Account admins of schools who use Google Apps and Gmail, know the headache of managing student, employee, and teacher accounts. Though Google Apps can be extremely beneficial for educational uses, managing all of the accounts can take much effort. Many schools, whether it be K12 or higher education, have hundreds of students and staff which they need to manage accounts for.
Each semester someone needs to provision accounts for incoming students and employees with the correct access, on top of handling any changes throughout the year. Handling all of this manually can require a full time employee. There are ways though in which schools can easily provision accounts in Google Apps without spending days or even weeks, and needing a full time employee to handle this task.
Easily Provisioning Accounts in Google Apps
So what do admins do when they have say 200 students, and 3 new staff members beginning at the school, and another 200 students and 3 staff members leaving employment and graduating? Scream and pull their hair out? Many schools have opted to use automated account management solutions for this reason. This type of solution allows admins to input student information one time in their student information system (SIS), and have it automatically provision accounts in connected systems, in this case Google Apps. So, accounts can be provisioned right before school starts quickly, and all new students and employees have the correct access on their first day.
Additionally, it is possible to create functional mailboxes in Google Apps and to manage access rights. In combination with the Self Service module, an employee is able to request access to a functional mailbox, and get approval of the owner of that mailbox. A link can also be delivered to the owner to allow them to remove members who should no longer have access to the mailbox.
Pflugerville ISD was one such school who has used this type of solution to solve their account management issues. An automated account management solution allows Pflugerville ISD to connect with all campus student information systems, so that anytime a change is made in the SIS it will automatically be reflected in all corresponding accounts. This allows district staff to easily provision and de-provision all student and employee accounts from one system, their SIS, to Google Apps and have them automatically created each night. “We no longer have any issues provisioning accounts and are able to do it extremely fast. HR simply inputs everything and accounts are created once a day,” commented Valdez.