The Ohio State University at Marion


Ohio State Marion in year two of the university’s Digital Flagship Initiative

September 9, 2019
Equipping new Buckeyes for success

Ohio State campuses across the state are equipping incoming freshmen with the latest Apple technology, thanks to an innovative partnership between the university and Apple.

The Ohio State University at Marion distributed the new Apple iPad Air to 478 incoming freshmen during the first week of autumn semester classes through the university’s Digital Flagship Initiative.

The iPads, as well as training on the iPads, are free to students, ensuring a level playing field for all new Buckeyes despite socio-economic status, explained Ohio State Marion Student Success Coordinator, Michelle McKinness, a liaison for the Digital Flagship Initiative on the Marion campus.

“Ohio State is essentially making it so every student has access to information no matter what kind of family or school district they are coming to us from. It’s not really what you can afford or what can be provided to you from your family, but it’s about what you’re willing to do and how hard you are willing to work when you get here.” said McKinness.

The iPad allows students to write notes in class, record lectures, draw diagrams easier, and gives them the ability to search within their notes for information they wrote down. The Apple Pen is also provided because research has shown that if students write notes, it is easier to retain the information than typing. Ohio State anticipates these resources will allow students to increase their ability to learn in a classroom setting.

Ohio State Marion sophomore and early childhood education major Emily Peters received an iPad her freshman year and now serves as an ambassador for the program to new students. Peters felt having this technology free and available to her has helped her grow.

“I can’t just remember everything. Having the iPad available, where I can draw the picture on how this science diagram works, or write out all of my graphs and diagrams for my math classes was super nice,” she said. “I also have notes with me even though I do not have math today. So having these resources with me all the time was super beneficial.”

The iPads allow students to have their notes on them at all times and also allows students to download eBooks. EBooks, or digitized books, can be downloaded to the iPad so students can easily carry all the information they need for classes, without having to carry an actual book. Online textbooks are also often significantly less expensive than traditional textbooks. With access to the iPads, Ohio State makes it easier for students to opt for lower-cost eBooks.

Organizers also shared that all iPads feature a suite of free and paid app provided by the university and available on-demand through the Self Service app.

Through Digital Flagship another app, Ohio State: Discover, was created and loaded onto all devices. A group of current students at Ohio State were sent to California to help develop this app to create the best user-friendly experience possible. The app allows students to see their curriculum, major sheets, class schedule and more. Students also have access to news and information, clubs and organizations and parking information. The app will recognize a Marion student and they are delivered Marion specific informational content, such as maps, building locations, news, events and more.

Digital Flagship represents the largest learning technology distribution in university history and one of the leading national examples of a 1:1 program in higher education.

In addition to iPad-related programming, all students have access to a free Swift Coding and App Development certification. The certification offers the opportunity for all at Ohio State to learn valuable coding skills without increasing cost or time to degree.

“We are seeing a demand for coding in the workforce. Whether you are in a computer based major or a social science major, having this knowledge and a background in coding helps students stand apart from their competition and be more marketable. This is a free certificate with no additional tuition cost,” said McKinness.

“Being The Ohio State University," Peters explained, “I think it is incredible that we can provide this iPad experience for students because some of them might not be able to achieve that on their own.”

“I think from a college this prestigious it is great that they are willing to put forth the effort to enrich our education in the best ways possible. It shows they are making a real effort”, said freshman mechanical engineering major, Irad Gomezhuerta.

McKinness shared that Ohio State plans continue the Digital Flagship Initiative for the foreseeable future, ultimately helping students increase their ability to learn and encourage future success.

Written by Ohio State Marion Marketing and Communication Intern, Jasmine Gaffney.