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Work Remotely

During this period of transition to online courses, when many of us are working remotely, FERPA compliance is still in effect. This is important when communicating to students or third parties via phone, email, or other online services, including recorded class sessions. You should always use email with the amount of caution appropriate to:

  • the level of sensitivity of the information being disclosed,
  • the likelihood of inadvertent disclosure to someone other than the intended recipient, and
  • the consequences of inadvertent disclosure to someone other than the intended recipient.

As a general rule, communications should contain the least amount of FERPA-protected information as possible. For example, the subject line of an email should not include FERPA-protected information. The email, voicemail message, or online session should not contain highly sensitive FERPA-protected details, such as a student’s social security number. In addition, files containing FERPA information should only be stored in UTK-approved FERPA solutions, such as UTK OneDrive and UTK Google Drive. For more information related to FERPA and privacy of student information, please go to

Setting Up Your Remote (Home) Office

Don’t lull yourself into a false sense of security while working remotely. Follow these recommendations to better secure your remote office and off-campus workspace.

If you are having trouble with your technology at home, check out this online guide for helpful tips and tricks.  Don’t forget to communicate with your instructor, team, and supervisor if you are having trouble.  They can’t help if they don’t know what’s going on!

Check Your Voicemail

When you are off-campus, you can check your voicemail by phone or online. OIT recommends updating your voicemail greeting with your current situation and forwarding your office phone to your voicemail. See the step-by-step instructions for managing your voicemail. If you don’t know your voicemail password, contact the OIT HelpDesk to have it reset.

Did you know that the voicemail system can email your voicemail messages? Contact us at to set up this feature.


You can check your email when you are away from campus. Check it with a web browser, with the Outlook client, or on your phone or mobile device. If you will be away from your email or checking it less frequently, don’t forget to update your Out of Office message.

Conference Calling and Online Meetings

Use Zoom for conference calling and online meetings. Connect from your computer or mobile device. Check out the Getting Started Guide for instructions on setting up Zoom. Host your meeting securely by following the Zoom Security Recommendations for all your online meetings.

Collaboration & File Sharing

Save your files online so you can get to them from anywhere. OIT recommends Microsoft 365 OneDrive and Google Drive for online file storage. Do you need to work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with your team? Microsoft 365 OneDrive and Google Drive support online collaboration.

If you need to send files securely, follow our encryption guidelines or use the Vault: Secure File Transfer service.

Connecting to the Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A virtual private network (VPN) is a way to create a secure, encrypted connection between two networks over the Internet. A computer connected to UT’s VPN is considered to be on the UT network, even if that computer is located off-campus or on another ISP’s network. Visit our Knowledge Base for instructions about setting up the VPN.

Use the VPN to connect to the following resources:

  • T-Storage (H: and I: drive) more information below
  • Remote to your office computer more information below
  • Edit your OIT Public Linux Environment/Volweb and OIT-Supported WordPress sites.


Do you save your files to the H: or I: drive? You can connect to T-Storage when you are away from campus by following these steps.

  1. Install the Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your home computer or laptop. You must connect to the VPN before you can connect to T-Storage.
  2. Access T-Storage from your personal computer by mapping drives for Windows or Mac operating systems.

Save your files to your UT Microsoft OneDrive for Business and Google Drive so you can get to them from anywhere. Check out the Collaboration & File Sharing section above for more information.

OIT virtual lab computer

Much of the software available in the computer labs is also available to you. You can install some software on your computer; other software is available through the web. Learn more about which software is available where.

Microsoft 365 is available for UT computers and most faculty and staff personal computers. Learn more about downloading Microsoft 365 to your computer.

Don’t forget that you can also use the online web apps from UT’s Microsoft 365 (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and UT’s Google G-Suite (Docs, Sheets, and Slides).

Access to the Library’s E-Resources

Instructions are available on the Library’s website.

Remotely connect to your office computer

Do you do most of your work from your office computer? With a little planning, you can connect to your office computer from off-campus. Don’t forget to have a backup plan and save your files to OneDrive to Google Drive just in case you can’t connect to your office computer.

Follow these instructions to set up your office to accept remote connections and to connect to your office computer remotely.

Don’t forget to install the Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your home computer or laptop. You must connect to the VPN before you can connect to your office computer.

Access to Online Training

If you need a refresher on how to use software or you need to learn something new, faculty and staff have access to online training through LinkedIn Learning. Sign into LinkedIn Learning and learn more about online training.

OIT offers online training via Zoom. View our calendar for upcoming workshops and register to attend.

For further assistance, please contact the OIT HelpDesk by phone at 865-974-9900, chat, or online.