By Viola Zhou
Baylor Box has yet to gain popularity on campus despite new features released this summer, including one that allows multiple users to collaborate on one document at the same time.
The cloud-based filing hosting service launched at Baylor in January made a transition to its new version, Box Notes, before the fall semester began.
“There are a lot of advantages in Box Notes over the old version,” said Mark Mastin, director of systems support at Baylor’s Information Technology Services. “Multiple people can look at the same document at the same time, and even edit the same document at the same time.”
Mastin said about 4,100 Box accounts for Baylor have been opened. The number includes students, faculty and staff, and it’s not clear how many of them are active users. Baylor paid a setup fee of $5,000 to have Box on campus and pays an annual subscription fee of $65,000.
He said Box has advantages over similar services. It has a free storage space of 50 GB, which is more than Google Docs’ 15 GB and Dropbox’s 2 GB, and students can log in with their Baylor ID without memorizing another username and password.
“I also had a Dropbox account before we started implementing Box,” Mastin said. “My impression is Box is a lot easier to use than Dropbox. Box is able to share out documents and folders to other people. It just seems more intuitive in Box than it does in Dropbox.”
He said another major update is users can now edit documents on their mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android cell phones.
“If students have the habit of taking notes in class on a computer or an iPad, they can use Box Notes for that,” Mastin said. “Students and professors can also work together on one document in class.”
Hixson, Tenn., freshman Lauren Tong said she heard about Baylor Box during new student orientation, but she has no plans to use it.
“I started using Dropbox in 2009,” Tong said. “It’s reliable and I like it. If I need to collaborate with others on the same document, I will use Google Docs.”
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, sophomore Jessica Rademakers, another Google Docs user, also said she is not considering switching to Box.
“Why should I switch to using that one when I have been using everything else and it has been fine?” Rademakers said.
She said she doesn’t know any classmates who use Box, although her teachers mentioned the service in class.
Vicky Gerik, ITS’s assistant vice president for client services, said the number of Box users is growing steadily.
“Box enables students to collaborate with professors,” she said. “It has a connection with Canvas and the space is free. I hope they would drive students into using Box.”
Students can learn more about Baylor Box and access its login page at baylor.edu/its.