Ohio State students will soon have access to individual cloud storage accounts that will cost the university $250,000 a year to maintain.
The cloud storage website will be called “BuckeyeBox” and use pre-existing OSU usernames and passwords for login, according to the Office of the Chief Information Officer website.
The service has been available to faculty and staff since Dec. 15, according to University Libraries’ blogs.
OSU will not make the service available to students until it’s in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination of the disabled. Box currently is not suited for many students with disabilities, said Julie Talbot-Hubbard, OSU’s chief information security officer, but the university is working with several other colleges including Indiana University, the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan to change that.
Box allows users to keep relevant documents in one location, available for access from any device that has a connection to the Internet or runs on an iOS, Android or Blackberry platform. Users can then share those documents with other people, according to the OCIO website.
Box is not for storing restricted data, however, including personal health information, credit card information and similarly private documents, according to the OCIO website.
The new technology cost about $260,000 initially, including implementation costs. OSU will also have to pay a fixed upkeep cost of about $250,000 annually, said Katharine Keune, CIO spokeswoman.
The funding for the project came from 30 of OSU’s colleges, departments and regional campuses — comprising roughly 80 percent of the university population — that felt the technology would be beneficial. Some of those colleges included the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Keune said.
There are 85 other universities in the U.S. already using Box, including Notre Dame University, Cornell University and University of California-Berkeley, said Robin Daniels, head of enterprise product marketing for Box.
OSU’s information technology department brought forward the need for a collaboration tool late last winter, and after looking at several options, OSU had decided to move forward with Box by late summer, said Talbot-Hubbard.
The difference between Box and similar storage technologies such as iCloud is that Box allows for a different kind of collaboration by encouraging the sharing of files, Daniels said.
Box was founded in 2005 by Aaron Levie, then a student at University of Southern California, and Dylan Smith, then a student at Duke University. It has served more than 14 million customers, according to the Box website.
Some OSU students are interested to try BuckeyeBox, even if they aren’t tech-savvy.
“I’m not a technology person, so as long as it’s user-friendly, I will try (it),” said Bing Xing Ang, a fourth-year in actuarial science and economics.
Other students said they are excited for the new group work possibilities.
“I think it’s really cool because we’ll have our own, like, iCloud as Buckeyes and we can edit it (assignments) together in group work. That’s really fun,” said Frances Ren, a first-year in actuarial science.
Still other students think the technology will make working together less time consuming.
“It’ll benefit students, especially in engineering majors like (mine) where kids work together on labs and homework. Teachers actually encourage them to work together on stuff like this,” said Jeff Huggins, a second-year in computer science and engineering. “It’ll probably help us (students) collaborate on assignments. We probably wouldn’t have to meet as much if we could use this technology to help do our assignments.”