Accessing IT Services from China
University of Pittsburgh students, faculty, and staff have an international presence. They rely on access to the University’s enterprise IT services, no matter where they may be studying, teaching, or working. However, the unique regulatory and political environment in China can create challenges for members of the University community attempting to access Pitt services. The information below provides guidance on using University IT services from within mainland China.
Services That Should Not Be Impacted
- The University’s eSignature Service (DocuSign) should work without any restrictions or limitations. Details are available on DocusSign’s website.
- OneCampus, the service provider for My Pitt, indicates that access to My Pitt from China should not be limited or restricted unless the user is located on a Chinese military base or inside a government office.
- The University’s Zoom Videoconferencing should not be impacted for those in China. Although specific regulations affect free and single basic users of Zoom, the University’s enterprise Zoom account is not affected. Users can download a Zoom client specifically for use in China at https://zoom.com.cn/download.
Services That May Be Impacted
- Users who need to access Box in China may experience difficulty. If the primary app.box.com domain is unreachable, both https://boxcn.net or https://boxenterprise.net should be accessible. (Be sure to use https, rather than http.) For any shared links generated with box.com, app.box.com or cloud.box.com, the subdomains can be replaced with “app.boxcn.net” or “app.boxenterprise.net”.
- Many Canvas users have some success using the app, particularly when leveraging VPN services. However, Canvas has performance limitations in China, including slow speeds and components that are blocked or unresponsive. Some common tools are blocked within Canvas, which can change the user experience, depending on how courses are built and leveraged. These include: Google Docs, Google APIs, Facebook, Dropbox, YouTube, and all LTI tools.
- Panopto reports that several factors can impact its Lecture Capture service in China. Users on a wireless connection that uses cellular data and those who are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with an endpoint outside China should not have any issues using the service. However, China’s firewall may interfere with the ability to use Panopto for those using a wired connection (for example, cable, DSL, or T1) without a VPN.
- Duo Mobile does work in China, but the inability to access the Google Play store and Google Play services impacts Android users in several ways:
- Because users cannot download the app from Google Play, they need to download the Duo Mobile app directly.
- Google Play Services is required to receive push notifications on Androids. Users without it will need to "fetch" notifications by swiping down in the Duo Mobile app.
- Phone callback authentication may not function as expected due to regulations on phone calls.
- There are no commonly known issues associated with using Duo Mobile and iOS in China.
- Users can record and share the pronunciation of their name while in China. However, the web recording option must be used, since the option to record via phone is likely to be blocked.
- Microsoft reports that Office 365 should work while in China. However, online applications may perform more slowly, due to how China routes network traffic. Additional information about international availability and best practices for users in China is available on Microsoft’s website.
- Learners in China will be able to access LinkedIn Learning via Pitt's campus account at linkedinlearning.pitt.edu. However, users are not able to access via the LinkedIn Learning app.
- Users should be able to access and use Qualtrics while in China. However, some fonts and survey design options utilize an API service that is blocked in China. Those survey features may not display properly or timeout.
Pitt Mobile (Ready Education)
- The Pitt Mobile app is not officially support in China. Many individuals have found ways to access the app and its features by bypassing geographical restrictions through the use of a VPN.
Software Download Service (Akami)
- The Software Download Service platform cannot guarantee that access will occur, performance will not be degraded, and activity will not be monitored by the Chinese government.
Last updated: August 6, 2020