Teaching & Research

Online Tools for Working Remotely

While working remotely, USF faculty and staff may be seeking resources to deliver online instruction and to help meet virtually, check voicemail, access desktop PC’s remotely, and access the university’s VPN.

Please review the frequently asked questions below for more information.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

PLEASE NOTE: When using the USF VPN, all web traffic is routed through the campus network. Do not conduct any personal business online while the VPN is active.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a way for your computer to connect securely to another network over the Internet.

Once connected to the USF VPN, your computer will act as if it is physically connected to the campus network. This allows access to restricted intranet resources, such as SharePoint.

How do I connect to the USF VPN?

Visit the USF Information Technology VPN page and follow the link for Windows or Mac to view instructions. The steps will guide you through the process of downloading, installing and using the VPN software.

Please discontinue use of the Junos Pulse client, if it is already installed on your machine. On March 15, USF transitioned to a new VPN client.

Why are websites loading slowly?

At times, you may notice more sluggish network performance when using the USF VPN. This is due to the network traffic being routed through the campus network to you, rather than directly to you. Only use the VPN if needed.

Do I need to use the USF VPN to access Box?

No, Box is a cloud-based server solution that is external to the USF campus. In most cases, Box will work faster when not using the VPN, since the traffic is not being routed though the USF network.

PLEASE NOTE: When using the USF VPN, all web traffic is routed through the campus network. Do not conduct any personal business online while the VPN is active.

Accessing Your Desktop Computer Remotely

How do I access my desktop computer from my home computer?

Before you can connect, you will need to know your work PC name. Please review these instructions for locating your computer name. (NOTE: This will need to be done in person at the computer)

Once you know your PC name, click the appropriate link below for Remote Desktop Gateway (RDG) setup instructions.

Do I need to turn on the VPN to use the Remote Desktop Gateway (RDG)?

You do not need to turn on the VPN to use the RDG.

I’m having trouble. How can I receive support?

Please email help@usf.edu from your USF email account to request assistance.

Microsoft Teams

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a platform provided with Office 365 for colleagues to chat, meet, call and collaborate from anywhere using via the desktop or mobile app.

How do I get the software?

This is likely already installed on your work desktop/laptop. If you are using a computer that does not have Teams (or other Office 365 applications), please visit this webpage and look for Step 1 to download and install the software.

To download Teams for your mobile device, follow the applicable link below:

How do I create a Teams meeting?

Microsoft Outlook features Teams integration. If you have Teams installed, you can convert your meetings to Teams meetings easily.

  1. Create a new Outlook calendar item (or open a current calendar item).
  2. Double click the calendar item so you are viewing its window (if this did not happen automatically).
  3. If this is a new calendar item, please click the Invite button at the top of the window and add the individuals who should attend the meeting.
  4. You will see a Teams Meeting button appear when you click the Invite button (or this will already be displayed for your meeting if invitees have already been added). Click this button.
  5. The location field will automatically populate with the text “Microsoft Teams Meeting.”
  6. Click Send or Send Update in the top-left corner of the window.
    • For old meetings you are updating, remember to send the update to all attendees so they receive the updated comments with the information needed to join the meeting.
  7. Congratulations! You just created a Teams Meeting. If you double click the meeting in Outlook, you will see the meeting contact information in the comments. You can use your computer to click a link to access the meeting via teams.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are using your phone or mobile device to use Microsoft Teams and are not connected to WiFi, cellular data charges from your carrier may apply.

How do I join a Teams meeting?

On a Desktop Computer

The easiest way to join a Teams meeting is to click the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link in the comments of the meeting you wish to join. Note the options on the screen after Microsoft Teams opens automatically. You will see toggles for webcam and audio settings. Most office desktop computers do not have built-in microphones. If this is your situation, please use one of the following two methods to join a Teams meeting.

On a Mobile Device

Open the Teams app, select Calendar and scroll to the meeting you wish to join. You will see a Join button listed to the right of the meeting. Click the button and you will see toggles for webcam and audio settings.

Join via Phone

The Outlook calendar item provides a phone number in the comments section. Anyone who has been invited to the meeting can call this number. This is most helpful for those who are not USF employees.

How do I create a team so I can collaborate?

  1. On your computer, open the Teams application and click the Teams button on the left sidebar of the window.
  2. Click the Join or Create Team button in the top right corner of the window.
  3. You will then see a Create a Team button on the left side of the window. Click this button and follow the prompts to create a team.
  4. You can create multiple teams as needed. This is most helpful for everyone in a unit or office.
    • You can also use the mobile app to view your team’s space.
  5. Explore the workspace to see all you can do.

How can I chat?

  1. On your computer, open the Teams application and click the Chat button on the left sidebar of the window.
  2. You will now see a list of names on the left, featuring recent individuals you have chatted with along with suggested individuals.
  3. To start a new chat with a person click in the To: field and start typing their name until they appear. Click on their name to add them.
    • If you wish, you can add multiple people and then give the Group a name.

How can I learn more?

On your computer, select Help from the top menu bar. Then, select Microsoft Teams Help from the dropdown menu.

You will then see links which will provide detailed assistance with all Teams features.

Note: While Microsoft Teams is a great resource for meeting remotely, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is the recommended tool used for classroom meetings as it has more student-centered features like a drawing whiteboard, polls, breakout groups, and hand raising. A tutorial on how to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra can be accessed via Canvas.


How do I access my voicemail while away from campus?

Visit the USF IT Cisco Unity Connection Voicemail Information page and select the Telephone and Outlook Quick Reference Guide for your campus. This guide provides a number of options for accessing voicemail. It is recommended you use the Cisco Unity Connection Web Inbox when using a laptop or desktop computer (this will not work on mobile devices). Sign in with your NetID (do not include “@usf.edu”) and your NetID password.

The guide provides everything you need to know about checking voicemail. Explore all the options and select the best option for you. By checking your voicemail regularly, you can quickly respond to messages throughout the day.

Can I forward calls from my office phone to my mobile phone?

At this time, USF office phones are not able to forward calls to off-campus phones. Please check your voicemail regularly so you can follow up in a timely manner. Consider updating your voicemail message with your mobile phone number.

How do I forward calls from my office phone to another campus phone?

Visit the USF IT Phone Models, Guides, and Templates page. On this page, all USF phone models are listed. Clicking on the phone name (left of the colon) will display a photo of the phone. Clicking on User Guide will download or open the user guide for that phone model. Follow the instructions in the User Guide to set up call forwarding.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have trouble accessing voicemail or forwarding phone calls, please call the IT Service Desk at 813-974-1222.

USF Toolkit for Instructional Continuity

What is the USF Toolkit for Instructional Continuity?

Beginning, March 23, USF will move to fully remote instruction for the duration of the spring semester, which will continue through at least May 7.

To assist faculty in through this move, the university has created a USF Toolkit for Instructional Continuity to provide guidance, strategies, and resources needed to make a swift transition from face-to-face delivery. This Toolkit considers the simplest way to deliver digital content while meeting student learning outcomes and aligning with your current syllabus. This guide includes links to helpful resources on all campuses. 

The Academic Continuity site will be continually updated, so please be sure to revisit frequently. For current updates regarding the Universities response to coronavirus (COVID-19), please go to www.usf.edu/coronavirus.

Access the Faculty Toolkit

For questions or assistance, please email help@usf.edu from your USF email account or contact the IT Service Desk at 813-974-1222.