Corey Tressler, the associate director of Learning Programs. shows examples of Chemistry notes taken on an iPad at the digital flagship town hall. 


Since Ohio State announced its partnership with Apple in the fall, the university has released few details beyond the basics of the partnership. Monday, members of Ohio State’s digital flagship team held a town hall to increase transparency on the university’s technological initiative launched in October.

Corey Tressler and Liv Gjestvang from the Office of Distance Education and eLearning answered questions from students and staff during the meeting about the university’s partnership with tech giant Apple.

They said the digital flagship initiative has transitioned to a partnership with Apple and has three pillars at its core: student technology, coding curriculum, and app development.

Pilot iPad courses were launched this semester and around 130 students participated. After the test period, students asked for more strategic guidance such as instruction on how to handle cloud storage and more tutorials for apps.

The eLearning team decided it also needed to have multiple points of contact where the technology is integrated into the classroom.

Tressler said the note taking on iPad apps is a leg-up for students in the classroom.

“You can, very quickly and on the fly, change color as you create sort of a pattern for yourself in taking notes to remember what you have questions about or what to call out in your notes,” said Tressler, the associate director of Learning Programs.

A new Ohio State app will have all orientation information, tutorials for the device and will be updated with relevant information such as move-in and post-orientation materials.

The app includes many features already available in the myOSU app, but adds a separate tab for opportunities to get involved on campus such as student organization information. In addition, it includes a student-focused course planner where a student can drag and drop scenario-based scheduling to plan their educational experience before they meet with an adviser.

Of all the 1000- and 2000-level courses offered at Ohio State, 45 will require iPads in the fall. Instructors will receive training with digital flagship educators, and it is estimated more than 2,000 students will participate in iPad courses.

The flagship team anticipates that as the population with iPads shifts to second-years and beyond, iPads will be integrated into higher-level courses, as well. For now, they are targeting the first-year courses with the highest enrollment, which is a reason survey classes also were targeted.

For every course offered as an iPad required course, there is a counterpart section that does not require the device.

A coding curriculum in coding-specific courses also will be emphasized. The final component of the initiative is app development to cultivate community solutions using creative tools.

The physical iOS design lab location is still not finalized. The location could potentially be East 15th Avenue and North High Street, across from the Wexner Center for the Arts, with the temporary location likely being in the South Campus Gateway space. There also are plans for a mobile design lab that will essentially be a van with support staff available to travel throughout campus.

“We do know that offering a project of this scale and moving as quickly as we are that there are a lot of things we are not going to get right the first time,” said Gjestvang, associate vice president of learning technology.