Getting Started: Remote Work

This page is for the entire CSAIL Community to quickly get an overview of what services are available to empower remote work and collaboration, and how to get started using them.

When it’s difficult or ill-advised to be physically on campus, it’s still possible to get most business done as usual via several tools provided by IST and/or TIG. Understanding what’s available and how to use the tools ahead of time can make your life much easier when you actually need them.

Additional information on working remotely via the several Institute-provided tools can be found at MIT’s Best practices for working remotely.

Meeting / Collaboration

In a snow emergency or other forced-remote situation, working interactively with a group of people is the biggest challenge. The following tools are available to you to facilitate tasks like holding class, group meetings, and one-on-one meetings.


Webex is audio and web conferencing tool that offers a set of services that provides audio, video, and text options. Accessed via the web, participants may share files or use screen sharing to show presentations, applications, or other web sites. It also provides basic troubleshooting and options for additional assistance.

The current version of MIT Webex uses the “modern” view, version WBS33.

Get Started With WebEx


Zoom is a reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems.

Get Started with Zoom


Both WebEx and Zoom feature chat capabilities in addition to their extensive video and screen sharing capabilities. However, in the event that you just want a no-frills chat experience, you can use one of the instant messaging / group communication tools at your disposal.


Slack is a popular messaging and collaboration platform. MIT has announced the addition of Slack Enterprise Grid, a messaging and collaboration tool for teams, groups and individuals, to MIT’s suite of platforms. With Slack Enterprise Grid, MIT faculty, students, and staff are eligible to create Slack workspaces and all members of the extended MIT community are eligible to participate in MIT’s Slack workspaces.

Get started with Slack

All MIT users can join the Institute-wide MIT workspace at, where you can learn about getting started with MIT’s Slack Enterprise Grid.

In addition, there’s a dedicated CSAIL workspace (also part of MIT’s Slack Enterprise Grid) which you can join at That’s a convenient place to interact with your CSAIL colleagues, and you can create your own “channels” inside it for smaller groups.

To request a new workspace in MIT’s Slack Enterprise Grid, email Please include the workspace URL you want and a description of your workspace. (You don’t need to do that to create a new channel within the CSAIL Slack workspace; just if your group wants its own workspace, which can then have its own channels.)

Learm more about MIT Slack at

Network Connection

When working remotely, IS&T recommends connecting to the MIT network (MITnet) using the Cisco AnyConnect Virtual Private Network (VPN) client. The MIT VPN is required for connecting remotely to SAPgui, and recommended when remotely ssh’ing to CSAIL hosts. The VPN is also required in order to remotely access Microsoft Windows systems using Remote Desktop.

Getting Help

If you would like to open a support case regarding Computing or Facilities related issues, sending an email to the address below will create a trouble tracking ticket in which we will promptly respond to.


You can also reach us by phone. You can leave a voice mail if we are unavailable.

Phone: 617-253-8304

When leaving an off-hour message via voicemail you may be waking up an uncaffeinated sysadmin. Reserve off-hour voicemails for emergencies only.