Working and Learning Off Campus
Find Services & Technologies
This guide points to useful resources for working and learning remotely that are available to UMN students, faculty, and staff.
Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet enable you to meet online. Compare Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet to learn which solution is right for you.
Hold meetings, office hours, study groups, and webinars online.
Log in to Zoom: zoom.umn.edu
Read how-to instructions
Secure Your Zoom Meetings
- Read: Zoom: Secure Your Zoom Meetings
- Watch: a brief demonstration of In-Meeting Tools to Secure your Zoom Meetings (3:14).
As a result of the increased use of Zoom meetings globally, they have become a target for meeting hijackers. In many cases, these bad actors seek to cause disruption by posting or sharing inappropriate comments, images, or videos. In the event that an unwanted guest joins your Zoom meeting, you can take immediate action:
- Lock your meeting. The Zoom host settings allow the host or co-host to lock the meeting after all the expected participants have joined. Select the Security icon and select Lock meeting. Note: If one of your participants leaves the meeting (e.g., their internet connection fails) after you have locked the meeting, they will not be able to rejoin unless you unlock the meeting.
- Remove a participant or put on hold. If someone is disrupting your meeting, remove them from the session. Select the Participant icon. From the participant panel, hover over the name of the disruptive participant. When the menu appears, select Remove. Another option is to put them on hold, during which time the attendee cannot see, hear, or share anything.
- Restrict screen sharing. Select the Security icon to uncheck screen sharing permissions.
- Disable chat. Select the Security icon and select the checkmark next to chat to disable participants’ ability to use the chat function.
- Zoom: Training and Help Center
- Recommended Headsets and Webcams
- Zoom: Understand HCC Requirements training (required for HCC users before hosting a Zoom Meeting).
- Zoom: Zoom for Google Calendar Add-on
- Zoom: Access to University Data
Enhance the accessibility of online meetings by enabling Zoom’s Auto-Transcription feature for participants. This feature turns spoken words into text in real-time; increasing access to your material for people who:
- are in a loud or public space.
- do not have access to headphones or speakers.
- are English language learners.
- benefit from hearing and reading content simultaneously.
Note: Zoom’s Live Transcripts should be used to improve accessibility, but not for accommodation. Choose between a video or written instructions:
- Video how-to Zoom: Manage Automatic Live Transcription
- Written how-to Zoom: Manage Automatic Live Transcription
Google Hangouts Meet
Send messages, share photos, make phone calls, video chat, or host a meeting with one person or an entire group. Note: Google Hangouts Meet is not available to members of the HCC.
Helpful Google Hangouts Meet resources:
Get Help Teaching with Technology
Connect to the UMN Network and VPN
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Some University applications can only be accessed through our on-campus network (eduroam) or through the University's Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN is a service that uses encryption technologies to allow you to securely connect to the University's network when you are not on campus.
VPN should only be used when resources cannot be accessed by other means. A VPN is not needed for web-based UMN resources and services, such as umn.edu web pages, MyU, University Gmail, Canvas, UMN G Suite, and Office 365.
Helpful VPN resources:
- Download VPN software and review installation instructions.
- HST/AHC: VPN and Remote Desktop Setup instructions.
- VPN Requirements for UMN Applications
Please note the following VPN technical details:
- Maximum connection time for a single session is 12 hours.
- Idle timeout is 15 minutes (Idle timeout occurs when network traffic between your computer and the VPN system stops for at least 15 minutes. This situation typically occurs when a computer goes to sleep or is powered down).
Please note: Some companies may be providing additional or extended access. Please check with your local internet or cellular service providers, as they may be providing additional data options, expanded WiFi access points, mobile hotspots, or other accommodations in response to community needs.
Collaborate with Others
- Create and send email: See What can you do with Gmail?
- Gmail cheat sheet (Google Learning Center).
- Use Gmail to email without an internet connection (Gmail Offline).
- Collaborate with others: See What can you do with Hangouts Chat?
- Hangouts Chat cheat sheet (Google Learning Center).
Microsoft Office 365 is available for students, faculty, and staff at no charge. Download Office 365 for productivity and collaboration tools like Word, Excel, and more.
Access University Systems with Duo
To sign in to most University applications, Duo Security multi-factor authentication is required. Make sure that you have your Duo-enrolled device or pre-generated bypass codes with you when you work or learn off-campus.
Helpful Duo resources:
- Generate and use bypass codes now for use when you really need them. Bypass codes are good for one year. Print them and store them in a secure location.
- No WiFi or cell service? No problem! In the event that you are in a location without WiFi or cell service, your smartphone can still generate passcodes, or you can use your pre-generated bypass codes.
- If you have only enrolled your office landline phone, to work remotely, you will need to enroll another phone number. This can be your home landline or a cell phone.
Remote Desktop Connection
A Remote Desktop connection allows you to connect remotely to a computer that may be in your office, lab, or at another remote location.
Helpful Remote Desktop Connection resources:
- Connecting to a Remote Windows Computer on a Windows PC using Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection
- HST/AHC: VPN and Remote Desktop Setup
Before you set up a Remote Desktop, please be aware of these requirements:
- Prior to the first remote connection on a device, you must contact Technology Help.
- You must be on campus and using the device you want to connect when setting up Remote Desktop. If you plan on using Remote Desktop remotely, contact Technology Help before leaving campus to complete setup.
- Technology Help works with desktop support and local IT to set up Remote Desktop, which happens during normal business hours.
- Remote Desktop requires a VPN connection in order to launch.
Remote Software Access
If you need access to specific software that is not installed on your device, contact your local IT department, or have a departmental representative contact Technology Help. A remote desktop connection or virtual delivery may be options for providing remote access to software.
Access Documents and Files
Store documents and files in the cloud or on a file service that you can access easily from remote locations.
- UMN Google Drive resources.
- Drive cheat sheet (Google Learning Center).
- Use Google Drive files offline without an internet connection.
- Create Docs, Sheets and Slides: See What can you do with Drive?
Google Shared Drives
Box Secure Storage
Note: Health Sciences users should use Box Secure Storage.
Note: Remote access to OIT managed servers, databases, and files.umn.edu requires the use of the University's VPN system. Once connected to files.umn.edu, mapped drives should be available. Performance may be slower than the on-campus experience.
Practice Safe Computing
The University's guidelines about how to use your device securely are useful anytime you go online, but are especially important when you're not on the University's network.
- Use secure WiFi when conducting University business.
- Review the University's policy for using personally-owned devices for University business. Check out the top 10 tips for protecting mobile devices.
- Ensure your computer's software is up to date, including your antivirus software.
- Remember, the same security policies for University business also apply to working off-campus.
- Be on guard against new COVID-19 scams.
Also, do not save work documents to a home computer.
Get Technology Help
The University’s Technology Help service desk is open 24/7 and available via email, phone, and chat to help answer any questions you may have.
Contact Technology Help for your campus:
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: 218-281-8000
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: 218-726-8847
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: 320-589-6150
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: 507-258-8748