by Howard Martin
UPDATE: With the return to mostly in-person learning, Austin ISD has removed VPN access from most staff members as of August 2021.
One of the first things staff is told when they get a new district laptop is to restart it on the network throughout the week to make sure you get updates and current system profiles. Now that you are working remotely, your laptop isn’t on the Education network, you probably are not getting profile updates, you can’t install printers and more.
AISD Technology recently rolled out VPN (Virtual Private Network) access for all staff in order to provide the desperately-needed network access to solve these problems. An FAQ describing what this means to all staff can be found on the Austin ISD Remote Work webpage. It seems that all teachers, HQ staff and Classified Staff accounts have been configured VPN access. Now all one needs to do is download and install it..
The directions for installing VPN software on all staff Windows and Mac computers are located at the bottom of the Remote Work webpage. (Or check out AISD teacher Ed Yeager’s screencast about Installing VPN.)
The district directions mention that you may not be able to install from home. If not, it’s time for a field trip! Pack up your laptop and a chair and travel to the nearest AISD school. Just sitting near a wall should provide the network connection you need. Shut down your laptop and then let it startup on the AISD network.
After you restart, use the Mac or Windows directions on the Remote Work webpage to easily install Cisco AnyConnect. Once the software is installed, you can return to the comfortable isolation of your own home. You won’t need the AnyConnect to be connected all of the time, just when you need to install software using NSS Tools, access a time clock, or connect to any Portal tile that usually requires being in the office.