Remote Learning

Below is a checklist to help students think through the process of preparing to complete course work remotely. Everyone will have a different situation so these steps are suggested ideas to consider. The Office of Information Technology’s Help Desk is also available for assistance.

Step 1: Assess your equipment and access

Does your computer meet minimum standards? Is your computer running a current operating system? Updated with the latest security patches?

Check the recommended list of minimum computer requirements. Protect your computer by keeping it up-to-date. If you are considering buying a new computer, Apple and Dell offer educational discounts to Rice students.

Is your internet connection stable and fast enough to support your needs?

Each student will need to evaluate the internet service in their area for effectiveness and make this determination as spring courses resume.

What are your plans for protecting your computer and files?

If you are working in a new environment, take a minute to consider ways to protect your computer physically from theft or accidental damage. Be sure to back up your files or store them in the cloud. Use strong, unique passwords. Keep your guard up against email scams designed to obtain your account information, especially during this crisis. If you are unsure of the validity of a message, contact the OIT Help Desk (see below) before you respond.

Step 2:  Set up secure connections

Do you have Duo and VPN working?

Duo Security is a two-factor authentication service that provides additional security for access to university and personal data and accounts. Duo will be required when using VPN (virtual private network) to access university resources, such as Esther. Ensure your Duo-registered device is accessible from home.

Duo (authentication)

for accessing some Rice resources (e.g. Esther  for registration) 

VPN (virtual private network)

for connecting to Rice network securely

Step 3: Prepare course and productivity tools

Do you have access to the tools you need for your courses?

Your instructors will communicate with you the resources you will need for course participation and work.

Many tools and resources that you use to manage daily tasks are accessible remotely as long as you have a stable internet connection. Ensure that important documents are stored in the cloud so they can be accessed from anywhere. This will also enable you to collaborate on documents and projects with your classmates.

As appropriate, make sure you can access these tools:

Canvas  (course management system)

Click the Help icon within Canvas for 24x7 support 

Zoom (collaboration and online meeting tool)

Box (cloud file storage and collaboration)

Software (needs will vary in each course 

Rice has licensed (or is in the process of adding student access) to a variety of software packages for students, including: Microsoft Office 365, Mathematica, Matlab, Adobe Creative Cloud, SPSS, and more.

Step 4: Plan for remote communication and engagement

Are you receiving Rice emails and communications from Canvas?

Keep up with your Rice email for important announcements. Check that all of your professors have contacted you and follow their instructions for course communication.

Are you setting up a virtual study group?

Study groups should consider different remote tools to stay in contact:

Zoom Videoconferencing (video communication)

Google Hangouts Meet (video communication)

Google Support for Meet

Google Hangouts Chat (instant messaging tool)

Google Support for Chat

Step 5: Prepare a support system

What will you do when you have problems or questions?

Depending on the issue, you might need to reach out to your instructor or a classmate. A remote study group might help you feel more connected as well as be a resource for solving initial problems. For technical questions, the Office of Information Technology’s Help Desk is available for assistance.

OIT Help Desk Resources

The Office of Information Technology’s Help Desk is available for assistance.

Phone: 713-348-HELP (4357)


Online form:

KnowledgeBase (KB): searchable resource of instructions

IT Status:  notices about system maintenance and issues 

What Would You Like To Do?

Obtain More Information on Learning Remotely

Rice University Technology Guide to Remote Learning

Connect to Secure Rice Resources

Duo (Two-factor Authentication)
VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Access Software and Applications

Software Available for Students

Communicate with Others

Check Email with Google
Connect with Zoom Video Conferencing See also: Zoom Updates
Google Hangouts Meet Video Conferencing
Best Practices for Video Conferencing

Store Files and Collaborate

Google Drive or Google Team Drive
OneDrive (part of Office365)

Electronically Submitting Handwritten Files

Combining .pdfs into one file and creating .pdfs with your phone

Maintain a Secure Environment

Appropriate Use of Information Technology
Protection of University Data and Information
Guidelines for the Use of Information Technology

Other Resources