My school district has just finished our first full year with Google Apps, so we had to consider this issue this summer. Over time, staff and students may create and collect a large number of valuable documents, presentations, spreadsheets, emails, sites, and more. What should we do when a staff member retires or resigns? What should be done when a student graduates or moves away?
When I attended the Google Apps conference in Columbus, Ohio this past spring, I heard Jaime Casap (Google Education Senior Evangelist) say that he hopes a time will come when Google Apps accounts can be easily transferable and the identity that a student or staff member creates will be able to continue on outside of the Apps for Ed system. I agree that it would be very helpful for Google to find a way to link the multiple Google accounts that a person might create from all their areas of life.
In the meantime we need to provide our staff and students with some options. Below are some ideas we have pulled together as we have been working through this issue.
In general, when a staff member or student permanently leaves our school district, they have three options for the data and files they have collected through our various systems:
Option #1 - Transferring data and files to other users:
One option in this approach is for the user to share and transfer ownership of certain files to other users. Simply sharing the files is not enough, or else when the original account is deleted, the files will be deleted as well. The basic steps would be:
Another option is for the Google Apps administrator to transfer all of a users documents to another user. The new user could be another staff member in that department or could simply be a generic catch-all account to hold the documents for later processing. To do this a Google Apps admin does the following:
For more details, see Google’s help article at: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=1247799
Option #2 - Moving data and files out of Google Apps for the user to personally keep
As easy as it is to import and create content in Google Apps, Google also makes sure you can export your data if you wish. To that end, Google has set up a site amusingly called the Data Liberation Front at http://www.dataliberation.org/
At that site Google has instructions and/or links to instructions on how to export your data from about 30 different Google services. Below are some ideas from the Data Liberation site and other resources concerning the most common Google services.
To export your Gmail contacts do the following:
Google Documents, Presentations, and Spreadsheets
To save a copy of your Google Docs files you can either export them one at a time, or you can select multiple files and export them in bulk.
To export a single file from Google Docs:
To export multiple files at once:
As an example, below is a link to the first version of the letter we are giving our leaving staff this summer about what to do with their Google Apps data. It has some directions that are specific to our district, but it still may have useful as a reference.
As another (very nice) example, here is a link to a document created and shared by Vinnie Vrotny from North Shore Country Day School. It has his excellent directions (with pictures) to help his users that are leaving to move their data out of Google Apps:
For another example, Terry Korte of Edmonton Public Schools shares this website they use to share instructions with students and staff who leave:
So what are other school districts doing when students and staff leave? It would be great to hear what ideas you have, what has worked well so far, what to watch out for, or what you plan to try.