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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.