Preparing for Remote Working

Rice University Resources


Below is a checklist of general tools and resources available to support staff working remotely. Follow the steps below to get started. The Office of Information Technology’s Help Desk is also available for assistance.

Step 1: Assess your equipment and access

It is necessary to ensure that your computer, whether Rice-issued or personal, meets minimum criteria for software compatibility and security protections.

Tablets and cell phones are useful supplementary equipment, but these are not adequate standalone equipment for working remotely. Staff are encouraged to follow their departmental procedures on taking Rice-issued equipment off campus.

It is also important to ensure that you have an internet connection that is stable and fast enough to support video meetings, email, chat, file editing from Box/Drive and other day-to-day operations.

If you are having trouble maintaining a stable internet connect, try reducing the burden on your network by minimizing the number of devices connected to it, turning off video during conference calls, etc.

Review OIT’s Advice on Equipment for more information.

Step 2:  Set up secure connections

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 to access university resources, such as Edgar. In preparing, you should ensure your Duo-registered device is accessible from home.

If you are working in a new environment, take a minute to consider ways to protect your computer physically from theft or accidental damage. Additionally, your computer should be locked when not in use.

If you work with sensitive information, remember to store all digital and physical documents securely. Be sure to back up your files or store them in Box or Rice Google Drive.

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. More information on ways you can protect your computer are posted in the Guidelines for the Use of Information Technology.

Step 3: Prepare course and productivity tools

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 whether you are on or off campus. This will also enable you to collaborate on documents and projects with colleagues who are also remote.

  • Webmail
  • Google Mail
  • Box
  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Office 365

View a list of all software available to staff.

Step 4: Plan for remote communication and engagement

Ensure that your colleagues know how to contact you. There are several options for managing incoming calls to your office phone.

There are tools which allow incoming office phone calls to ring on multiple phones during scheduled timeframes. Phone calls may also be forwarded to another phone or to voicemail.

You should also review your calendar and add call-in options, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet Video Conferencing.

Step 5: Prepare a support system

Remain in contact with your supervisor and colleagues as you work remotely. Stay current on the university’s operating status and communications. 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.

Walk-in: in person services are  suspended

KnowledgeBase (KB): searchable resource of instructions

IT Status:  notices about system maintenance and issues 

What Would You Like To Do?

Obtain More Information on Working Remotely

Rice University Technology Guide to Working Remotely

Connect to Secure Rice Resources

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

Access Software and Applications

Software Available for Faculty and Staff

Communicate with Others

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)
Mount University Network (U:) Drive

Maintain a Secure Environment

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

Center for Research Computing Resources

Remote Access to CRC Services and Resources

Other Resources

Remote Teaching Resources

Remote Learning Resources

Help Desk

The OIT Help Desk is the centralized contact for information technology support services. All in-person services are by appointment only.

713-348-HELP (4357)

Help Request Form

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

(except holidays)

Classroom Assistance

If you experience technical difficulties while teaching in an Office of the Registrar (OTR) scheduled room, please call: 713-348-4989.

In-person technical support is available:
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(except holidays)

Canvas Support

Canvas technical support is offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via hotline or chat. LOGIN TO CANVAS and select Help button in the Global Navigation bar.

Also see: Learning Environments FAQ

News and Announcements

Service updates and notices are posted on the main page of the OIT KnowledgeBase, which you can also search for information about how to use tools and services.

Status Updates

IT Status (link also in upper right on this page) has notices about unexpected issues and scheduled maintenance.