Technology Kit Distributions Go the Distance

A Digital Flagship staff member passes a backpack containing an iPad kit out of a window to an Ohio State student.

Digital Flagship’s technology kit distributions had a new challenge this year: distance. As physical distancing requirements shaped the pickup experience for in-person students, distance learners and regional campus students received iPad kits to connect them to the Buckeye family without setting foot on campus.

These measures supported the wider university effort for a safe and healthy start to the autumn semester. Throughout three weeks of distributions, 8,676 incoming students stopped by a pickup window at St. John Arena at a pre-scheduled time to receive their iPad kit. Masks, hand sanitizer and physical distancing measures protected the health of staff and students during the low-contact pickup. Devices shipped directly to the homes of more than 3,370 students around the country.

A student approaches a Digital Flagship pickup window after waiting on a marker for six feet of distance from other students.

A Digital Flagship staff member passes a backpack containing an iPad kit out of a window to an Ohio State student.

In previous years, students would set up their new technology under the supervision of Digital Flagship’s staff and Student Mentors. While students had to set up their iPads by themselves, Digital Flagship bridged the distance virtually so students were never on their own. While staff focused on getting iPads in the hands of more than 12,000 students, a team of Student Mentors supported their peers remotely using the tech tutoring chat service. The team also expertly integrated support and guidance directly into the iPad setup experience so that the iPad itself offered the students direction and support through the process.

Student Mentors have handled more than 300 requests so far, helping with questions from how to sign into CarmenCanvas to how to pair an Apple Pencil with an iPad. Chatting with students through Microsoft Teams, a collaboration app used across Ohio State, allows Student Mentors to assist with issues large and small and get students back to using their tech sooner.

“Sometimes a small problem can feel immense when you have other stressors in your life, like starting college during a pandemic. Knowing I could bring even a little bit of relief to a student is extremely rewarding.” – Student Mentor Grace Balzer

But the tech tutoring doesn’t stop once students have their iPad up and running. In fact, Student Mentors can assist with using apps and programs offered to Ohio State students whether it’s on an iPad or not.

“Something I think students would be surprised to know they can get help with through tech tutoring is a vast amount of tips and tricks to make their use of digital tools more efficient. There are so many great tools offered through Ohio State and through free apps, and students need only ask to take advantage of what is available.” – Student Mentor Matthew Ayers

The tech tutoring service will continue to operate Monday to Friday while classes are in session. Got a tech question? Ask away!