Resources, guidance, and best practices for working remotely and telecommuting at Boise State.
The University requires faculty and staff (including student employees) to use Boise State’s VPN service when connecting remotely to University data and resources.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
The University requires faculty and staff (including student employees) to use Boise State’s VPN service when connecting remotely to University resources.
Boise State’s provides security when connecting to University networks and systems (such as your “R: drive,” “H: drive,” or “fircreek1”) so you can work remotely as if you’re on campus.
VPN also helps to protect your data when connecting to unknown Wi-Fi networks in airports, hotels, or coffee shops.
Be aware that you are subject to the University’s Remote Access policy when using VPN.
Connect remotely to a Windows desktop or laptop computer from your home computer with Remote Desktop.
Note that VPN is required to use Remote Desktop.
Prepare in Advance
University faculty and staff must agree to Telecommuting Guidelines and submit a Telecommuting Request form to receive official permission to telecommute.
Internet Access and Wireless Hotspots
- If you use public WiFi, please use Boise State’s VPN to secure your connection.
- Please keep in mind that other devices on your network will impact your speed (e.g., if a family member is streaming Netflix or playing online games). If you do experience network issues, check with your Internet Service Provider. Contact the Help Desk if needed.
- Mobile apps for Microsoft Office, Blackboard, G Suite (Google Apps), and Zoom are available for free from iOS and Android app stores and work over cellular and WiFi connections. (Staff and faculty may install Microsoft Office on up to five devices, including phones and tablets.)
- The FCC has called on broadband and telephone service providers to promote connectivity for those impacted by pandemic. Many internet and cellular providers are responding by lifting data caps and offering other benefits for their customers during this time. Check with your provider to understand any additional benefits for your plan.
- Most wireless phone service providers offer personal hotspot service to be added to wireless plans to create a WiFi network from a smartphone. This option can also provide greater WiFi range. Check with your carrier for details. The Help Desk can assist you with setting up a hotspot if needed; contact us at (208) 426-4357, email@example.com, or chat online.
Files and Documents
Google Drive is a web-based file storage and collaboration application for sharing and backup. Boise State Google Drive storage is unlimited.
The easiest method of remotely accessing your documents and files is to upload them to Google Drive. You can access Google Drive from any device, VPN is not required, and you can configure granular permissions for collaboration or review by teams or specific people.
(Accessing your files on department shares – e.g., your “R: drive” or “H: drive” – requires installing and using Boise State VPN.)
Voicemail and Call Forwarding
Be sure you know your voicemail password to remotely access voicemail.
You can also configure your voicemail to send your messages to email, and you can forward calls to your personal phone number via Cisco CallManager.
If you make work calls from your personal phone, consider dialing *67 before a phone number if you want to mask your personal phone number when contacting others.
Technology makes it easy to reach out by phone or text at any time. In some cases, there may be legitimate reasons to communicate quickly. However, be sure to respect boundaries.
Not every message or issue is urgent.
It’s challenging for people working in non-traditional settings. Be patient if you do not get an immediate response to messages.
Practice Safe Computing
- Protect your computer, identity and privacy. Be sure your computer has antivirus software and learn how to protect yourself on the web.
- Install pending updates and patches. These address identified security vulnerabilities, some of which may be active exploits.
- While working from home, do not store confidential University data on any personal devices. Please make sure that University computing devices are only accessed by you and not family members or guests.
- Be Aware of COVID-19 Scams: Scams and phishing emails are targeting people’s growing fears of the coronavirus in order to steal their usernames, passwords, credit cards and other sensitive information.
- Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.
- Contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357 or firstname.lastname@example.org to report any cybersecurity issues, or to learn more about options for using University data.
- Learn about safe computing cybersecurity tips and best practices
Collaborate with G Suite (Google Apps)
G Suite at Boise State
Google G Suite at Boise State University is the official group collaboration software for Boise State University students, faculty and staff.
G Suite provides access to dozens of Google applications including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Sites and YouTube.
Voice, Chat, and Video
Solutions for Streaming and Collaboration
Several platforms are available for video/voice/chat conferencing when working remotely.
- If your computer does not have a built-in camera, you can also use an external USB camera for video conferencing.
- Have a set of earbuds/headphones (especially ones with a built-in microphone) for attending online courses and meetings.
- If your computer does not have a built-in microphone, use an external device such as a USB microphone or headset.
- Close other programs and limit streaming/large downloads while you work. Other programs on your computer may consume processor or network resources. Try disconnecting or limiting use of other non-essential devices on your network.
Zoom makes it easy to share screens and host real-time video conversations, host live web broadcasts, and record to a computer or cloud for easy sharing. In addition to laptops and desktops, Zoom chat and video conferencing apps are available for iPhone, iPad, or Android. A phone conference line is included with your Boise State Zoom account, making it easy for participants to join meetings using a phone.
Panopto provides features for live webcasting, screencast recording, and live discussions. Capturing a lecture with Panopto is as easy as opening a laptop and clicking “record.”
Camtasia is a familiar tool for recording screen activity, voiceover narration, and video from a camera or webcam. The editing capabilities of Camtasia are more advanced than those of Panopto, but less technical than full-featured video editing software.
Camtasia Studio licenses are available to faculty and staff at no charge.
Google Hangouts Meet
Create, join, and participate in video meetings with up to 250 people using Hangouts Meet through Boise State G Suite. Hangouts Meet is available for all devices.
While you can invite as many people as you want to join, you can’t have more than 250 people in a Meet at once.
- Learn how to access and use Google Hangouts Meet at Boise State
- Tips for better Hangouts Meet calls from home
YouTube Live is an easy way to reach your audience in real time using a webcam and a microphone.
Whether you’re giving a presentation or hosting a live Q&A, YouTube Live tools allow you to manage your stream and interact with viewers in real time. Note that viewers must use updated versions of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox for YouTube Live streams.
Ergonomic Tips to Avoid Injury
When working remotely, awkward posture or an improper setup may increase the risk of injuries caused by poor ergonomics.
Here are some tips to help:
- Use a good chair. If you don’t have a good chair, add pillows for back/leg support.
- Raise or lower your chair so your shoulders are relaxed with the elbows around 90 degrees (or use a pillow or seat cushion if needed).
- Support your feet on an object if they don’t firmly touch the ground while sitting.
- Raise or lower your monitor (or put it on top of an object). The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level.
- If possible, your monitor should be separated from your keyboard and mouse. If you raise your laptop, consider using an external keyboard and mouse.
- Take short breaks for ergonomic exercises and stretches as recommended by the National Institutes of Health.
Continuity of Instruction
The Provost has asked all faculty to prepare Blackboard course sites for teaching remotely.
Visit the COVID-19 Continuity of Instruction page on the Provost’s website for information about using Blackboard and other services and resources for remote instruction: