CyBox is Drumming Up Business

Just imagine. You're a music major and you're stepping up to the platform in front of your conducting class to lead a number.

"They're coming up for the first time in front of their peers, learning the movements and how to hold a baton," said assistant professor Jacob Harrison who teaches the conducting class for undergraduates. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, Harrison said. The best way to give students feedback about their early attempts is to show them video of their performance.

In the past, instructors have recorded the students on videotape, a cumbersome process. Then came hi8, digital recordings submitted on thumb drives, and iMovie distributed via email.

The process improved as technology advanced, Harrison said, but it wasn't perfect. Until now.

Today, Harrison records the students in his class on an iPad, and then sends the video file directly to CyBox, the online file sharing and storage service introduced by ITS last spring.

CyBox users are finding creative ways to utilize the new file sharing and storage service, on campus and off. When music major Courtney Kayser from Anamosa, Iowa, is finished with her conducting exercise, Professor Jacob Harrison, at left, will simply upload the video from the iPad to CyBox, where Courtney will access it and evaluate her own performance. Photo by Amy Vinchattle.

"It's just click, click, click, upload," he said. "This is huge."

Harrison first learned about CyBox when Chad Jacobsen, systems support specialist in LAS, began uploading webcasts of all music department concerts to CyBox.

"He told me you can also use CyBox as a dropbox," he said. "Once I upload a student's performance video, I send them an email with a link to the file on CyBox. It's very easy for me and for the students."

Faculty in the music department are among the most enthusiastic early adopters of CyBox. Iowa State has reserved 50,000 spots on CyBox; so far about 6,500 have signed on.

Heavy researchers, including Eliot Winer, are another group of CyBox fans. The associate professor of mechanical engineering uses CyBox for a number of his research projects.

One of Winer's projects, with John Deere, requires a lot of file transfers, big files. "We previously had to set up an FTP site with different logins and passwords," he said. With CyBox, his collaborators at John Deere can simply drag and drop files into the box.

"People on campus and off are dropping, editing, and deleting files all the time," he said, with no problems.

One of the most attractive features about sharing files via CyBox is the security, Winer said. "The information is encrypted."

Mike Lohrbach, Senior Systems Analyst with ITS, said the security aspect is one of the most important features of CyBox. ISU set up the CyBox service through the Internet2 consortium, a group of leading research and educational organizations. Through this consortium, universities are able to drive change that affects not only campus use but throughout the educational and research world, Lohrbach said.

CyBox files can be accessed from anywhere, including mobile devices, with your Net-ID and password.

In addition to the storage available to individuals (25GB for students and 50 GB for faculty), ITS has recently launched an option for a shared CyBox account, which offers 1 terabyte per college or major organizational unit for shared documents that should not reside with an individual.

"This is a good solution for business continuity," Lohrbach said.

CyBox is a service provided at no cost to ISU faculty, staff, and students, and integrates with many existing campus services.

For more information about CyBox, visit the CyBox service page.