When Trustees of The Ohio State University recently met in Columbus, they voted to double down on a program that saw students at the Mansfield campus receive technology at the start of their collegiate experience.
As we shared in a March 28, 2018 post entitled, “OSU Mansfield First-Years To Be Outfitted With Tech,” first-year students this past autumn were to be given a free iPad package that includes the iPad Pro, smart keyboard, case, Apple pencil, Apple Care+ and a suite of applications to enhance their learning experience. The technology is part of the Digital Flagship initiative.
The Ohio State University Board of Trustees has now approved a second equipment lease with Apple, Inc., to continue the Digital Flagship initiative and outfit this autumn’s first-year students with iPads. The board also approved expansion of the digital textbook pilot program, which reduces textbook costs significantly.
In the first year of the program, more than 11,000 students received a Digital Flagship student technology package and more than 90 percent of the distributed iPads are currently active at any given time.
More than 750 students attended a Digital Flagship event in autumn, including sessions focused on study skills, note-taking strategies, time management, digital creativity, app training and app development basics. Meanwhile, approximately 300 faculty and staff have participated in the Digital Flagship Educators program, learning how to use the technology in the classroom. The Ohio State Discover app launched in May, 2018 to instruct students on using their iPad and other important information.
The cost of the leased Apple products will total approximately $13.7 million.
In a related action, the board approved discounted digital textbook fees for summer and autumn 2019 as an expansion of a pilot program to provide digital textbooks to reduce the cost of course materials.
Textbook affordability is a key area of focus in the university’s strategic plan. Creation of the pilot included a discounted digital textbook fee for participating courses that serves as a pass-through fee to collect the cost of the material.