The Ohio State University at Newark

Evolving Education: Digital Flagship Initiative Changing the Student Experience

March 26, 2019

Receiving an acceptance letter to The Ohio State University at Newark was not the only exciting news incoming first-year students received last spring. Accepted students also learned they would receive a free Apple iPad as part of Digital Flagship, a student success program to incorporate learning technology throughout the university experience and increase student engagement and learning transformation — both inside and outside the classroom. For first-year student Brooke Lengacher, blending technology and learning together was as simple as taking a screenshot.

“I grew up around technology, so the iPad was easier for me to get used to,” said Lengacher. “I felt the iPad was going to be more helpful than buying another product because of my familiarity to Apple products. During my first semester, our exploration teachers taught us to use SelfService and other apps like Notability, One Note, Yuzu and Carmen in the classroom. The iPad has made it easy to access all the apps I need to complete my assignments and succeed, and it motivates me to do my homework because it’s technology related.”

The iPad Pros came equipped with an Apple pencil, smart keyboard, protective case and a suite of prepaid apps. Students keep their device for the duration of their time at Ohio State and are given ownership upon graduating. Every incoming Ohio State student has access to the same collection of shared tools, platforms and learning experiences.

Not only are students excited about the Digital Flagship Initiative, but advisors and faculty are thrilled about the new learning opportunities students have. “There is always something to learn. They have this amazing tool,” said Max Gulick, an academic advisor at Ohio State Newark, on how students can incorporate the iPad into their classes. “They can be diagramming along with professors. They can be following along with the steps on a video while doing a math problem. There are so many things they can do to supplement what they are doing in the classroom — if they open their mind to the possibilities.”

While the iPads are intended to aid students’ academic success, the iPads also prepare students for their career after college. Students are encouraged to customize their iPads to suit their school and personal needs. “I can take it wherever and can always be prepared. Outside the classroom, I have been able to use my iPad to apply to jobs and pay bills online. With not having my mom around as much, I set reminders to do things for in and outside the classroom. I am on my own now, and it helps keep me accountable in school and life,” said Lengacher.

With one-and-a-half semesters behind the initiative, students and faculty are continuing to discover new ways to incorporate the iPads into their classes. Many students are taking advantage of the different tools and abilities and gaining an advantage in their academics. Gulick wants students to learn how to leverage the iPad to compete with their peers. “If one student has all these tools at their disposal and can do all these amazing projects and knows how to go and pull research and one student doesn’t, the first student is going to be at an advantage academically and career wise,” said Gulick. “I don’t want anyone to fall behind. I want to make it easier for students to live up to their potential. I want the iPad to facilitate their success. I want to make it easier to go to college and iPads are making the college experience more interactive, efficient and engaging.“

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning come to life. Research, education abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.