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Transferring digital accounts and data – What to do with user accounts and digital data when students and teachers leave your school

Daniel Wilson

The end of the year can be a very busy time but in most classrooms. Students take home at least some of their paperwork for posterity but what does this look like for their digital work?

Having clear systems and procedures gives everybody confidence about what is going to happen to their digital data and accounts and what they need to do to avoid losing anything that they might need in future.

Who owns the data?

Staff and students data is treated differently in terms of copyright and ownership.

Staff

New Zealand teachers don’t, as employees, hold first ownership of copyright to resources they create in the course of their employment. The 1994 Copyright Act grants first ownership to employers, which in the case of New Zealand schools is the Board of Trustees (BoT).

Creative Commons in Schools

Legally, teachers cannot take documents they have created as part of their employment with the school with them. However, we work in an environment of sharing and collaboration and so your school could consider adopting a Creative Commons Policy which will give teachers advance permission to take their resources with them and share them online.

In terms of documents saved in Google’s G Suite or Microsoft’s Office 365 accounts the school should maintain access to them and should not delete them. This could be done by transferring ownership of the data to a generic account created for this purpose such as previous.staff@abc.school.nz.

Students

Students own their own data so can take it away when they move on. As a school, develop a common understanding about the value of students owning their learning and the online identity that they might have built up through their blogs, eportfolios and other activities that make up their digital footprint.

Further reading about copyright and ownership

  • Your teachers’ work – TKI page outlining copyright issues surrounding the work of teachers in your school.
  • Creative Commons in Schools – Outlines what CC is and how to pass a CC policy at your school
  • Your students' work – TKI page outlining issues that school should be aware of surrounding copyright ownership of students' work, the rights of students, schools and teachers.

Managing user accounts when people leave your school

When an account for a service like G Suite, Office 365, Seesaw is deleted, any files, folders, emails, and calendars that a student or staff member has created are also deleted so it is important to consider:

  • what content needs to be retained by the school
  • what needs to be downloaded or transferred to that person
  • what should be archived.

Rather than deleting accounts, they could be suspended which means that the shared content is still accessible to others but the user themselves can not log-on to retrieve it and things like email and calendar invitations no longer work.

Alternatively, when a person leaves the school, ownership of their files could be transferred to another account such as a generic account or to a particular individual.

Another idea is to rename the user who is leaving to “deleted_(name of ex-account)”, change the password and disable email for that the account. This allows the original account name to be reused for a new staff member or student.

Migrating data when people leave your school

There are two key ways to migrate data when people leave the school.

  1. Downloading data – allows a copy of the data to be stored on a hard drive or memory stick then uploaded or imported to a new account later.
  2. Transferring data – means that its ownership changes to a different account. This could be as simple as changing the email address associated with the old account to a new one. This option can be easier than downloading and importing but may not be available for all online services.

Schools should be prepared to hold data and keep it available until the students or staff that are leaving have a new account to transfer it to. Where possible, your school and the new school should work together to ensure that accounts overlap for a reasonable period of time.

Downloading data from Google’s G Suite, Microsoft’s Office 365, or Seesaw

Other online services will typically provide an option to download or export data.

Transferring data from Google’s G Suite, Microsoft’s Office 365, or Seesaw

Recommendations for migrating data from other services, including how to download and transfer

How to download

How to transfer

Recommendations

In general, it makes sense to transfer ownership of the blog to the new Google account.
You should also consider how blogs are initially created and managed within your school domain as this will impact transferring data when students or staff leave. Pt England School’s effective blogging site provides many recommendations.

How to download

  • Use the Video Manager to download some of your videos or use Google Takeout to download all your videos as MP4 files. Then upload them into the new account.

How to transfer

  • It is not possible to transfer ownership of a YouTube clip or channel.

Recommendations

Download your YouTube clips using Video Manager or Takeout.

How to download

  • Use Google Takeout to export your email to a MBOX file. This format can not easily be imported into your new Google account. Instead, use a programme like Mozilla Thunderbird to refer back to your old emails.
  • Use a paid service such as VaultMe .

How to transfer

Recommendations

Use the copy and transfer method.

How to download

How to transfer

  • It is not possible to transfer ownership of bookmarks

Recommendations

Use Takeout to download your bookmarks then import them into your new account.

How to download

How to transfer

  • Your existing calendars can be shared with your new account but their ownership can not be transferred.
  • Use a paid service such as Cloud Gopher

Recommendations

Use Takeout to keep a record of your calendar entries but use fresh, new calendars in your new account. Make a note of any shared calendars that you subscribe to and re-subscribe to them in your new account.

How to download

How to transfer

  • While contacts can be delegated (shared) within your school, they can’t be shared outside of your school. Instead, use a paid service such as Cloud Gopher .

Recommendations

Use Takeout to export contacts as a CSV then import them into your new account.

How to download

  • Google does not provide in-built tools to download the data in a Google site. Instead, use a website copier tool such as HTTrack or Site Sucker to take a copy of the pages.

How to transfer

  • Either follow the instructions to Share your site with other people so that your new Google account becomes the site owner. The site will remain in place as it is currently with the School having overall administrative control of it.
  • Or, you can follow the instructions to Share your site with other people so that your new Google account becomes the site owner then make a copy of the site . This means the site takes on a new URL and is ‘budded’ from the original one rather than transferred. You might wish to then delete the existing site. This is explained in this YouTube clip from Leigh Hynes .

Recommendations

Use one of the methods to transfer the ownership of your sites to your new account. Unless you want the site to remain under the control of your existing school, it is usually best to transfer ownership and make a copy of it.

How to download

  • Use Google Takeout to export and download the Drive files that you are an owner of. This does not export and download files that are shared with you, though. You would have to make a copy of any files that are shared with you in order to download them with Google Takeout. Takeout exports Google Docs, Slides, Sheets as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or Excel files. Google Forms are not downloaded at all and revision history and some formatting might be lost in the conversion.
  • Another option is to move all your files and folders into a new folder which you then download . Downloading a folder means that files and folders that are shared with you are included in the downloaded ZIP file. Depending on the size of all files this could take some time to download so ensure your internet connection is good and the device being used is not going to go to sleep! You may like to download individual folders rather than everything in one hit. Once downloaded, the zipped folders need to be unzipped then the folder can be uploaded to the new account's Drive as explained in this YouTube clip .

How to transfer

  • Use the copy and transfer method which means sharing permissions will be lost.
  • Use a paid service such as VaultMe which will maintain the sharing permissions of shared files and folders.

Recommendations

Use the copy and transfer method.

More information »

Managing student and teacher data  – Information from the Ministry's website on using Student Record Transfer (SRT) and sharing data from your Student Management Systems (SMS).

Te Rito (Student Information Sharing)  – Te Rito involves the development of a national repository of learner data that enables the safe and secure transfer of information between schools and the sector.

How do students travel with their data?  – A discussion in the Enabling e-Learning online community.

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