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IT Continuity

Both for routine and extraordinary events, it is helpful to be prepared to use technology tools that can help you stay connected with workplace operations and courses from a remote location.

This guide offers useful resources for telecommuting and working remotely that are available to AAMU students, faculty and staff, as well as planning guidance for departments and groups. We recommend that you stay in touch with your department IT support staff and your department leadership for guidance on best practices and resources for working remotely.

Working remotely as a student or employee

  • Getting help from AAMU ITS

    Submit a ticket

    If you are having any issues working with AAMU technology make sure to submit an ITS Support Ticket.

    Blackboard Support

    For Blackboard support please email Connie Mack at connie.mack@aamu.edu

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  • Get Prepared! Tools and Technology You'll Need:
    • Make sure you know your passwords!
    • Make sure you have your 2-Factor Authentication device(s) with you. If you have a work-issued phone registered as your 2-Factor device, consider adding another option.
    • Ensure your devices are secure:
      • Install all patches and software updates
      • Review tips for protecting your computer
      • Be ready to back up your data
    • Gather the supplies you need to effectively do your job and communicate with others. These may include:
      • Microphones & speakers for conference calls (if your computer does not have them built-in)
      • Power adapters
      • Keyboard & mouse (if you'll be woking from a laptop)
      • Physical files and records
    • Consider the files and applications you'll need to use, and test them before beginning remote work. These may include:
    • Make sure you are signed up for Bulldog Alerts
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  • Collaboration Tools, Email, and Productivity Platforms
  • Ellucian Banner
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  • Connecting to AAMU Applications and Services
    Connecting from home

    For most types of work—email, cloud apps, collaboration platforms—you should be able to connect through your regular home internet service, and can use your home computer (if it can connect to the internet) or a AAMU issued laptop or tablet. Just navigate to the AAMU SSO and sign in with your AAMU Username and passphrase. Be ready to use 2-factor authentication to complete the login process.

    Most AAMU applications and service platforms such as email, G Suite, Office 365, Blackboard, Zoom, Self-Service Banner, etc. do not need to connect through a VPN (virtual private network).

    If you don't have broadband internet at home
    If you don't have internet at home, or if your connection speed is too slow to allow you to work the same way you would if you were at AAMU, be sure to let your supervisor and co-workers know, and come up with a plan for how to keep collaboration flowing. You could connect periodically to send and receive email and files, share files through a removable 'thumb' drive, or use a cellular hotspot.

    Connecting through a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
    For some types of work, like if you are working in an application or service that can only be accessed through a AAMU IP address, you might need to use the VPN, or Virtual Private Network. The VPN allows a user to appear as if they are logging in from within AAMU's Network. If you require a VPN, it's a good idea to test the connection prior to starting remote work if possible.

    Only those departments that require VPN access will be provided VPN access.

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  • Phone and Voicemail

    Forward your calls to your cell or home number using Call Forwarding. You can access voicemail from home.

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  • Video Conferencing, Voice Conferencing, and Chat
    Web-based video conferencing and online chat platforms are available for you to connect with your students and colleagues.

    AAMU Zoom Pro videoconferencing

    • Online classes, webinars, lectures. Host live web broadcasts to students or colleagues worldwide and record to the cloud or computer. AAMU Zoom Pro provides meetings of unlimited time duration for up to 300 participants.
    • Office hours, study groups, meetings, collaboration: Share screens, give Powerpoint presentations or have real-time video conversations for office hours, study groups or collaboration.
    • Mobile Zoom: Use the Zoom app for iPhone, iPad, or Android for chat and video conference on the go.
    • Phone conference line: Use the phone conference line — included with your Zoom account — so participants can join meetings by phone.
    • FERPA/HIPAA: AAMU Zoom is aligned with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal law that protects the privacy of medical information.
    • Learn how to use it: Instructions on how to use AAMU Zoom are available and Zoom provides additional documentation.

    Online chat

    • Microsoft Teams: Part of AAMU Office 365, Teams offers chat-based workspace for real-time collaboration, communication, meetings, file and app sharing; FERPA and HIPAA aligned.
    • Google Hangouts: Part of AAMU G Suite, Hangouts allows video chat for up to 25 people. FERPA-aligned.
    • Groupme: It's like a private chat room for your small group. Have as many as you want, and it's always free. Now, you can coordinate with coworkers, organize a game night, and keep in touch with family all in the same place. 

    Manage screen sharing

    The first rule of Zoom Club: Don’t give up control of your screen. 

    You do not want random people in your public event to take control of the screen and sharing unwanted content with the group. You can restrict this — before the meeting and during the meeting in the host control bar — so that you’re the only one who can screen-share.

    To prevent participants from screen sharing during a call, using the host controls at the bottom, click the arrow next to Share Screen and then Advanced Sharing Options.

    Zoom Setting 1

    Under “Who can share?” choose “Only Host” and close the window. You can also lock the Screen Share by default for all your meetings in your web settings.

     Zoom Setting 2

    Manage your participants

    Some of the other great features to help secure your Zoom event and host with confidence:

    • Allow only signed-in users to join:If someone tries to join your event and isn’t logged into Zoom with the email they were invited through, they will receive this message:

    Zoom Settings 3

    This is useful if you want to control your guest list and invite only those you want at your event — other students at your school or colleagues, for example.

    • Lock the meeting:It’s always smart to lock your front door, even when you’re inside the house. When you lock a Zoom Meeting that’s already started, no new participants can join, even if they have the meeting ID and password (if you have required one). In the meeting, click Participants at the bottom of your Zoom window. In the Participants pop-up, click the button that says Lock Meeting.
    • Set up your own two-factor authentication:You don’t have to share the actual meeting link! Generate a random Meeting ID when scheduling your event and require a password to join. Then you can share that Meeting ID on Twitter but only send the password to join via DM.
    • Remove unwanted or disruptive participants:From that Participants menu, you can mouse over a participant’s name, and several options will appear, including Remove. Click that to kick someone out of the meeting.
    • Allow removed participants to rejoin:When you do remove someone, they can’t rejoin the meeting. But you can toggle your settings to allow removed participants to rejoin, in case you boot the wrong person.
    • Put ‘em on hold:You can put everyone else on hold, and the attendees’ video and audio connections will be disabled momentarily. Click on someone’s video thumbnail and select Start Attendee On Hold to activate this feature. Click Take Off Hold in the Participants list when you’re ready to have them back.
    • Disable video:Hosts can turn someone’s video off. This will allow hosts to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate gestures on video or for that time your friend’s inside pocket is the star of the show.
    • Mute participants:Hosts can mute/unmute individual participants or all of them at once. Hosts can block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise from other participants. You can also enable Mute Upon Entry in your settings to keep the clamor at bay in large meetings.
    • Turn off file transfer:In-meeting file transfer allows people to share files through the in-meeting chat. Toggle this off to keep the chat from getting bombarded with unsolicited pics, GIFs, memes, and other content.
    • Turn off annotation:You and your attendees can doodle and mark up content together using annotations during screen share. You can disable the annotation feature in your Zoom settings to prevent people from writing all over the screens.
    • Disable private chat:Zoom has in-meeting chat for everyone or participants can message each other privately. Restrict participants’ ability to chat amongst one another while your event is going on and cut back on distractions. This is really to prevent anyone from getting unwanted messages during the meeting.

    Try the Waiting Room 

    One of the best ways to use Zoom for public events is to enable the Waiting Room feature. Just like it sounds, the Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you’re ready for them. It’s almost like the velvet rope outside a nightclub, with you as the bouncer carefully monitoring who gets let in.

    Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control, and you can even personalize the message people see when they hit the Waiting Room so they know they’re in the right spot. This message is really a great spot to post any rules/guidelines for your event, like who it’s intended for.

    Zoom Settings 4

    The Waiting Room is really a great way to screen who’s trying to enter your event and keep unwanted guests out.

    Updates as of April 7, 2020

    Security Toolbar Icon for Hosts

    • The meeting host will now have a Security option in their meeting controls, which exposes all of Zoom’s existing in-meeting security controls one place. This includes locking the meeting, enabling Waiting Room, and more. Users can also now enable Waiting Room in a meeting, even if the feature was not turned on before the start of the meeting. For more information, please visit this recently published Blog.

    Invite Button on Meeting Client Toolbar

    • The button to invite others to join your Zoom meeting is now available at the bottom of the Participants panel

    Meeting ID No Longer Displayed

    • The meeting ID will no longer be displayed in the title bar of the Zoom meeting window. The meeting ID can be found by clicking on Participants, then Invite or by clicking on the info icon at the top left of the client window.

    Remove Attendee Attention Tracking Feature

    • Zoom has removed the attendee attention tracker feature as part of our commitment to the security and privacy of our customers. For more background on this change and how we are pivoting during these unprecedented times, please see a note from our CEO, Eric S. Yuan 

    Removal of the Facebook SDK in our iOS client 

    • We have reconfigured the feature so that users will still be able to log in with Facebook via their browser

    File Transfers

    • The option to do third-party file transfers in Meeting and Chat was temporarily disabled. Local file transfer is available with our latest release. Third-party file transfers and clickable URLs in meeting chat will be added back in an upcoming release

    New Join Flow for the Web client

    • By default, users will now need to sign in to their Zoom account or create a Zoom account when joining a meeting with the Web client. This can be disabled by the Admin or the User from their settings page

    Join Before Host Emails Disabled

    • Notifications sent to the host via email when participants are waiting for the host to join the meeting have been disabled.

    Setting to Allow Participants to Rename Themselves

    • Account admins and hosts can now disable the ability for participants to rename themselves in any meeting. This setting is available at the account, group, and user level in the Web portal.

    Language for Directory and Company Directory (please note, this does not impact your account)

    • Domain contacts: For free Basic and single licensed Pro accounts with unmanaged domains, contacts in the same domain will no longer be visible. We’ve also removed the option to auto-populate your Contacts list with users from the same domain. If you would like to keep those contacts, you can add them as External Contacts.

    Change in visibility of contacts with same domain (please note, this does not impact your account)

    • For Basic and single licensed Pro accounts with unmanaged domains, contacts in the same domain will no longer be visible under ‘Company Directory’ in the ‘Contacts’ tab. Consequently, for the single Pro accounts with unmanaged domains, we’ve removed the option in the admin experience to populate Company Directory with users from the same domain. If these affected users would like to keep contacts with the same domain, they can add them as External contacts. This change will not impact paid accounts with multiple licenses and all accounts with managed domains.

    Please be sure to update to our latest release to take advantage of these new features.

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  • Continuity of Instruction
  • Compute Safely

    When working remotely, it is especially important to remain vigilant about data security. Make sure you are on the appropriate connection for each task; for example, use a VPN or other equally secure connection when handling sensitive or restricted data. Additionally, be aware of increased risk for phishing attempts. Check with your department IT support staff to make sure you are equipped to work safely while off campus.

    View the Cyber Security website for more information

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  • Online Learning

Connectivity for users who don't have it

  • FCC agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots.
  • Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time
  • Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months
  • AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families
  • Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
  • Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge (I expect others will follow).
  • T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge (I expect others will follow).
  • Altice/Suddenlink response (for some rural folks): offers 30 MB internet to any new subscriber free for 60 days. No late fees or terminations for existing customers

Planning for remote work within your department

To stay effective during events that necessitate telework, it’s important to make preparations, ideally before the disruption occurs. Within your department or group, you should:

  • Discuss how your group(s) will handle business disruptions
  • Develop and document a communication plan that covers how your department or group will:
    • Provide important updates and information
    • Communicate during emergencies
    • Conduct routine collaboration on projects
  • In your communication plan, clarify which tools and platforms will be used for routing information. These could include:
    • Your departmental intranet or collaboration site
    • Email and Google groups
    • Videoconferencing for virtual meetings
    • Telephone features such as call forwarding, or software that lets you answer your office phone at home.
  • Assign responsibilities, and assemble a list that includes names and contact information (including personal phone numbers) for the people who are carrying out the plan
  • Share documentation of your plan within your group in a location where all members can easily access
  • Review your plan at least annually, updating contact lists and tools as appropriate
  • Make sure your group members are signed up for Bulldog Alerts

Keep in mind that during a major disaster, some online services may not be available until they are recovered or restored.

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