Student Council briefed on technology changes; Google Workspace and Box to be phased out

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Student Council was briefed by members of the Product Portfolio Management Team on the upcoming transitions to student Google Drive and Box accounts; both of these are set to be done away with by Fall 2023 and fully transitioned to the Microsoft Office family of programs.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The UVUSA Student Council was briefed by university staff on the timeline and manner that student Google and Box accounts will be phased out and transitioned to Microsoft Office applications.

Brett McKeachnie, senior director of product portfolio management, presented to the council and showed a timeline on when they expected these changes to go into full effect. According to the current schedule, all Google Workplace applications will be closed on Aug. 11, 2023.

“We want to make sure everyone has a consistent experience,” McKeachnie stated. “We want to make sure that you have access, as students, to everything that you need to do your schoolwork. … We want to make sure that our communication is standardized, simple, and consistent.”

From March through August, small changes will be made to gradually phase out the Google Workspace accounts that students have had. Beginning in March, the campus will send out email reminders about when deadlines are for upcoming changes; and beginning Mar. 10, students will have a 15 GB limit placed on their Google Drive accounts.

Over the course of the summer semester, students can expect to see their Gmail accounts deactivated on May 6; however, the email will still be there to download from. Finally, in August, the account will close permanently. At that point, students will be fully transitioned into using Microsoft software.

“In doing this, it may feel like that this came out of the blue,” McKeachnie continued. “We are not alone in this; we have seen schools all across the state, and all across the nation, have to do very similar things when faced with these new vendor restrictions.”

This transition had initially begun as companies such as Google placed vendor restrictions on universities, like UVU, for how much data can be used. It formerly was unlimited to universities; however, limits began to be placed that, according to McKeachnie, made that partnership unrealistic. This was the reasoning behind introducing the new student Outlook accounts.

Another transition is coming to the university’s Box accounts. These accounts are also being transitioned into Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint accounts. This change is expected to take full effect by July, with varying department and individual student data to be transferred over to either OneDrive or Sharepoint depending on the needs of the situation.

“All of the data files that are currently stored on Box will be migrated to SharePoint and OneDrive platforms,” McKeachnie clarified. “It puts it behind that security we talked about earlier.”

The reasoning behind this change, according to McKeachnie, was to provide better security features to not just student data but to organizational data as well. UVU is currently working with faculty, departments and students to migrate data from the current existing Box accounts over to these new OneDrive and SharePoint accounts. When the deadline comes in July, Box accounts will be switched to viewer only to verify all data was transferred before contract termination.

By the end of the presentation, McKeachnie called on the council to spread the word about upcoming communications about this transition and to inform students of this upcoming transition.

“Watch for communications that tell you these are things that affect you, and please respond as requested,” McKeachnie stated.

As more information becomes available, The Review will continue to update on the progress of this transition. For more information about this transformation, visit the digital transformation website.