Changes to Digital Flagship

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Why was this decision made?

Ohio State launched Digital Flagship in 2017 as a visionary initiative to advance educational innovation and integrate technology throughout the classroom experience. We have learned much from this initiative, just as much has changed over the past few years, including shifting student technology needs driven by remote teaching and learning during the pandemic. Looking ahead, we must consider how to meet the new and various needs of our students in a sustainable way while remaining committed to digital access. Therefore, we have made the decision to evolve the Digital Flagship program in its current form and transition beyond a universal iPad program for undergraduate students to an initiative that is more holistically centered around digital equity, skill building, and workforce development. The goal is to provide access to the tools and technology that will best enable each student to be successful in their unique programs.

Will Digital Flagship continue as a university program without device distribution?

Although the Digital Flagship initiative is evolving, the university will continue to offer digital literacy programs that began as part of the initiative. Students, faculty and staff can still leverage the Design Lab at COhatch Gateway to inspire creativity, ignite new skills and foster relationships. Ohio State will continue to help up-skill and modernize Ohio’s workforce through offerings like the Swift Coding and App Development Certificate. Students will still be able to receive peer-to-peer help navigating the tech tools and programs at Ohio State through the Tech Tutoring service.

Where should I go for support, and how do I access these new resources?

  • Adobe Creative Cloud: Access to Adobe Creative Cloud will expand to all Ohio State undergraduate, graduate and professional students and will be available in June 2022. More information will be shared about the Adobe license request process on
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: The VDI pilot will expand university wide by autumn 2022. At that time students, faculty and staff will be able to login to VDI and experience a full Windows desktop with defined applications from the site licensed software catalog. Read additional information about access to VDI for students. 
  • Microcredentials, certificates and professional certificates: We are working to build our offerings for students, faculty and staff to upskill in critical technology areas. Information about specific offerings will be available in the near future.
  • Multi-device loaner pool: Information about loaning a laptop or tablet for short-term or program-length loan will be available at prior to the start of the autumn 2022 term.
  • Instructional support: Resources for instructors are available at
  • Student device recommendations: For personal assistance with laptop and tablet decisions, please email Tech Hub directly at One of their technology specialists will be happy to help you. Students may also consult Tech Hub's Laptop Decision Guide or their department or college.

Will students with current devices retain them?

Yes. Students who have already received devices from Digital Flagship will retain them.

Will student devices continue to be supported through the initiative?

Yes, students can continue to seek support from the IT Service Desk, AppleCare+ (for three years), and via Digital Flagship resources.

What if I haven’t picked up my iPad yet but I am eligible?

Eligible SP22 students can continue receiving their technology kits through the end of the spring 2022 semester by submitting a ticket to the Digital Flagship support team.


Previously eligible students who enrolled for the first time at Ohio State prior to SP22 but did not pick up their iPad are no longer eligible to receive a new technology kit.

Will transfer students who transfer into an eligible cohort in future years still receive iPads?

No. New students beginning at the university in spring 2022 will be the last cohort to receive iPads.

What if I previously unenrolled from the university but am returning?

Returning undergraduate students who were previously eligible for an iPad will not have an iPad redistributed to them.

Will College Credit Plus students still be eligible for access to an iPad?

College Credit Plus (CCP) students will not be eligible for access to an iPad beginning in summer 2022.

What if I have a loaner iPad?

iPads provided on loan should be returned at the agreed upon date as planned. OTDI’s supply of devices available for loan program will continue to be available to assist students without access to a personal computing device with semester and program-duration technology access needs.

Will students get help if they do not have access to technology?

Students without access to a personal computing device on a semester or program duration basis will be able to take advantage of OTDI’s supply of devices available for loan. We will also pilot new approaches, including a technology readiness survey for new students and a refurbishing program that will extend the life of our existing devices to support more students.

What software will students continue to have access to?

Students will continue to have access to the Ohio State toolset. After May 11, 2022, students will experience some changes to software access on their iPad. After that point students will no longer access apps through the “Self-Service” app but can continue to download apps from the App Store.  Beginning in June 2022, students will also have access to the full Adobe Creative Suite. More information will be shared about the Adobe license request process on

After May 11, students will no longer have access to the Explain Everything app but can take advantage of other alternative solutions. Additionally, students who began at Ohio State in autumn 2021 and spring 2022 will no longer have free access to Notability (a note-taking app) but can take advantage of Microsoft OneNote. In both cases, students should take action to backup and transfer their materials from Explain Everything and Notability by May 11.

Who will have access to Adobe Creative Cloud?

All current students in the Ohio State community will have an opportunity to request an Adobe Creative license beginning in June 2022.

When will Adobe Creative Cloud become available and how do I request it?

Adobe Creative Cloud will become available for students beginning in June 2022. More information about how to request a license will appear on

Do students still get Notability?

Ohio State is no longer able to provide Notability due to changes to the app's pricing model and the end of remote management for Digital Flagship technology kits. Additional note-taking resources, including OneNote, can be leveraged on any device are already available to Ohio State students. The OneNote app is included in the access to Microsoft 365 provided to all Ohio State students and can be used as an alternative to Notability.

What is a virtual desktop and when can I take advantage of it?

The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) tool allows students, faculty and staff to virtually access software applications from any device, anytime, and anywhere. VDI expands access to software resources with enhanced flexibility to enrich teaching and learning and enables opportunities for program growth. Recently initial pilots were completed by OTDI, College of Engineering, and College of Arts and Sciences for various applications, including CAD software, numerical simulations and data visualization.

By autumn 2022, the pilot will expand to the rest of the university. At that time students, faculty, and staff will be able to login to VDI and experience a full Windows desktop with defined applications from the site licensed software catalog. Additional information about access to VDI for students will be provided on as we approach autumn 2022.

If my class (as a student) has activities planned that require an iPad, what should I do?

To ensure continuity, we are identifying courses that have integrated the tablets and cannot adjust to a device-agnostic approach by the start of the fall 2022 semester. To support these courses, we will allocate tablets to colleges to ensure they can be used by students in our learning spaces.

I’ve redesigned my courses with the iPad in mind, how should I adjust?

There are resources across the university to support you as you consider adaptions to current assignments designed for a common technology. Specific resources have been curated on the Digital Flagship Educators page.

Additionally, The Teaching and Learning Resource Center provides a wealth of information to assist you in reimagining assignments and assessments in your classroom. You can also find upcoming learning opportunities and workshops on the site. The Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning also provides teaching tools and resources that may be useful as you transition.

If I’m leaving the university before graduation, do I still need to purchase or return my iPad?

If your iPad kit has not yet fully depreciated in value (you received your device less than two years ago), you will still need to purchase or return the iPad kit if you leave the university to avoid tax implications, as agreed upon in the Student Technology Agreement. Notification and instructions for returning or purchasing a device are emailed to students when they unenroll.

If providing a common device to support student learning was one of the key initiatives of Digital Flagship, how does discontinuing the Digital Flagship program align with the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts related to access?

Technology access and digital skills training remain priorities for the university. As such, a supply of devices for semester or program-duration loan will be available for those who do not have access to a personal computing device. We will pilot new approaches, including a technology readiness survey for incoming undergraduate students, a service for on-demand device borrowing, and a refurbishing program that will extend the life of our existing devices to support more students. In addition, OTDI will continue to offer and expand flexible and integrated programming to support students in building digital skills and becoming digital creators.

Will I still be eligible to get a replacement case for my autumn 2021 iPad if needed?

If the case you received in summer 2021 or autumn 2021 makes it difficult to charge your Apple Pencil, you will be eligible to receive a replacement. Replacement cases are available by request at Columbus Tech Hub or at regional campus IT offices.

Get Help

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I'm taking a leave of absence. Can I keep my technology kit?

You can keep your kit for one semester outside of the university (not counting summers) if you submit a ticket to say that you will return next term. If you do not enroll in classes for the next semester, you will be charged for your technology kit unless you return it. 

What happens to my iPad when I graduate?

When you complete a degree program at Ohio State, the full iPad kit is yours to keep for free. The management software has already been remotely removed from your iPad, but you may need to reset your iPad if you see a message about management in the settings menu. Before resetting your iPad, back up files from your device to make sure you can keep them for future use. Learn more about backing up data from apps on your iPad. You can back up your data to any cloud service, like iCloud, OneDrive (which you have access to for two years post-graduation) or Google Drive. You will not be able to restore from a full iCloud backup as it will install the management software again. Please set your iPad up as a new device and wait until reaching the home screen before signing into your Apple ID.

For more support, guidance on backing up and storing files is available through Tech Tutoring or by contacting the IT Service Desk

What should I do if I find an iPad?

If you find an iPad, please contact the IT Service Desk (614-688-4357) to determine if it is a Digital Flagship device and receive return instructions.

Current Students

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Am I eligible for an iPad?

Digital Flagship is no longer distributing iPad technology kits. Please see information about changes made to the program for more details. 

Do I have to pay for the technology kit?

Incoming eligible students do not have to pay to receive the iPad kit. There is no upfront cost, and you will be able to keep your iPad and accessories free of charge once you complete a degree program. If you withdraw from Ohio State before completing a degree program, you will be asked to purchase the technology kit for its depreciated value or return it to the university

Funding for the Digital Flagship program comes through Ohio State's focus on efficiencies within operational costs, creating a central pool of funds to be used for this student-focused initiative. More information can be found on the Office of Business and Finance website.

Can I take the iPad home over breaks?

Yes. You're welcome to take the device home with you over breaks. 

Who owns the devices?

The devices will be university property while you're at Ohio State.  When you graduate all Ohio State management will be removed and ownership of the device will transfer to you. 

What if I withdraw or transfer from Ohio State?

If you withdraw or transfer from Ohio State you will be required to return the equipment and all related accessories, or purchase the equipment at its depreciated value as established by the university.

Return and Purchase Instructions


How do I get help with my iPad if it's not working?

If you're having a technical issue with your iPad or it's been damaged or stolen, check our 'Get Help' page to find out who to contact.


What if I need to use assistive technology?

There are many ways to configure your iPad to meet your needs. We will provide resources as we near device deployments this summer. 

The Office of Disability Services is also available to help any student with assistive technology needs. 

Apple also has a variety of accessibility resources linked to iPad.