Massive iPad deployment at OSU paying long-term dividends in higher education

Posted:
in iPad edited October 2018
Following the rollout to over 11,000 iPads to the 2018 freshman class, Ohio State University has started to see the benefits of their ambitious program including improvements in grades, higher campus engagement, and the eventual savings of millions of dollars for students.

Ohio State design lab


When The Ohio State University partnered with Apple to provide 65 thousand iPads over the next five years to its entire campus, it meant more than just giving each student a cool piece of tech. The deal marked a profound shift in university's investment in technology, one that would have far-reaching implications.

Announced in October of 2017, the partnership has Apple supplying hardware and software to students as Ohio State folds the devices into its curriculum. OSU also committed to building an iOS development laboratory for the school and the local community.

"This unique program will give students access to the incredible learning tools on iPad, as well as Apple's new coding curriculum that teaches critical skills for jobs in some of the country's fastest-growing sectors," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the time." I'm thrilled the broader central Ohio community will also have access to coding opportunities through Ohio State's new iOS Design Lab."

With the 2018 freshman class, Ohio State has started the rollout of iPads after a smaller trial run with a general chemistry class.

Ohio State's CIO Mike Hofherr sat down with AppleInsider at the annual Jamf Nation User Conference to talk about the progress of the rollout thus far.

During that trial, OSU noticed a few things that helped shape the program going forward. Initially, they saw that the best students in the class performed even better, while the lowest performing students started to do worse. OSU hit pause and delved deeper into how the tablets were impacting their studies.

What they learned was that some students had to not only learn the course material but learn how to use the tablets as well. Most everyone can use an iPad, but they are conditioned to use it to play games and stream videos instead of taking notes or learning to code.

So, the university spent time helping students learn how best to utilize the iPads, and when they hit resume, both the highest and lowest performing students all showed significant improvement.

My OSU app


As you'd expect with an iPad, the students have many options for use. Beyond the basics like note taking and multimedia capture, they can access Ohio State's learning management system called Carmen, plus the My OSU app which is designed to introduce new students to campus services, information, and more.

iPad roll-out

Each year will see a new class receive iPads, with the entire student body equipped with the tablets by year four. In total, the effort will see roughly 65,000 units in use after the four year deployment.

OSU doled out a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil, a case, and a keyboard to students in waves, issuing 250 kits a day for 60 days. The university saw only two technical issues throughout the entire process. At the end of their time at Ohio State, students get to keep their devices. Offering such a compelling benefit to students in the form of an iPad kit can be a winning proposition compared to other universities, so Ohio State is hoping for improved student retention as a result of the program.

So far, the response from students has been overwhelming. Out of the 11,500 students receiving the iPads so far -- 500 more than OSU was expecting -- only eight students said they'd prefer not to use the devices.

Course material, and textbook revolution

What may be most exciting for students though is the prospects for digital textbooks. Ohio State is working to get access to entire catalogs from publishers for students at a single, low price. This pay-once access may be a while off, so for the time being, there are still other substantial efforts OSU has put forth.

Starting with lower-level general education classes, OSU is looking to launch their own digital bookstore for much cheaper textbooks. In the chemistry class OSU trialed the digital initiative, students paid $20 for the digital copy of the course materials, rather than $250 for the physical copy.

Students at Ohio State alone spend $61 million a year on textbooks. To help teachers move to this new media quicker, Ohio State has launched the Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX). The new program supports efforts to replace expensive textbooks with open education resources. With this new initiative alone, OSU is expecting to reduce that number to $50 million in 2020 and $30 million by 2025, with the endgame being erasing it completely.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Solution to low rate of millennial voting: there’s an app for that. When States climb out of their dusty old voting laws and make voting online happen, millenials may vote at even HIGHER rates than others. Grandma and grandpa stuck with snail mail long after email had taken over. Problem is, Grandpas and Grandmas are making the decisions about how elections should be run. Demand voting for the 21st century NOW. 
    radarthekatdewmerob53jony0
  • Reply 2 of 20
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,395moderator
    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,455member
    Solution to low rate of millennial voting: there’s an app for that. When States climb out of their dusty old voting laws and make voting online happen, millenials may vote at even HIGHER rates than others. Grandma and grandpa stuck with snail mail long after email had taken over. Problem is, Grandpas and Grandmas are making the decisions about how elections should be run. Demand voting for the 21st century NOW. 
    Considering the awful state of online security these days I would NEVER accept online voting. In fact it could actually suppress voting. The Apple discussion forums are full of frantic requests from users on how to recover their Apple ID and passwords. Imagine the chaos of voters not being able to login to the voting site, dropped connections, poor WiFi, and a myriad of other glitches that would prevent someone from voting. The most poorly designed websites are always the government ones. The brick and mortar polls are bad enough as it is.
    edited October 2018 muthuk_vanalingambaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    lkrupp said:
    Solution to low rate of millennial voting: there’s an app for that. When States climb out of their dusty old voting laws and make voting online happen, millenials may vote at even HIGHER rates than others. Grandma and grandpa stuck with snail mail long after email had taken over. Problem is, Grandpas and Grandmas are making the decisions about how elections should be run. Demand voting for the 21st century NOW. 
    Considering the awful state of online security these days I would NEVER accept online voting. In fact it could actually suppress voting. The Apple discussion forums are full of frantic requests from users on how to recover their Apple ID and passwords. Imagine the chaos of voters not being able to login to the voting site, dropped connections, poor WiFi, and a myriad of other glitches that would prevent someone from voting. The most poorly designed websites are always the government ones. The brick and mortar polls are bad enough as it is.
    This from a grandpa:  Vote with ApplePay to handle the security, No?
    rob53watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20

    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    Yes!  The textbook industry needs disrupting... three grandkids attending college.
    rob53seanismorriswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,815member
    Using iPads in higher education seems like a no brainer decision so it’s good to see it rolling out at scale at a major university. Neutering the college textbook cartel seems like a tall order but I hope they can pull it off. The prices of college textbooks are borderline criminal, but they will gladly buy them back from you at about 10% of what you paid for them so they can resell them at 80% of list price. Sounds like a deal - for them. 

    Regarding online individual voting, it’s a great idea if they can provide a 100% foolproof authentication and nonrepudiation mechanism. Not to mention providing some sort of protection from coercion. The sad part is that even a less than perfect online system would probably still be provably better than the current system that is highly flawed and grotesquely manipulated in some regions. People hate change, especially older people, and traditions tend to live on despite being grossly inefficient and based more on ceremony than substance.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,642member
    lkrupp said:
    Solution to low rate of millennial voting: there’s an app for that. When States climb out of their dusty old voting laws and make voting online happen, millenials may vote at even HIGHER rates than others. Grandma and grandpa stuck with snail mail long after email had taken over. Problem is, Grandpas and Grandmas are making the decisions about how elections should be run. Demand voting for the 21st century NOW. 
    Considering the awful state of online security these days I would NEVER accept online voting. In fact it could actually suppress voting. The Apple discussion forums are full of frantic requests from users on how to recover their Apple ID and passwords. Imagine the chaos of voters not being able to login to the voting site, dropped connections, poor WiFi, and a myriad of other glitches that would prevent someone from voting. The most poorly designed websites are always the government ones. The brick and mortar polls are bad enough as it is.
    This from a grandpa:  Vote with ApplePay to handle the security, No?
    Second this motion. Handle voter registration the same way credit card authorization is handled with options for those without credit cards. As for on-line voting, taking it away from the corrupt voting systems employed right now would be an improvement. The biggest issue with on-line voting isn't online security but access by a larger number of voters than people realize. You see almost everyone with phones glued to their face (ear, mouth, etc) but there are a lot of eligible voters who don't have easy access to to a computer. Libraries usually have them but as we've seen recently, there would be plenty of states restricting access to "public" computers. We really shouldn't be required to register to vote anyway, because voting is a constitutional guarantee that everyone of age in this country has, less all those who aren't allowed because of a variety of reasons. Our various government entities already have almost everyone in their databases so we really don't need a separate one for voting, we just vote. The one benefit of online voting is immediate results, no way to challenge votes because all voters are already approved. This in itself would stop many states from approving the use of online voting because they feel the need to challenge all kinds of voters (since when is a street address number required to vote?). I've seen several (futuristic) movies where voting is done online and immediately so the idea is not new. It's just not controllable the way various governments want to control it.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    During that trial, OSU noticed a few things that helped shape the program going forward. Initially, they saw that the best students in the class performed even better, while the lowest performing students started to do worse. OSU hit pause and delved deeper into how the tablets were impacting their studies.
    What they learned was that some students had to not only learn the course material but learn how to use the tablets as well. Most everyone can use an iPad, but they are conditioned to use it to play games and stream videos instead of taking notes or learning to code. 
    So, the university spent time helping students learn how best to utilize the iPads, and when they hit resume, both the highest and lowest performing students all showed significant improvement.

    Nothing to do with the iPads, but the person in charge of this project deserves a medal.
    Andrew_OSUdewmesarricathttxsbaker75crabbywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    But....but....but....Chromebooks.
    sarricaapathy_foreverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 879member
    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    I have an iPad Pro and use it quite a bit, but hate it for this kind of thing. Tablets are simply awful replacements for pencil and paper or for textbooks. 
    It is not a matter of unlearning and adapting, they just suck like a Dyson for that purpose.

    And as a Michigan fan, I hope those iPads are waterproof. After Purdue spanked the Buckeyes on national TV Saturday they will be crying the rest of the season.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 466member, editor
    davgreg said:
    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    I have an iPad Pro and use it quite a bit, but hate it for this kind of thing. Tablets are simply awful replacements for pencil and paper or for textbooks. 
    It is not a matter of unlearning and adapting, they just suck like a Dyson for that purpose.

    And as a Michigan fan, I hope those iPads are waterproof. After Purdue spanked the Buckeyes on national TV Saturday they will be crying the rest of the season.
    The iPads have a lot more functionality than just taking notes or reading textbooks. Part is about the equality of some students having the means for such technology while others don't. They've also introduced Apple's coding curriculum this way, developed the My OSU app to help get the most out of their time there, not to mention the cost savings. Being able to offer digital books to everyone for $10 will save students a ton of money and allow everyone to take advantage of the technology.

    Many people, I included, actually prefer digital books rather than paper ones. I love being able to search them far faster than the physical counterpart. For those prefer physical ones, they could possibly print these pages out and get them bound, which is what they do for many textbooks on campus as-is. It may not be super cheap to do so, but less than $250 they'd normally pay.

    I also love taking notes on my iPad. I used to use my computer, but my iPad has been far more efficient. Again, searchable, I can annotate with the Apple Pencil, I can organize it, and so much easier to manage.

    No one is forcing students to use the iPads for notes either. They can continue to use paper and pencil. Heck, there are physical pads that you can scan into your iPad to digitize them and have the best of both worlds! But there is something to take into consideration that OSU touched on. Kids don't know how to use iPads for these productivity tasks, giving some the impression that you have. That is what caused some to do worse initially. After they learned and OSU helped them learn how to use the iPads, even the worst performing students started doing better.

    And by the way... O-H!
    Rayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,259administrator
    davgreg said:
    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    I have an iPad Pro and use it quite a bit, but hate it for this kind of thing. Tablets are simply awful replacements for pencil and paper or for textbooks. 
    It is not a matter of unlearning and adapting, they just suck like a Dyson for that purpose.

    And as a Michigan fan, I hope those iPads are waterproof. After Purdue spanked the Buckeyes on national TV Saturday they will be crying the rest of the season.
    I'm not excited about the iPad as a pen and paper replacement, but completely disagree with you on textbooks and other learning & reading materials.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,328member
    davgreg said:
    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    I have an iPad Pro and use it quite a bit, but hate it for this kind of thing. Tablets are simply awful replacements for pencil and paper or for textbooks. 
    It is not a matter of unlearning and adapting, they just suck like a Dyson for that purpose.
    If all the paper and pencil are being used for is rote copying of notes that a teacher is writing/showing during class, then I'd argue that providing digital copies of the teacher's presentations would free up students to actually be engaged in the class and the material being presented rather than simply copying information from one place to another.
    dewmeMacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    thttht Posts: 4,031member
    I’m all in on tablets (iPad Pro) replacing pen, pencil, paper, notebooks, textbooks, laptops and desktops. Well, not replacing, just having the functionality and features to do all those things, so it is possible for someone to do it that way.

    For some types of things, you may need two, or even three, tablets to have an “open book plus taking notes or doing homework” type of thing, so I’m not saying just one either.

    Hopefully Wikipedia will continue to add and add content until most textbooks can be replaced. Or if Apple wants to, they can host a community provided curriculum material.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,031member
    davgreg said:
    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    I have an iPad Pro and use it quite a bit, but hate it for this kind of thing. Tablets are simply awful replacements for pencil and paper or for textbooks. 
    It is not a matter of unlearning and adapting, they just suck like a Dyson for that purpose.

    And as a Michigan fan, I hope those iPads are waterproof. After Purdue spanked the Buckeyes on national TV Saturday they will be crying the rest of the season.
    I'm not excited about the iPad as a pen and paper replacement, but completely disagree with you on textbooks and other learning & reading materials.
    Heh. I’m completely the other way! I find it infuriating having having the same device for reading and note taking. Flicking back and forth between apps all the time drives me nuts. 

    There something about eBooks which seems less then optimal to me. Maybe it is all that context switching you have to do when you have an AIO like the iPad. 

    Taking notes on the iPad OTOH is great. I just use it as a straight pencil and paper replacement and that seems to work fine for me. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Los Angeles school district tried this ~4 years ago with a huge upfront cost and disastrous results. The Super was canned. Looks like he should have done a much better job making it part of a larger system. Also, maybe this level of tech is largely wasted at HS level.
    edited October 2018
  • Reply 17 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,259administrator
    crabby said:
    Los Angeles school district tried this ~4 years ago with a huge upfront cost and disastrous results. The Super was canned. Looks like he should have done a much better job making it part of a larger system. Also, maybe this level of tech is largely wasted at HS level.
    Yeah, the contrasts are clear. LAUSD basically just dropped the hardware down with no training, no support, crappy course materials, and told the educators to make it work, to say nothing of how the contract was sourced. OSU appears to have learned from that debacle.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    crabby said:
    Los Angeles school district tried this ~4 years ago with a huge upfront cost and disastrous results. The Super was canned. Looks like he should have done a much better job making it part of a larger system. Also, maybe this level of tech is largely wasted at HS level.
    Yeah, the contrasts are clear. LAUSD basically just dropped the hardware down with no training, no support, crappy course materials, and told the educators to make it work, to say nothing of how the contract was sourced. OSU appears to have learned from that debacle.
    Also, hardware and software has evolved in four years. No one so far has mentioned that these are iPad Pros, not cheap iPads. Think - four years ago on iPads no Pencil (only cheap styluses), smaller not so good as quality screens, and no side-by-side split screen apps with drag and drop capability nor iCloud Drive. I think these four improvements dramatically increase the usefulness in a university learning environment. 
  • Reply 19 of 20
    thttht Posts: 4,031member
    djsherly said:
    davgreg said:
    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    I have an iPad Pro and use it quite a bit, but hate it for this kind of thing. Tablets are simply awful replacements for pencil and paper or for textbooks. 
    It is not a matter of unlearning and adapting, they just suck like a Dyson for that purpose.

    And as a Michigan fan, I hope those iPads are waterproof. After Purdue spanked the Buckeyes on national TV Saturday they will be crying the rest of the season.
    I'm not excited about the iPad as a pen and paper replacement, but completely disagree with you on textbooks and other learning & reading materials.
    Heh. I’m completely the other way! I find it infuriating having having the same device for reading and note taking. Flicking back and forth between apps all the time drives me nuts. 

    There something about eBooks which seems less then optimal to me. Maybe it is all that context switching you have to do when you have an AIO like the iPad. 

    Taking notes on the iPad OTOH is great. I just use it as a straight pencil and paper replacement and that seems to work fine for me. 
    Dual screen clamshells are coming, where both sides of the clamshell will have touchscreen display. Ie, like two iPads hinged together hinged together like a book or a clamshell. Eventually folding displays will mean it will just be all one continuous surface that can be folded, but two displays are coming in a meaningful way soon. Not concept demos, but real products. 

    One side will have a software keyboard and trackpad, or note taking surface, and the other side will display apps. So, a student can take notes on the horizontal display while apps, information, videos, whatever are on the vertical display.

  • Reply 20 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,380member
    auxio said:
    davgreg said:
    Apple disrupting yet another industry: college textbooks.  Without even directly taking action.
    I have an iPad Pro and use it quite a bit, but hate it for this kind of thing. Tablets are simply awful replacements for pencil and paper or for textbooks. 
    It is not a matter of unlearning and adapting, they just suck like a Dyson for that purpose.
    If all the paper and pencil are being used for is rote copying of notes that a teacher is writing/showing during class, then I'd argue that providing digital copies of the teacher's presentations would free up students to actually be engaged in the class and the material being presented rather than simply copying information from one place to another.
    OT but totally agree with you on that.  Any teacher/lecturer that thinks teaching is accomplished by writing screeds of text on a blackboard then sitting reading while student laboriously copy it all down should be fired.  One of my degrees is a Bachelor of Education so I know a little bit about teaching even though long since changed professions.
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