Weitzman IT Services has prepared a list of software, web applications, and more that you'll need to determine whether or not you're ready to work from home, remotely, on your own computer or mobile device. We call this "Remote-ifying" your computer. You can also view our quicklist of tools for remote teaching and communication here.
Do you have a computer that can be used for working remotely? This can be a University-provided laptop or desktop. There are some initial checks that you should do yourself before scheduling a time with Weitzman IT Services to "Remote-ify" your laptop for working remotely.
- How old is your computer? Is it still under warranty?
- Is your computer up to date? Make sure it's running the most recent operating system (Windows 10 or Mac OS X High Sierra or newer) and has all the latest OS patches. (NOTE: Mac OS X 10.15 (Catalina) cannot access SRS or BEN Financials, but may work with other systems)
- Do you have anti-virus and anti-malware installed on your computer? You need both Symantec (antivirus) and Malwarebytes (anti-malware) installed and running. If you don't have anti-virus installed you can get a free copy here via ISC. You can get Malwarebytes free via their website. (NOTE: Computers testing positive for viruses or malware must be completely cleaned before configuration for remote work)
Remote Internet Check
After you've checked your computer to ensure you're ready to work remotely, you have to check the environment where you'll be working remotely. This includes your local internet, your internet hardware, and your internet speeds. 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 to your professor remotely, 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.
- 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.
There are several things you'll have to check before you're ready to work remotely - ranging from guaranteeing access to PennKey-protected web applications, getting access to Weitzman School network resources, and more.
- Two-Step authentication is needed for many Penn applications and web apps. Do you have Two-Step authentication properly enabled? Make sure you have enrolled in Two-Step and that you can approve a Two-Step prompt from your mobile phone, via the Duo App or the other recommended options. Read more here.
Hosting Remote Meetings or Classes
- Will you be needing to host remote meetings or classes? Make sure you're familiar with the different video conferencing options, and how they record and host your meetings or classes. Read more here.
Connecting to Weitzman School File Shares Remotely
- Do you need access to Weitzman School network resources like JUNO or JOVE? Make sure you have our VPN client, FortiClient, installed and properly configured so you can access our network resources. Read more here.
Software for Remote Work
Weitzman IT Services offer a number of software packages in our computer labs and our classes use quite a lot of it. While Penn nor the Weitzman School can offer personal licenses for everything to be used remotely at home, we've compiled a list of software that you should definitely consider for working remotely.
- Your PennO365 account entitles you to download a copy of Microsoft Office while you are a student at Weitzman School, as well as 1 TB of data storage on OneDrive for Business, Microsoft’s cloud data storage and collaboration solution. Click here for more information regarding PennO365.
- 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.
- Penn+Box is a collaboration between UPenn and Box.com, which provides cloud storage and sharing capabilities. Each full time student is given unlimited storage to use and share. Aside from collaborative work, and easily accessible storage, this is a great tool for backing up important files. Click here for more information for PennBox.
- Autodesk products like AutoCAD are free to University of Pennsylvania students. To obtain a license, you must setup a new Autodesk account over on their website.
- Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and so on are not provided by the University of Pennsylvania. Discounted educational licenses are available over on their website.
- Rhinoceros is a 3-D free-form modeler you can use to create anything from a heart valve to a ship hull and from a mouse to a monster. Discounted educational licenses are available via the UPenn Computer Connection.
- ArcGIS is a geographic information system (GIS) for working with maps and geographic information. It is used for creating and using maps, compiling geographic data, analyzing mapped information, sharing and discovering geographic information, using maps and geographic information in a range of applications, and managing geographic information in a database. We offer free student licenses - please contact us for a student license.
Other Tools or Services
Penn and the Weitzman School offer a number of services and software aside from the core group of services and software included in our labs, and to each user. These are more specialized services or software that are typically used only for specific cases, or may only be granted access on a case by case basis.
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com)
- LinkedIn Learning is an online training library that provides access to tutorials covering a wide selection of topics from beginner to advanced instruction. They offer tutorials on many of the software applications that you are expected to master during your time at Weitzman School. We hope you will use LinkedIn Learning often. The best part about online tutorials is you can start and finish at your pace, go back and review as often as you need, and do all of this from the comfort of your couch or favorite coffee shop. Below is just a short list of the various tutorials to help you improve and enhance your skills. Click here for more information regarding LinkedIn Learning access.
- Qualtrics is an online service for creating and distributing surveys. Weitzman School has a site license for Qualtrics, meaning all Design faculty, students and staff are eligible to use Qualtrics. You can access the UPenn Qualtrics portal via this link. Please bear in mind you'll need to log in with your PennKey username and password. You can also share ownership of surveys you've created if another user has logged into Qualtrics - read more about sharing your surveys here.
Student Record System (SRS) - STAFF ONLY
- The Student Record System, known as SRS, is the data mainframe used by faculty and staff to manage academic records and courses. This system is accessed with the Host Explorer software, which faculty and staff must get installed with assistance from IT Services. Host Explorer is only supported for Windows 10 devices, and is not supported with Mac OSX.
Business Enterprise Network (BEN) Financials - STAFF ONLY
- BEN is your gateway to Penn's web-based financial systems and related information and services. Access to the systems is limited to authorized University staff and faculty. BEN is a legacy system that only functions currently in Internet Explorer as it requires Java (Safari, Firefox, and Chrome have removed support for Java).