IT Services

Remote Teaching, Learning, and Working Tools

Weitzman IT Services has prepped a guide for teaching and joining classes, as well as hosting meetings remotely for Faculty, Staff, and Students in response to Coronavirus and the Penn community working and learning remotely. We strongly recommend contacting our IT staff (via ithelp@design.upenn.edu) to check that you are prepared for working remotely from home, and that you are able to access key University services and content we prepare users for remote work via our Remote-ify process.

Remote Teaching Tools

NOTE TO CURRENT FACULTY / LECTURERS: The Penn Library has created a Canvas site for all currently active classes as a contingency plan for prolonged outages at the University campus.

The University of Pennsylvania offers various tools for faculty and lecturers to host remote classes, lesson recordings, and to collaborate remotely, depending on your needs and workflow.

  • Penn Canvas is where online learning at Penn happens. It’s a place for instructors to post readings, host class discussions, collect assignments, manage grades, and extend learning beyond the physical classroom. Read more here
  • BlueJeans - BlueJeans is a powerful videoconferencing suite that can be used for one-on-one chats, screen sharing, file sharing, and large group meetings of up to 200 people. Read more here.
  • Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams offers many impressive and valuable video conferencing features. Up to 250 users can host 1080p, which includes the ability to share screens and record calls. Users can also meet or collaborate on-the-go using Microsoft Teams apps for smartphones and tablets. Read more here.
  • Zoom - Zoom is a video conferencing platform that allows users to perform synchronous (real-time) functions including host online meetings, participate in group messaging, and share video and audio content. The software is cloud-based and works on desktop, laptop and mobile operating systems including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Linux. Read more hereNOTE: Zoom is not a supported Weitzman Design product. Support is best effort only.

Communications Tools

The University of Pennsylvania offers a number of tools for users to host remote meetings and to collaborate remotely, depending on your needs and workflow.

  • BlueJeans - BlueJeans is a powerful videoconferencing suite that can be used for one-on-one chats, screen sharing, file sharing, and large group meetings of up to 200 people. Read more here.
  • Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams offers many impressive and valuable video conferencing features. Up to 250 users can host 1080p, which includes the ability to share screens and record calls. Users can also meet or collaborate on-the-go using Microsoft Teams apps for smartphones and tablets. Read more here.
  • Zoom - Zoom is a video conferencing platform that allows users to perform synchronous (real-time) functions including host online meetings, participate in group messaging, and share video and audio content. The software is cloud-based and works on desktop, laptop and mobile operating systems including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Linux. Read more here. NOTE: Zoom is not a supported Weitzman Design product. Support is best effort only.
  • Email - PennO365 is the University’s cloud-based email and calendaring service. Weitzman IT Services highly recommends using the Outlook client to access your Penn email for Windows, Mac OS, and your mobile devices. Read more on access and features integrated into PennO365 here.
  • Office 365 PennO365 will allow you to use Microsoft’s productivity suite online or install applications on your local computer. Skype for Business and Teams have built in audio/video conferencing components including screen sharing. Teams is particularly powerful as a collaboration tool. Read more here.  
  • Telephone - PennNet Phone is the University's enterprise telephony service that supports business operations for the campus including phone forwarding and voicemail. Make sure your PennNet phone is configured for call-forwarding if needed when working remotely. Read more on configuring your PennNet phone here.

Testing Your Connection

Internet Speed Testing

Having reliable internet is critical in our increasingly digital age. While wireless internet speeds have improved dramatically, the surefire way to secure top speeds and avoid spotty connections is to go with a direct, ethernet or LAN connection to your home network. Once connected, here are some ways to test the speed of your internet connection:

NOTE: To ensure you're getting a good connection, you'll want internet speeds of at least 100-200 MB/s for download and 5-20 MB/s for upload. Most internet providers or local WiFi networks hit these speeds, however if not operating from a private network, you will always be at the whim of local network traffic. This is also the case with greater network traffic or outages (think a portion of a town or city all using internet during peak times, etc).

NOTE 2: Forcing all participants to mute their microphone or webcam not only helps avoid confusion during a remote call or class, it helps drastically reduce internet bandwidth usage. This makes it easier for users with slower or spottier connections to keep up.

BlueJeans Testing

  • Make sure video icon is unmuted.
  • Go to bluejeans.com/111
  • Talk and Jean the Parrot will repeat what you said, in Jean's parrot voice, to confirm your mic and speakers are meeting-ready.

Security Tools

Symantec is the University's supported antivirus product for Windows and Mac OS operating systems. The software is licensed through Penn and is available free of charge to all members of the Penn community. Read more on getting Symantec downloaded and installed here.

VPN Tools

The University and the Weitzman School offer two VPN options for accessing both University and Weitzman School resources when working remotely. Read more about getting access to and setting up both VPN clients here.

  • University of Pennsylvania VPN (NEW service!). Read more here.
  • Weitzman School of Design VPN (FortiClient)

Additional Tools

  • Penn+Box is a cloud-based collaboration service for securely managing and sharing files and folders.
  • Secure Share is a web-based application for secure file exchange available to Penn faculty, staff, and students.
  • Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud-based collaboration service for securely managing and sharing files and folders.

Copyright Info

  • Students: To facilitate access for all class members, these sessions, including your participation, are being recorded and the recordings will be made available to the class, for the duration of the semester. These recordings are made available solely for your personal, educational use and may not be shared, copied or redistributed without the permission of Penn and the instructor. Note also that you are NOT allowed to record class sessions yourselves. 
  • Faculty: Students are reminded that recordings you have made may not be shared, copied or redistributed without the permission of Penn and the instructor. Additionally, students are reminded that they may not make their own recording of class sessions. Be aware, though, that unauthorized sharing of electronic communication can never be completely prevented.