From the CIO

VCU Technology Services

As we approach the end of what has been a challenging Spring semester for all of us, I would like to highlight two large projects coming to a close as well as offer a reminder:

Transition to Canvas: Final push

Image with VCU brand and Canvas logo in green

Academic Technologies (AT) is heading into the final month of the two-year project to transition from Blackboard to Canvas. The majority of classes this spring were taught in Canvas, but there are still some faculty who have not made the leap to Canvas. Academic Technologies partnered with VCU Online last December to provide faculty training this semester, and the Learning Systems department of AT has more training scheduled throughout the year. End users will have access to Blackboard through May 31st. Once all data has been archived, the Blackboard system will be decommissioned and our contract with Blackboard will end. After 20 years with Blackboard, we look forward to our new partnership with Canvas. More information about the transition to Canvas is located on the VCU Canvas website

VCU Together on One Google Domain

May 17 will find all faculty, staff, and current students collaborating together in one Google domain. 

Benefits of collaborating in one domain:

  • Dual role students/employees use one Google Workspace account, preventing loss of access to student data which may have arrived in an employee account 
  • Easier document sharing 
    • Sharing is always done with the account, eliminating confusion over whether to use or
    • Document ownership can now be changed between faculty/staff and students
    • Sharing to everyone at VCU now truly does share to everyone
  • Mail and Calendar delegation and calendar invitations
    • Delegate access to departmental generic accounts directly to students
    • Secondary calendar delegation and management is allowed between faculty, staff and students
    • Invite everyone to meetings using their address
  • Easier integration with Canvas 
  • Google Chat and Chat rooms
    • Search and find faculty, staff and student contacts to add to chat
    • Add students to existing faculty/staff Chat rooms and vice versa


When VCU became a Google school, hosting students in a domain separate from faculty and staff was the recommended configuration. As Google has expanded and additional collaboration tools have been added, it is now best practice to host everyone together to allow for efficient collaboration. 

Action taken to complete the merge

Alumni accounts (76,000) have been moved from the mymail domain to the alumni domain. This allows the use of Google authentication and eliminates the need for CAS authentication and the use of DUO. Alumni were encouraged to include recovery methods and enable Google’s 2Factor authentication. 

  • Email addresses in the Alumni domain are formatted as and email forwarding from and is in place unless employee status is active.
  • Data migration tools (Google Takeout) were provided to assist migrating data from the account to the account for these individuals.

Students eligible to enroll for classes but not currently enrolled (around 6,600) and all accepted students for summer or fall are already using their new accounts in the domain. They’ve been notified and provided Google Takeout to move their data. 

Data migration for currently enrolled students began earlier this month and the first pass at migrating nearly 200 million items modified before March 29, 2021 is nearing completion. The week of May 17 students will begin to use their new accounts. A second migration pass will complete the week of May 17 that will push any changes that happened in the migrating accounts after March 29th.

The future

Upon the decommissioning of the Google domain after Spring 2021 semester, in accordance with the newly approved Alumni Email Standard, graduates will be provided with a new Google Workspace account in the VCU alumni domain and their email will be forwarded. Migration tools will not be provided. Student accounts will be suspended after the re-enrollment eligibility status passes (3 semesters). 

End of Semester Recordkeeping 

Without a doubt, this has been an unprecedented academic year for us all. Over the last year, we have had faculty members and employees teleworking from 48 different U.S. states and territories. As this Spring semester winds down, it’s essential to ensure University records are properly managed and retained by departments regardless of where our work is being performed.

Record Lifecycle SmartArt

Please consider these resources while closing out this semester:

Questions? Please contact

Thanks to all of my colleagues for their innumerable contributions this academic year!

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