Digital First Initative

The Beginning

In the spring of 2012, Ohio State embarked on an ambitious project to revolutionize education, research, and outreach across our campus. The university recognized the need for technology in the changing landscape of higher education. In order to make Ohio State a global leader in the 21st century delivery of modern education, members from the Learning Technology team at the Office of the Chief Information Officer partnered with Apple to launch the Digital First Initiative, which introduced innovative and mobile technology to the university in order to change the way we teach, learn and research at Ohio State.

Although the partnership ended in 2014, the Digital First mission continues today. It has since expanded into Learning Technology at Ohio State. 


From 2012-2014, the Digital First initiative successfully:

  • Established a new standard for technology in all classrooms across campus
    • Upgraded wireless capacity to support up to three connections per seat
  • 70 public iTunes U Courses; 30 private iTunes U Courses
  • Produced 20 digital books facilitated by Digital First staff
  • Awarded three Digital First Impact Grants
    • 135 iPads deployed
    • 530 hours of ODEE training and consultation
  • numerous iTunes U Bootcamps around the country
  • More than 70 iPads rolled out with FYE, STEP etc.
  • Countless faculty consultations

We collaborated on a Digital Impact Grant where we expanded our initial iTunes U course to four additional courses as part of the OSU Ethiopia One Health project and launched 40 iPads to Ohio State and eastern African partners. We travelled to Ethiopia jointly and convened successful orientation programs to lead a public health initiative. Wondwossen Gebreyes, Professor and Director, Global Health Programs

Present and Future

The Digital First Initiative helped kick-off redesigning the campus experience at Ohio State by optimizing wireless and classroom technology, inspiring instructors to offer engaging digital content, and enhancing the student experience from enrollment to graduation and beyond.

Since launching in 2012, ODEE worked with Apple and the Ohio State community to develop and deliver mobile solutions for anytime, any-place learning. ODEE offers a variety of support and training options, from  the Teaching and Learning Resource Center to workshops, cohort programs, grants and individual consultations, to help instructors use technology for improved learning outcomes.

Although the Digital First Initiative was a two-year project, the Learning Technology and Learning Experience Teams at ODEE are striving to continue delivering an enhanced student experience on campus at Ohio State. LT at Ohio State will continue to build and expand on the existing programs, provide continued faculty support, develop more opportunities to create open resources, and continue to explore new avenues and support the technology landscape on campus. 

With more changes forthcoming, stay tuned to see how the student and campus experience will continue to evolve at Ohio State.

Learn more about Digital First in our iBook Digital First: Enhancing Teaching, Learning and Research at Ohio State.