IT@OSU 2019 Year In Review

When we deliver technology solutions, our mission is to provide the foundational resources to innovate the ways Buckeyes teach, learn and work at the university. Those resources come in many forms and our goal is to provide more than just software. This year we worked to deliver the knowledge and tools to allow the university to continually grow in a way that aligns to our shared values.

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Woman working on a laptop in a coffee shop

Distance Education

Did you know that over 22,000 Ohio State students took at least one distance learning course during our autumn 2019 term? Ohio State invests in online learning to meet students where they are. Life is increasingly more complex for our students, who have many competing responsibilities. Online programs increase our ability to serve those for whom traditional programs aren't a fit, while providing the same academic rigor as on-ground programs.

Growing in Quality Every Year

Ohio State In Top 3 Online Programs

Man working at a desk at home with a laptop

U.S. News and World Report placed Ohio State among the best for online undergraduate education for 2019. Ohio State’s online courses and programs are taught by the same faculty who teach on campus, meaning every student gets the full Buckeye experience.

Social Work Grows Online Master's Program

Dean Tom Gregoire speaks to the crowd in Mershon Auditorium at the College of Social Work's Evening of Recognition commencement event in May 2019

Dean Tom Gregoire of the College of Social Work is all about meeting students where they are. That’s why the college’s Master of Social Work grew to nearly 300 students in less than two years. The MSW program is high-touch, supportive environment for students all across the country.

Online Certificates Alleviates Nursing Shortages

Nurse with a disabled child

Currently, only about 10% of registered nurses work in the primary care field. For an aging population, in Ohio and beyond, there is a significant need for more nurses to help with chronic disease management. To respond to this nationwide need, the College of Nursing recently introduced the online Registered Nurses in Primary Care certificate, created specifically to prepare registered nurses to work in the primary care setting.

Earn Global One Health Certificate Online

Man on a wagon pulled by a donkey

Ohio State’s distance education initiatives are reaching across the globe. More than 19,000 enrollments have been logged for our Global One Health collection of open online courses, which are free and open to the public through the Canvas Network. Courses in this college range from Media Writing and Editing to Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare.

Online Degree Enables Continuing Work on Farm

Online student Randall Moores with his family on his farm

After serving in the Army for seven years, Randall Moores and his wife Connie decided to move back home to northeast Ohio to raise their children and restart their family farm using sustainable farming methods. With his family, farm and career all in Ashtabula county it wasn't feasible for him to attend school in person, so Moores enrolled in the online Master of Plant Health Management program to ensure his farm’s success.

Student using a laptop in public space

Enterprise Security

While technology professionals across the university continue managing the health of data centers and servers, we recognize data is increasingly housed with third-party “cloud” providers. Because people access this data from wherever they are using mobile phones and tablets, the focus of enterprise security is shifting from protecting systems to protecting individuals.

Projects that Make Our Systems More Secure

C4U: A New Way to Learn About Cybersecurity

Hands holding a tablet with the word 'training' above it

The new Cybersecurity for You (C4U) awareness platform shows users how to adopt safe practices to secure both personal information and university data. User input ensures it addresses the most common questions and pain points our users have about cybersecurity. C4U has had more than 2,000 unique visitors so far.

Email Security Gateway Reduces Unwanted Messages

Hacker using a laptop

Phishing is a growing problem – we received more than 1800 reports for just one phishing email that users received in 2019! Ohio State’s email security gateway blocks emails that are malicious and routes spam to users’ junk folders. This year we improved the gateway so users receive fewer unwanted messages and have a lower risk of account compromise.

IT Partners Across Campus Achieve "3 and Green"

Finger pressing a lock icon on a tablet

2013 was the first year that each unit across the university submitted information to an Information Security Risk Survey. We defined 5 levels of compliance, with a goal of reaching level 3 within 5 years. In 2019 we celebrated those who reached the Level 3 goal by the end of 2018.

Collaborating to Address Customer Needs

2019 Cybersecurity Days

Cybersecurity Days in the Grand Ballroom of The Ohio Union

Each fall, Enterprise Security presents Cybersecurity Days, Ohio State’s largest annual cybersecurity learning opportunity for IT professionals and end users to collaborate and learn. In 2019, the event attracted participants from 87% of Ohio State’s colleges and business units. Attendees enjoyed three days packed full of content, including tips to protect their digital lives at home and at work, discussions with technology leaders, and deep dives into technical topics.

Third-Party Software Collaboration with BTAA

Group of people collaborating and using laptops

Many universities struggle to balance thoroughness of security reviews of third-party software with completing the process at a speed that allows internal customers to meet their goals. This year we took a lead role when the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Chief Information Security Officers joined forces and developed an innovative approach to increase transparency and collaboration. Implementation began this fall, with plans for the platform to be functional in early 2020.

Defining Ohio State's Privacy Program

Ohio State’s Privacy Program is a collaboration of all university departments, led by Enterprise Security, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, and the Office of University Compliance and Integrity. Last year we made great strides in creating privacy best practices, to cultivate our community's long-standing trust that Ohio State collects, uses, and shares personal information transparently and appropriately. In 2019 university business units created a well-defined plan that outlines the importance of privacy to our operations and reputation. We have worked to articulated Privacy Principles and to outline a roadmap for maturing our privacy protections through 2023 and beyond. We also partnered with Penn State in co-chairing a new BTAA working group, which includes members from 12 schools!

Brutus on Mobile Design Lab in a parade

Learning Technology

User feedback drives actionable roadmaps to continually improve IT services and processes. Digital Flagship continues to be a key initiative, this year adding the new Mobile Design Lab to offer training and support services. Digital Flagship is also offering a Swift Coding and App Development Certificate to anyone at the university who is interested in learning more about app development and coding. In addition to Digital Flagship, we completed numerous projects this year to establish partnerships that meet the need of business units and colleges across the university.

CarmenBooks: Saving Students Money

CarmenBooks Featured at Conference

Innovate conference in the Grand Ballroom of The Ohio Union

The Ohio State University's College of Social Work's pilot of CarmenBooks is just one example of the groundbreaking approaches to educating with technology that we highlighted at the 10th annual Innovate Conference. CarmenBooks is part of the Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX), which aims to reach $10 million in savings by end of the 2020 calendar year.

BOT Expands CarmenBooks

Cash tucked into a wallet

Ohio State’s Board of Trustees (BOT) knows that higher education is expensive enough—textbooks shouldn’t contribute to that financial burden. This year, the BOT approved an expansion of CarmenBooks, a program that offers digital textbooks at a discount. We expect this expansion to positively affect more than 11,000 students in 32 courses and nine colleges and departments, resulting in total savings to students of more than $1 million.

Continuing Our Tradition of Innovation

New to the ODEE Toolset: CarmenZoom

People on a web conference call

We added CarmenZoom as an academic web conferencing tool this year. It has many applications for students and staff — such as video calls with colleagues; hosting webinars; collaborating on group projects and study sessions; virtual office hours; and connecting with loved ones back home. Zoom allows for meetings with up to 300 participants, provides 180 days of cloud storage for recorded meetings, and automatically adds closed-captioning for recordings.

ExamSoft Digital Assessment Platform

Students using tablets in class

Ohio State launched ExamSoft’s suite of software to provide a powerful solution for high-stake assessment needs, to make in-class testing easier and to offer a more efficient process for exam creation, exam delivery, grading and recording scores. More than 7,500 students used ExamSoft in Autumn 2019, completing an estimated 93,528 assessments using the tool.

Online Course Celebrating 150 Years

Ohio State Stadium Rotunda

Our teams specialize in creating online learning, which gave us an excellent opportunity to contribute to the university’s sesquicentennial celebration. We collaborated with the Sesquicentennial Office to create and launch Buckeye Biography: 150 Years of Ohio State. A total of 1443 learners enrolled in the course this fall and 100 have completed it so far.

Hands using an iPad with an Apple Pencil

Information Technology

Technology is constantly changing, and the tools we are using today will be retired in the coming years as vendors introduce new and better applications. In 2019 we improved numerous tools, in part by increasing our use of the ever-increasing number of cloud services. Our goal for university IT is to make technology easy and effective for everyone at Ohio State.

Expanding Our Tool Set

Microsoft Teams

Team reviewing a document

Microsoft Teams is now available to all faculty, staff, students and guests at Ohio State. Teams brings together people, conversations and content, integrating useful tools for easy collaboration.

Skype for Business

Man wearing a headset while working on a computer

Over the course of three years, the Skype for Business project team has migrated more than 11,000 faculty and staff users to the service replacing physical phones with a suite of state-of-the-art communication tools.


Student at Ohio State Graduation

With thousands of students graduating each term from countries across the globe, there is a risk of pronunciation mistakes may happen at commencement. Ohio State values every student, and uses technology tools like NameCoach to minimize errors.

Cloud Computing Expands Options

Get to Know Tableau

Man analyzing a wall of data

The Ohio State community learned more about documenting data at Tableau Days, which Ohio State hosted twice this year. Tableau experts were on hand to share best practices for empowering analysts, students and educators with data.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Hands using a mobile device

Ohio State recently added Adobe Creative Cloud Service to our library of site-licensed software, a collection of software OCIO offers to the university community at no cost. Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of integrated tools that includes Spark, Photoshop and Acrobat, just to name a few.

Enterprise Project Transforms Processes

Transforming Our Business with Workday

Ohio State Enterprise Project Team

The Enterprise Project is a business transformation and system implementation that will affect the more than 36,000 faculty and staff at Ohio State. The project leverages Workday and other enterprise technologies to advance Ohio State’s Time and Change strategic plan and teaching, research, service and patient care missions. In 2019, we completed development of processes in Workday, engaged the campus community through user previews and demonstrations and piloted “HR Connection,” a new shared service center for human resources across the Ohio State community.

Expanded Services

MITS Partnerships Drive Improvements

People using various mobile devices collaborating in a conference room

Understanding the goals and challenges of end users drives day-to-day technology operations and gives us the opportunity for big-picture analysis of the processes and services users are interacting with every day. With more university partners receiving Managed IT Services (MITS), we are enhancing our focus on service improvement through user feedback. We currently manage IT Services for 17 colleges/business units and provide network management for five additional partners.

Ohio State AWS Expands

Ohio State mug on a desk next to a laptop and tablet

Last year, Ohio State adopted Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide secure, scalable and cost-effective computing, storage and database services. Faculty and staff can use the service for things like research projects, web application hosting, archival file storage and analytics. This year, we upgraded our support so users can consult 1:1 with an AWS technical account manager regarding any general issues related to Ohio State AWS.

Introduction of IT Academy

Group of people at a workshop

IT professionals across the university are always trying to sharpen their skills. This year we rolled out a new program to help, called IT Academy. The academy is the direct result of feedback from distributed IT professionals who want resources to continue building knowledge and skills that will allow them to continue to provide high-quality support while adapting to rapidly changing technology. The program offers a collection of self-paced and curated educational resources designed to support the diverse learning needs of the entire university technology community.

Striving for Digital Accessibility

Hands using an accessible keyboard

Last fall, the President’s Cabinet and Senior Management Council approved a new Digital Accessibility Policy to achieve full digital accessibility at Ohio State. We’re working to build an environment where everyone can use content on Ohio State’s websites, web applications and digital offerings. 71 Accessibility Coordinators across the university have volunteered to move this initiative forward, ensuring that Ohio State can continue to proficiently serve its diverse population of faculty, staff and students who have varying abilities of hearing, movement, sight and cognition.

Wireless Expansion Continues

Student using a mobile device at a bus stop on campus

We have been continuously working to improve wireless connectivity at Ohio State. We’ve added thousands of access points throughout the academic year, and have even more work planned through 2020. Major areas of focus included the Ohio Stadium, high-capacity classrooms on Columbus and regional campuses, several outdoor locations and our extension offices in counties across Ohio. During our fall football home opener on August 31, our wireless network transferred 13.3 terabytes of data. To put that into perspective, the only sporting events that saw higher volumes of wireless activity were Super Bowls and NCAA Final Four events.

Improving Our Collaboration Methods

Office 365 Transformation

Mobile device with illustrated collaboration icons floating above it

Microsoft’s Office 365 full product suite — which includes over 20 applications — became available this year. This includes thoughtful and comprehensive changes to improve email that will continue into 2020. All of these changes are part of an important journey to provide faculty, students and staff with the tools and resources to effectively communicate and collaborate in a mobile and secure way.

Access Email on Outlook Mobile

Finger pressing a tablet with illustrated envelops floating above it

This summer, the Office of the Chief Information Officer released Outlook Mobile. We will move exclusively to Outlook in 2020. Monitoring a myriad of potential weaknesses — across 50 commonly used email applications and half a million email accounts — dilutes our ability to monitor and respond to risks. Best of all, Outlook Mobile not only improves security, but also enhances the search functions you use to find files, contacts and emails.

Thank you for viewing! We look forward to another great year in 2020.

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