I.T. HERO 101: Organizational Units (Part 1)
Set up a well functioning Google Admin Console with the perfect organizational Units
If your school’s 1:1 technology program relies on Chrome OS, you’re no stranger to the Google Admin Console. For those who may just be getting started with their 1-to-1 technology program, here’s the scoop. Google Admin Console is a central place to manage all G Suite services over all your district’s devices. With it, you can update G-Suite settings, manage user accounts, configure administrator preferences, monitor usage, and more.
Most administrators would be lost without Google Admin Console. Its offers incredible control and customization of a school domain. Just try managing up to 40,000 Chromebooks and 200+ digital policies without it. However that many Chromebooks can still be a handful if they’re not properly categorized. You have better things to do than go through and individually set preferences for hundreds (even thousands) of Chromebooks. That’s why Admin Console makes it easy to bundle groups of students and staff into “Organizational Units” (OUs).
“What is an OU?”
An OU is a subdivision of your domain that allows you to clump users (students, teachers, administrative staff, etc.) into groups. Each group can then be assigned specific settings based on the kinds of restrictions or permissions that group should have. By default, all users belong to your account’s top-level organization (your “District”), but can be organized into groups like “Staff” or “Students”. Those groups are then set up with specific features, security settings, permissions, policies, extensions, apps and more.
Organizational Units help you categorize your school’s devices
If you haven’t already, creating the perfect OUs can make your job a whole lot easier. However, they also presents challenges. A poorly setup Admin Console can quickly become a nightmare for tech directors and administrators.
This blog series will help you become an OU pro! You’ll learn:
- Keys to organizational unit success
- Tips on restructuring existing OU structures
- Best practices for working with setup specialists during Google domain enrollment.
Let’s get started!
3 Keys to Building a Strong OU Structure
Setting up OUs via Google Admin Console is simple and easy. The real challenge of setting up OUs is thinking ahead and building a structure that is both functional and scalable. Get off on the right foot with these keys for a successful setup:
- Keep it simple. When it comes to OUs, the best solutions are the simplest ones. Create as many organizational units as necessary but as few as possible. For every OU created you are giving future-you more work. Pare down units to simple, intuitive groups.
- Be intentional. Don’t be too heavy handed on the OUs during setup. It may be tempting to meticulously categorize users, but only create OUs when there is a particular purpose in mind. For example, it would make sense to place elementary school students in a different unit than high school students because their settings and restrictions would be different.
- Follow the hierarchy. Remember that “child” units inherit traits from their “parent” unit. Build a structure that naturally cascades traits down through units. (Note that changing a setting at a higher level changes the setting for all sub-organizations unless specifically overridden.) We would recommend that the main district division is between “Students” and “Staff”. Then, continue to sort down from largest to smallest groups.