Zoom

While best for classes of 50 or fewer students, Zoom can accommodate up to 300 participants for a live lecture easily. You can also share your screen, collaborate on a whiteboard, and have students break out into groups.  Check out Zoom's Commitment to User Support and Business Continuity.

*Please be aware that Zoom requires a minimum internet bandwidth of 1.5 Mbps.

Your Zoom meeting can also be recorded to your computer and uploaded to Canvas. This is helpful for students who are unable to get online to join a live session.

The Zoom Virtual Waiting Room is one of the best ways to protect your Zoom virtual classroom by giving you control over who can join your class and when. The virtual Waiting Room can be enabled for every class (in your settings) or for individual classes at the scheduling level. Watch this brief video to learn how to enable Waiting Rooms and manage participants. Watch Now

Shared folder access needs to be explicitly requested by your immediate supervisor on your behalf by submitting a request.  

If you are on DU’s campus, you must be connected to Eduroam or ethernet (wired internet) to access the Zephyr and shared drives. 

Connections outside of the DU network require a secure VPN connection.

Use Teams as a workspace for real-time collaboration and communication, meetings, file and app sharing, and more.

In the event of a campus closure or planned telecommuting day, you can still utilize your office phone from home.

Kaltura

Pre-recording lectures works for classes of any size. You can use Kaltura, which is integrated with the Canvas LMS, to record video lectures and seamlessly share them in your Canvas course.

*Please be aware that Kaltura requires a minimum internet bandwidth of 10 Mbps.

Microsoft Teams

Use Teams as a workspace for real-time collaboration and communication, meetings, file and app sharing, and more.

Zoom

Use Zoom to participate in group video chat during online class sessions, host virtual office hours, collaborate remotely on research, share screens and host real-time video conversations, host live web broadcasts to thousands of people worldwide and record to the cloud or computer for easy sharing. Check out Zoom's Commitment to User Support and Business Continuity.

*Please be aware that Zoom requires a minimum internet bandwidth of 1.5 Mbps.

Save your files to OneDrive and access them from any device, anywhere. OneDrive also supports live document collaboration, comments, and real-time chat.

Yammer is an internal social networking site where users can post updates for the entire community or specific groups. Yammer groups can be open to anyone at DU (public) or restricted to group members (private). 

Other Useful Information