OneDrive: preferred file storage for students

Over the next few months, Information Services is going to be heavily promoting Office 365 and its many exciting technologies to our staff and students. Students already have full access to the Office 365 suite via your student email accounts – just have a look in the App Launcher (top left in your email) to see the full range. There are some apps that are incredibly useful to students, notably Teams and OneDrive. Today we are looking at OneDrive.

For the past 3 years, the University has had a subscription to Box, our cloud file storage solution. We are now looking to stop using Box for student cloud file storage and move everyone onto OneDrive. OneDrive offers a similar service to Box in terms of sharing and collaboration on files but its integration with the rest of the Office 365 apps is it’s outstanding feature. Instead of emailing files to your fellow students or yourself, just save it in OneDrive and access via your student email account at any time, on any device. Invite students in your group to view and edit the file. Gone are the days of having different versions of a file floating around in someone’s email! One of the key benefits of OneDrive is that if you create a file in OneDrive, it will thereafter automatically save back to OneDrive. This makes it infinitely safer than saving your work on an unreliable USB stick or worse, forgetting to save when working on a lab PC and losing the file if the PC crashes.

To make a start on the move to OneDrive, we have therefore just taken steps to prevent new students, or any students who had not previously used Box, from saving new files into their own personal Box space. All students are still able to access shared content in Box and can save files to any shared folders not owned by them (for example, teaching materials in Box that are linked from Canvas). Students who were already using Box are still able to continue using their Box space for the time being but we are now asking you to start moving your file saving/sharing activity to OneDrive.

I already have files saved in Box, what do I do?
Please consider moving your files into OneDrive and create any new files in OneDrive. At the moment, we are asking students to do this yourselves gradually but we aim to have all student data off Box by the end of May 2020.

How do I access and use OneDrive?
OneDrive is part of Office365. You can access OneDrive via the student portal where there is a prominent link on the left of the home page. An alternative route is via your student email account where you can access OneDrive and all of the other Office365 apps from the App Launcher in the top left corner. OneDrive is very similar to Box so you should find the basic functionality quite familiar. We have a OneDrive help page on the IS site and the OneDrive Help Centre is an excellent source for ‘how do I’ type questions.

My lecturers are putting materials up in Box – what do I do?
For the time being, you should be able to access teaching materials linked from Canvas and also to save any necessary files in a shared folder provided by your lecturer. Information Services will be undertaking a big project to roll out Office 365 to University staff over the coming months. In the meantime, we are making staff aware of the restrictions around Box usage for students.

If you are have any questions around using OneDrive, transferring your data to OneDrive or anything else, please contact the Information Centre.

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