IT Year in Review 2020-2021

IT Year in Review 2020-2021

As we start the new academic year, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on everything we accomplished in 2020-21. When delivering technology solutions, our mission is to provide the foundational resources to innovate the ways Buckeyes teach, learn and work at Ohio State. Those resources come in many forms, and are integral to delivering the tools to allow the university to continually grow in a way that aligns with our shared values.

Distance Education  |  Information Technology  |  Instructional Support  |  Learning Technology  |  Pandemic Response

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.

U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs Grad Nursing 2021 Badge

Online Nursing Master's Program earns No. 3 ranking

U.S. News & World Report ranked Ohio State’s online Master of Science in Nursing as one of the top three in the nation overall and awarded it the second highest rating among public institutions for 2021. Two of the program’s specialties are also ranked among the top four nationally, with the Nursing Practitioner – Psychiatric Mental Health, Across the Lifespan specialty ranked No. 3.

Be A State Authorization Hero video thumbnail

Why State Authorization is important to you

State authorization is a complex topic. The video Be a State Authorization Hero! from the Office of Distance Education and eLearning is an excellent first introduction to state authorization for new faculty and staff and serves as a great reminder for those who have some familiarity with state authorization about its importance to students and to the university.

360-degree virtual field trip to Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory

Weed ecology lab gets a 360-degree virtual makeover

ODEE worked with instructor Bruce Ackley to redesign part of the fully online Master in Plant Health Management degree program, creating an entire field trip as an experience online. Using 360-degree video technology, students can experience six different sites—forest, a border site, turf, a vegetable garden and pasture—all without having to worry about the weather.

Hands pointing to a map of the United States

State Authorization 101 Training wins national award

The WCET State Authorization Network (SAN) presented Ohio State with a national SANsational Award in recognition of the Office of Distance Education and eLearning’s State Authorization 101 faculty and staff training program as an innovative compliance solution. WCET is an organization that enables institutions to collaborate to navigate regulatory compliance. 

Student George Bevan stands on a street in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Ohio State Online students share their schedules

We talked to Buckeyes in three different online programs who took us through a day in their lives balancing full-time jobs, their hobbies and their health as they take asynchronous and synchronous online classes.


Instructor Kim Young plays the drums for her students.

Videos add personality and depth to online classes

Getting to know her studentsand having her students get to know heris a priority for instructor Kim Young. Though apprehensive about being on camera before teaching in the online Master of Public Affairs and Leadership program, she quickly found a way to build connections and add flair to her teachingYoung's story is part of a series highlighting the lesser-known benefits of Ohio State’s distance learning classes.

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. This past year, 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.

Hands holding controllers for a game console with a television in the background

New Wi-Fi network launched for games, printers and more

Registered4OSU is a secure network designed for devices without browsers, known as the "Internet of Things. The new network is also for devices that do not support the necessary configuration for osuwireless—devices like a Nintendo Switch, Apple TV or Crestron panel.

Room of people planning Workday with sticky notes on the walls

Workday at Ohio State: from planning to production

Fiscal Year 2021 saw the first annual close using transactional data from Workday. While a successful system go-live might not be top of mind since Workday is no longer new, it seems appropriate to share some of the impressive work that went into Workday Release 1.

OneDrive, Teams and Microsoft 365 icons on a laptop, tablet and phone

OneDrive integrates cloud storage with existing tools

The university is on a journey to streamline our cloud storage solutions by transitioning to Microsoft Teams and OneDrive for Business. The endgame is an integrated toolset that we can use to its full strategic value. Wexner Medical Center joins us on this journey, to enable us to work together more smoothly.

Cybersecurity for You logo on a hoodie

C4U platform adds content and other enhancements

In 2019 Ohio State began offering the Cybersecurity for You (C4U) awareness platform to deliver cybersecurity awareness on topics that help you beyond your role here on campus. The platform also enables you to earn rewards that include branded merchandise, security tools to use on personal devices and charitable contributions (our newest addition!)

Woman using a laptop

RAE, Tableau and Collibra rollouts and refinements

In January 2021, the Data and Analytics team simultaneously launched a series of new applications that are now available for use. We have more tools for data analysis than ever before, all enabled for use with Workday data! Learn about what the availability of Workday data means for RAE, Tableau and Collibra as well as what help resources are available.

Banner containing the text OneTrust Privacy, Security & Governance

OneTrust protects the privacy of our website users 

Ohio State has been thinking about privacy for our network of sites and is adding cookie privacy consent banners(link is external). We are committed to protecting users visiting our sites. Implementing a cookie pop message isn't just a compliance requirement; it also makes for a good user experience.

Instructional Support

One of our top priorities is to use technology to support teaching and learning, regardless of format or delivery method. Our services keep the university on the leading edge of learning technology.  We provide services and resources that enable Ohio State educators to enhance their teaching skills and support student success.

College Ready Ohio cohort of educators on Ohio Stadium field

Ohio State grants aid schools shifting to online learning

Teachers and administrators who participated in College Ready Ohio training reflect on how it helped them prepare for emergency online instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. By March 2020, students and teachers at Hilliard City Schools and other districts were able to successfully use online technology in the classroom. 

Announcements section in CarmenCanvas

Announcements are a key Carmen activity this fall

When students provided feedback about Spring 2020, they expressed a desire for one location for all class communications—Carmen. Because of this, all instructors are encouraged to use announcements to set course expectations, stay connected with students and reduce stress.

Donated WhisperRoom sound booth

Ohio State donates sound booth to local high school

The Office of Distance Education and eLearning donated a WhisperRoom, a sound isolation booth often used for recording audio, to the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center. Ohio State originally purchased the WhisperRoom in 2008 for use in the Prior Hall Digital Union, which closed in 2020.

Innovate Transformed logo

Innovate Transformed debuts online conference format

In May, ODEE presented its Innovate conference virtually for the first time ever. After one of the most challenging years for educators, the conference provided insights and reflections regarding online teaching and learning, and how to utilize new strategies that embrace technology to promote student success.

Teaching Topics page of the Teaching and Learning Resource Center

Introducing the Teaching and Learning Resource Center

ODEE partnered with units across the university to develop the Teaching and Learning Resource Center. The website is a central hub for evidence-based teaching strategies, Ohio State-specific documentation on the university’s eLearning toolset, and professional development opportunities for educators.

Zoom meeting on desktop computer screen

Alternative assessments used by online instructors

The sudden shift to teaching online in spring 2020 caused instructors to rethink their planned exams. Instructors from across campus discussed their reasoning for avoiding online proctoring and what measures they put in place to ensure academic integrity.

Learning Technology

Learning Technology works toward digital solutions for faculty, staff, and teachers. We create innovative spaces for teachers to collaborate and use great tools. We make learning easier and more accessible, wherever you are at Ohio State.

Student wearing an Ohio State shirt using a laptop computer at home

Coding Certificate available to the Buckeye community

Digital Flagship’s popular Swift Coding and App development certificate was launched to the public, expanding access to in-demand skills for learners everywhere. More than 3,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni have enrolled in the Swift Coding certificate program

Two women of color looking at a laptop together

Grant designed to increase diversity in course materials

The Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX) expanded their scope by piloting a racial justice grant. Grant winners will infuse their curricula with diverse voices and invite conversations around racial justice across disciplines and Ohio State campuses.

Students in the Design Lab at COhatch Gateway

Gateway Design Lab Launches

The Design Lab at COhatch Gateway is a new space for Ohio State and the community to engage in innovative partnerships and explore, develop and expand their digital skills.

Students at desks listening to an instructor standing in the middle of the classroom

ALX saves students money and addresses racial justice

The latest Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX) cohort is focused on affordability for students, with over half also planning to address diversity, equity and inclusion in their courses. Their work over the next year will result in over $350,000 in direct savings to students. Projects include a focus on introducing diverse voices and anti-racist assessments.

Transcript feed in a Zoom meeting illustration

Automatic live transcription in CarmenZoom

CarmenZoom offers a new tool that generates speech-to-text transcriptions automatically. This new tool can be used for routine meetings, classes, student organization events and more.

Socially-distanced classroom with participants wearing masks

Building community in online and hybrid courses

How can instructors create a sense of camaraderie when the class is separated by cameras and computer screens? We asked some of our most successful instructors for tips and tricks. Here are three ways you can build community in your online and hybrid classes.

Pandemic Response

Studying and working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging for students, faculty and staff. It would have been impossible without strong technology support. The combined pandemic response of Ohio State's technology community protected over $1 billion in university revenue in Fiscal Year 2021.

Desks and chairs in an Ohio State classroom spaced out for physical distancing

Physical distancing in classrooms

In the weeks leading up to the start of autumn 2020 semester, the Office of Distance Education and eLearning Classrooms team reconfigured more than 450 pool classrooms and added safe seating signage. Classroom search now includes information about specific classrooms, including capacity, available technology, unique room features, diagrams, and photographs from both instructor and student views.

Zoom meeting on desktop computer screen

IT units pivot to boost online learning

How did The Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the United States, move over 12,000 courses online and transition tens of thousands of employees to working from home in March 2020, when the state suddenly went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic?

Woman working at home with a laptop computer and tablet

Quick long-term upgrades for flexible work

With a mobile-first framework already in placeManaged IT Services (MITS) partners had access to the needed technology to quickly adjust to remote work in the spring of 2020. Support for faculty and staff focused on enabling university employees work successfully from anywhere.

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

Technology kit distributions go the distance

Digital Flagship rose to the challenge of 2020 by providing more than 12,000 students technology kits using various methods. As physical distancing requirements shaped the pickup experience for in-person students, distance learners and regional campus students received iPad kits without setting foot on campus.

Cybersecurity Days sign displaying the event logo

Live events transition to virtual format

All live events had to be adapted for online/virtual or a hybrid format since in-person events were not feasible. Cybersecurity Days was one example. Other updated events included: 2021 Innovate Conference, Data Privacy Days, Ohio Science Olympiad, and Other STEM outreach partnerships like State Science Day. 

Ohio State IT Service Desk Manager Mario Morgan looks through a box of wireless hotspots

Keep Teaching, Keep Learning and Keep Working

Usually, a vast network of thousands of wireless access points keep students and employees working, teaching and learning online. That all changed when classes went virtual after spring break and most employees began from home. Our top priority was providing Ohio State students, faculty and staff have the access they needed.


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