After a nine month, multi-departmental trial run, Hillsdale Information Technology Services (ITS) has officially integrated Box as a campus-wide software solution.
“Box is essentially a cloud content service provider just like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive,” ITS Systems Administrator Mark Janowiak said. “It enables a lot more features as far as collaboration across the college and collaboration among faculty, staff, and students.”
Box is a replacement for the T drive file management and sharing tool. The IT department decided to phase out the T drive in time for the school year. As Janowiak noted, the T drive ran into problems whenever someone wanted to share information between faculty and students or employees and students.
He explained the user would have to contact ITS to set up a folder on the T drive for them, as well as to set up the permissions.
“With Box, you just do it yourself,” Janowiak said.
Associate Professor of Economics Michael Clark also identified problems with the T drive that the new Box system corrects.
“I did in the past have issues with off-campus access to T drives. There was a way to remotely access the T drive, but students would run into issues. I would then have to send them to ITS,” Clark said.
Clark observed that accessibility was a large appeal of Box, given that accessing class information from a smartphone is especially important to students.
“With the Box system, theoretically, you have an app on your phone, which you can get to from any computer. You don’t have to be remote to access it because it’s an online system and not a Hillsdale college network system,” Clark said.
Box unifies professor to student communication on a one-to-one platform. Janowiak said prior to finding Box, departments at the college had been trying to find ways to purchase their own solutions.
“We’re really trying to provide a platform for the college to have together. Box is the idea of having a common platform,” Janowiak said.
Janowiak said feedback from professors has been positive, so far.
The response from students was also favorable. Senior Kolbe Conger noticed that sharing files with fellow Student Federation members became much easier with Box.
“You can access your club files easily. There’s no headaches — something the T drive couldn’t always do reliably,” Conger said.
This year Box is poised to be one of the most important applications used at the college. It’s user-friendly interface, multitude of collaboration features, and remote accessibility make it essential to academic and administrative efforts this school year.
To explore the Box system, you can visit box.hillsdale.edu.