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​​​​​​Working Remotely — Tips and Resources

ISS Support icon-olus-circle

To Get IT Support While Working Remotely:

  • Create a ticket by sending an email to or Call ISS at 814-865-INFO (4636)
  • You will be connected with a support specialist when your ticket is assigned. 

Employees are responsible for their own telephone service and internet access. ISS troubleshooting is limited to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and issues with a PSU owned computer and peripherals. ISS does not assist with any home internet provider issues or home WiFi. Issues determined to be on the remote worker side are the remote worker's responsibility to resolve.

ISS does not provide in-person support for any home users. PSU owned computers that are deemed non-functional will need to be dropped off or shipped to ISS in 16 BBH Building for servicing. Please submit a ticket describing your situation ( 

ISS doesn't assist with troubleshooting any issues with personal computers.

FAQS icon-olus-circle
Please explain the meanings and functions of “Remote Desktop” and “Virtual Private Network”.  How are they used?

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) are two distinct technologies that support access to a computer from a geographically separate location. 

RDP is an application that enables remote access to a computer for an authorized user.  When remote desktop is used to connect a user to their office computer from an off-campus location, they are able view, access, and interact with the office computer as if they were present in the office.  This mode of connection can be thought of as “remote control” of an office PC from the convenience of various off-site locations like home.

Remote Desktop is commonly used when employees need to work from home or another office and they need access to work products and software that are only available on the computers in their offices.  With an RDP connection, all of the office computers applications, files, and network resources are available from an off-site computer.

VPN is an application that connects a computer to the campus network with a secure, private path for data to move from locations off-campus to systems on-campus. The VPN connection encrypts data in transit which makes the data unreadable to personnel not authorized to view the data, such as hackers.  A VPN is a general connection to the campus network which requires valid access credentials.  

Use and functions

The VPN by itself allows an employee to access resources at the University such as SIMBA, Webapps, CCURE, etc. that are not accessible outside the Universities network.  RDP connections require that a VPN connection is established first.

A VPN in tandem with RDP provides a secure, private communication channel which provides the capability for someone to work on their office computer from off-site, while protecting the data flowing back and forth.

What is the easiest way for me to access the files I worked on in the office from my home PC/Loaner?

Storing your files in OneDrive and SharePoint is the best way to access files from anywhere. They are also versioned and backed up.

How do I connect to my/our PASS drive from my home PC/Loaner?
  1. Connect to VPN
  2. Go to This PC and click on map network drive or right click on This PC and select map network drive
  3. Select any drive letter
  4. In the folder location type: \\\pass\depts\"insert name of space"
  5. Check both boxes for reconnect at logon and connect using different credentials
  6. Click Finish
  7. When prompted for username and password enter your username as follows - and then your access account password.
  8. You should now see your new project space as a drive in This PC as a network drive and it should show up there from now on
How do I know what my office PC IP address is when performing a Wake-Up process?

Please enter a request with the Help Desk for assistance.

How Do I Obtain The Virtual Private Network (VPN) Application?

The VPN application (currently called Global Protect) is included in the standard software package on each institutionally owned computer. You may download it here for a personal machine.

How Do I Use VPN?

Windows: Click on the Windows icon on the left of the taskbar, type “VPN” and press “Enter”.

Mac: Use the Spotlight function to search for “VPN”.

The Global Protect VPN App should appear.  Click the “Connect” button and enter valid access credentials to establish the VPN connection.

How Do I Obtain The Remote Desktop (RD) Application?

Windows: The Remote Desktop application is included on all HHD windows machines.

Mac: On a Mac this application is called Microsoft Remote Desktop and it is not included by default.  You can download it HERE.

How Do I Use Remote Desktop?

Windows: Click on the Windows icon on the left of the taskbar, type “Remote Desktop” and press “Enter”.

Mac: Use the Spotlight function (magnifying glass in top right) to search for “Microsoft Remote Desktop”. Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection should appear.  After launching RD, launch the app and select the ‘+’ button at the top of the RD window. Select ‘Add PC’ from the dropdown menu and enter the IP address of your office computer into the PC name field (if you don’t know what this is please contact ISS at 865-INFO). Enter your PSU credentials under the ‘User Account’ dropdown.  Select ‘add’ when you are done.  You can now double click on the new connection that you just added to remote into your office machine.

The search for “Microsoft Remote Desktop” was unsuccessful.  Can I install RDP on my HHD device?

RD for Mac is obtained through the Mac app store by going HERE, however, installation on a University device requires assistance.  Please contact ISS at 865-INFO or for installation assistance.

Can I install RDP on my personal Windows or Mac device?

Windows includes remote desktop by default, except for Home Editions.  If your search for Remote Desktop from the start menu doesn’t yield any results you can download it HERE. RDP for Mac is obtained through the Mac app store by going HERE

Office365 icon-olus-circle
  • Office365 is available for all PSU faculty, staff, and students. You may also install it on a personal device for work use. Look for the "Install Office" button after logging into

    • Outlook 

    • Calendar 

    • OneDrive 

    • Teams 

    • SharePoint  

    • Word 

    • Excel 

    • Other Apps 

Considerations icon-olus-circle
  • Do you have a work computer to take home? 

  • Do you need to use a personal device for University work? 

  • Do you need a headset to take calls from your phone or have online meetings via Zoom or Teams? 

  • Do you have/need an extra monitor?

  • Did you relocate your shared documents for easy access and collaboration (Sharepoint, Box, Teams)? 

  • Did you copy your browser Bookmarks and Favorites? 

  • Did you test everything you need to successfully perform essential work before you need it!?

Environment Expectations: Security While Remote, Personal PC Use icon-olus-circle
  • Lock the computer when stepping away. 

  • Personal Device Use: 

    • Must have full antivirus\anti-malware software running, with up to date definitions and real-time scanning.  

    • Check to make sure only legitimate devices are registered. 

    • Run Microsoft Windows or macOS updates regularly. Only currently supported operating systems are permitted. 

    • Use the most recent versions of web browsers.  

    • Clear browser history. 

    • Use a work-specific logon on the laptop - separate from other family members or personal use.  

Authentication and Access: 2FA, VPN icon-olus-circle
  • Enroll in 2FA with a device other than your work phone or DUO Token. Users should have more than 1 device enrolled. Enroll in 2FA If you have a DUO Token, keep it with you to authenticate to University systems.  

  • Install Global Protect VPN client in order to connect to Penn State network. 

University Systems: Zoom, IBIS, Worklion, PASS, Qualtrics, eBuy etc icon-olus-circle
  • PAWS, the Penn State Administrative Web Suite will allow a user to access applications from the web such as IBIS (Integrated Business Information System), Workflow, eDDS. 

  • Please review the following before entering PAWS: 

    • Connecting to PAWS from a non-Penn State network requires use of the Global Connect VPN Application

    • Javascript and pop-ups must be enabled in your browser to use PAWS. 

    • PAWS is unavailable during the 5AM-7AM maintenance window, eastern standard time. 

      • Examples: 

        • Menu – Financial and Business Services 

        • Menu – Reporting - eDDS 

        • Menu - Workflow 

  • FIT (Financial Information Tool) 

  • iTwo (Penn State Institutional Insight) 

  • eBuy  

Work Phone Options icon-olus-circle
Remotely Connecting To Your Office PC (via VPN) icon-olus-circle

 Download and install the Global Protect VPN program for personal machines (it is installed on all HHD machines).

Downloads and instructions for manual installation (Personal Machine)   


1.  Have your computer IP address from your office machine ready (if you don't know it, please contact the Helpdesk at 865-4636)

2.  Wakeup your remote computer. You can do this by logging into the wakeup site: After logging in with your PSU Access account credentials you should see your computer listed. If more than one is listed, check the box beside all the machines and select Wake-up Selected Computers

3.  Open the Global Protect Client - Click connect. PSU Access credentials are required. 

4.  Open the program Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection and enter the IP address of the computer that you wish to remote into. The IP is the same as that listed in Step 1 above. You will need to download remote desktop for mac from the app store if using a Mac (

5.  When the login screen appears enter your username in the format:, and then provide your PSU Access password. 

6.  If you wish to use all your monitors in the remote session: If using Windows click on the display tab in the RDP window and check the box next to Use all my monitors for the remote sessionOn a Mac, edit the connection after adding and check the box next to Use all monitors.


Best Practices For Preserving Bandwidth While Working Remotely icon-olus-circle
  • Turn off video unless necessary
  • If you can use a wired connection, opt for that – it will be more reliable.
    • If not, be as close to the wireless router as possible.
  • If possible, ask others who share your Internet service to limit their bandwidth consumption during your class session.
  • If you are using your computer or tablet to connect to class and your phone is sitting idle, turn the wireless off on your phone. You are likely consuming critical bandwidth without knowing it.
  • Your local provider (e.g. Comcast/Xfinity) may have advanced tools for managing devices connecting to your home network; please see their customer support pages for more information. In today’s connected environment, many “smart” appliances and devices consume bandwidth without us giving it much thought. Disconnecting these devices for a short period may improve your class experience.

Other tips:

  • Mute your microphone when not speaking. In Zoom, you can enable unmuting of your mic by pressing the Space Bar on the keyboard. When you release the Space Bar, the mic will go back into mute. This is a very convenient way to instantly control your microphone's mute status.
  • Turn off sound notifications on your computer. It can be very distracting to hear email notifications while you are speaking.
  • There is a setting in Zoom to prevent a tone from occurring every time someone joins the meeting room. If this is not enabled, it will distract the audience as people arrive late.


Remote Teaching Tools: Zoom, TLT/ITLD icon-olus-circle

For information on accessing remote teaching tools, such as Zoom and Kaltura, please visit

Their quick start guide will have your online teaching environment up and running in no time. The central helpdesk will be available 24/7 to provide assistance for Penn State students, faculty, and staff if any questions or issues arise.

We highly recommend participating in Remote Teaching Training to help inform you on how to use these systems for your online classes.

Other recommended links:

Training: Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, OneNote icon-olus-circle

Technology Workshops

Now that many users are comfortable with the basics, we are offering some more advanced courses on Zoom, Canvas and Kaltura to help you make the most of your experience in using these tools. Become a master of Zoom meetings, try our newest Canvas offering, or learn how to incorporate video into your teaching.

If you cannot attend one of our sessions live, don’t fret – we offer recordings! Simply send us a message after the session is over in order to receive a link.

Click any of the session titles below to learn more about the course.

Enabling Continuity of Instruction

Canvas, Kaltura and Zoom: Enabling Continuity of Instruction




Zoom: An Introduction

Zoom: Strategies for Effective Online Teaching

Zoom: Promoting Online Collaboration with Breakout Rooms




Canvas: Creating Effective Quizzes

Canvas Brown Bag: Gradebook Features


Kaltura: Teaching with Kaltura in Canvas


Kaltura: Video Quizzes

Can’t find the training you need? You can easily find training by audience, topic, technology, or training type on the ITLD website. For a complete list of upcoming Canvas training and resources, including those for self-paced learning, visit the Canvas at Penn State Learning Center.

Continuity of Instruction Resources from TLT

In addition to the training being delivered by IT Learning and Development, our parent organization Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) continues to hold virtual office hours for faculty and has on-demand resources that make it easier to begin teaching remotely.

Virtual Office Hours

Continuity of Instruction Resources (KB Article)

Remote Teaching & Remote Learning (Official)