When studying remotely, international students working from their home countries may have difficulty accessing UW technologies and online content. Of particular concern are UW students studying from mainland China, due to the Chinese firewall that restricts access to some U.S.-based web sites and web applications. Additional issues, such as slowness of page loads, arise from the fact that data is traveling a long distance.
Most of the following tools will work most of the time. Occasionally, however, depending on geographic region in China, some of these tools may be unavailable or slow, usually those that include real-time sharing and drafting functionality (e.g., Google apps and Microsoft Office 365).
Although Canvas is not filtered or blocked in China, Canvas page load times will be affected. Some pages may take up to several minutes to load, some pages may time out, some parts of pages may not load. Additionally, some third-party services that connect through Canvas may not work at all (e.g., Google Workspace and Vimeo) if these are blocked.
Important: Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), including Husky OnNet, as a work-around to local availability restrictions is strongly discouraged, as such use may violate local laws and regulations. Do not recommend using a VPN to students in mainland China. If students studying internationally mention that they are using or plan to use a VPN, ask that they consult local laws and regulations to make sure that they are not in violation.
General recommendations for teaching technologies include:
- For content delivery: Canvas
- For multimedia content delivery: Panopto
- Helping students to interact and communicate with one another: UW Zoom, UW Microsoft Teams
- Storing and sharing large files: Canvas
It is important to consider the implications of technologies being blocked in China without notice. For additional guidance, view the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Teaching Remotely resource.
Known Technology Limitations
Available in China?
Impacted by Internet Speeds?
|Canvas||Yes||Yes||Students may experience poor performance when accessing large files and/or specific Canvas features. Instructors should upload content directly to Canvas rather than linking to content hosted elsewhere.|
|Canvas Quizzes||Yes||Yes||Display questions one at a time. Do not embed unavailable content, such as YouTube videos.|
|Dropbox||No||—||Use Microsoft OneDrive for large files.|
|No||—||Use UW Microsoft Teams for student interaction.|
|UW Google||No||—||Use UW Microsoft Office365 ProPlus.|
|No||—||Use Canvas for sharing images and announcements.|
|Library readings||Yes||Yes||Provide direct links to required readings and/or upload required readings to your Canvas course.|
|UW Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus||Yes||No||Students should download and use the ProPlus apps, rather than using the browser versions of Office365. (Requires UW NetID login.)|
|UW Microsoft OneDrive||Yes||Yes, if synching frequently.||Students should download and use the app, not browser version.|
|UW Microsoft Skype for Business||Yes||Yes||Microsoft is retiring Skype summer 2021. In the meantime, Skype provides an alternative if users experience difficulties with Teams or Zoom.|
|UW Microsoft Teams||Yes||Yes||Students should download and use the app, not browser versions.|
|Panopto||Yes||Yes||For a more consistent viewing experience, students may use a personal hotspot and cellular.|
|SimCheck||Yes||Yes||If students experience difficulty uploading large files, suggest that they send via email.|
|Slack||No||—||Use UW Microsoft Teams for student interaction.|
|No||—||Use Canvas for announcements and student discussion.|
|YouTube||No||—||Upload native video file directly to Canvas.|
|UW Zoom||Yes||Yes||Users in China can use UW Zoom as participants.|
Thanks to Cornell University, Michigan State University, and the University of Technology Sydney for providing background information for this document.