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Summer 2014 Edition

eCommunicator is a quarterly newsletter about technology tools, services, and support at Northwestern University.

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Summer 2014 Edition

Share Files On Campus and Off with Northwestern Box

Email is probably the most common way to send a file, but who hasn’t had a file too big to send as an attachment? And while SharePoint and University-hosted file servers provide secure file sharing to anyone that has a NetID, what about when you’re working on a project with partners outside of Northwestern?

Now there is a simple, flexible file sharing solution for all faculty and staff who want to share non-sensitive University data on and off campus – Northwestern Box.

Simple and Flexible File Sharing

NUIT and technology partners across the University worked together with Box, one of the industry leaders in online file sharing, to launch Northwestern Box earlier this year. Similar to Dropbox or Google Drive, this new cloud-based tool allows users to share files and collaborate on documents online in a Northwestern-only version of the consumer Box online file sharing service.

Screenshot of Northwestern Box login page

Every faculty and staff member can log into with their NetID and password to begin sharing files and collaborating on documents online. But, even though a NetID is needed to log in, content may be shared with anyone by uploading a file and simply emailing a link to the person you wish to share it with.

Northwestern Box also makes sharing from anywhere easy. Files can be accessed from any mobile device with a web browser. Box file sharing apps are also available for Google Android, Apple iOS, and Windows Mobile operating systems.

“We’re incredibly happy Northwestern Box is here!”

That’s what Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Director of Information Technology, Chris Comerford had to say about Weinberg’s experience with Northwestern Box. “Our faculty and staff work on more devices, in more places, than ever before,” he added. “Northwestern Box allows them the freedom to choose how and when they can access the files and documents they need to do their jobs.”

There are many ways that Northwestern Box makes online collaboration simple. For one, it does not require logging into the Northwestern VPN. It also has add-on features such as Box Edit and Box Sync that allow collaborators to work on documents simultaneously and can synchronize local files and folders with Northwestern Box.

Northwestern Box for University Groups

Weinberg is one of the more active Northwestern Box user groups so far on campus, hoping to eventually use it to replace many of their existing locally hosted file servers. One way they are doing this is by providing individual Weinberg groups with their own organizational Northwestern Box accounts that can be administered locally.

Danny Fisher, Director of Finance & Administration for the Chemistry Department, manages some of these organizational accounts and enjoys the flexibility of Box. “The more I am able to do on my own in terms of managing permissions and access the better,” Fisher said. “But because we have this ability, it is important to make sure you set up workflows and processes first to ensure everything works smoothly.”

Screenshot of Northwestern Box

Attend a Northwestern Box Webinar

Northwestern Box service demonstrations were held earlier this summer, and more webinar demos are scheduled throughout the fall. Click here to register (NetID required) for one of the following sessions:

An earlier Northwestern Box webinar recording is also available to view anytime.

Learn More About Box

For more information visit the Northwestern Box service page. The File Sharing Overview also lets faculty and staff evaluate the other available file sharing options at the University and see what tools are appropriate for different data types.

Since Northwestern Box functions very similarly to the standard Box service, another good place to find how-to information is at It includes a very handy Getting Started web page and an online video tutorial library.

Contact your local school or department technology staff too, as they may also have training and informational materials regarding Northwestern Box. Weinberg for instance, has produced their own local Box FAQ web page for their faculty and staff.

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