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About The One University Digital Initiative

One University Case Study

Institutional Context

In summer 2012, a task force at The University of Oklahoma launched a digital initiative that would transform the student experience through a series of new technologies and digital tools. The task force, composed of representatives of key academic and administrative areas of the university, identified these specific goals:

  • Offering savings to students through cost-effective options to traditional learning materials
  • Enhance learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom
  • Support the public mission of the university by providing free educational open content
  • Build upon the University’s strong sense of community by utilizing technology to better-connect its members.


Projects & Future of One University

A large number of projects began in support of the digital initiative and continue to grow and evolve. New projects are beginning all the time and innovations in technology allow for new opportunities at every turn. Some of the projects under the One University umbrella include:

Future of education

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Beginning in spring 2013, fully-admitted undergraduates in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education have been given iPads to transform their own educational experience and develop digital content they can use in their teaching careers. With iPad programs in K12 schools growing exponentially, it was critical to teach students how to utilize technology in the classroom and enable them to become leaders in the K12 environment. In addition, through this program faculty in the college are researching the impact of such technology on future leaders. Watch Dean Garn's Message

Technology in your hands

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The One University store, scheduled to open in fall 2013, will be a central part of the student union and support the mission of the One University digital initiative. At its core, the space is a technology store featuring the most utilized technology on campus. However, once students, faculty and staff enter the store they will be transformed into experiential learners through a series of interactive and uniquely engaging exhibits that will encourage visitors to innovate and create. Just as Walt Disney sought to inspire innovation through the idea of EPCOT, the One University store seeks to encourage and drive innovation by members of the campus community.

View the One University Store Website

Reducing Student Costs

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To help offset the skyrocketing cost of textbooks, a subcommittee of the One University task force began investigating in fall 2012 opportunities for digital options. During the course of the 2012-13 academic year, this group sought to identify free or low-cost digital textbook alternatives. As a result of those efforts, OU students now can save an average of $400 per year by adopting these digital options, which include:

  • A partnership between OU and Open Stax to provide free peer-reviewed textbooks written by professionals. Through this partnership, students may download a free PDF textbook or purchase an inexpensive enhanced iBooks version that offers interactive learning features.
  • Use by faculty of the free iBooks Author platform to create their own textbooks, course packets and, in the case of study abroad programs, travel guides. In some instances, open content was available across the web to satisfy course textbook needs. Faculty have utilized such free tools as iTunes U to deliver content to students that may previously have been delivered via a physical text.

The University’s goal is to double or triple the current $400 annual textbook savings per studentsavings over the next four years.

Global Education

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Through iTunes U, the University has created global access to OU while offering users distinctive online content that enhances the traditional classroom experience.  As the largest collection of educational materials on the web, iTunes U provided a platform to easily offer courses and other resources for which OU is a recognized leader, such as meteorology and the American constitutional heritage.

As more popular OU content becomes available to the public through iTunes U, people from around the world are taking advantage of its accessibility. People from more than 180 countries have accessed OU videos on iTunes U this year. In addition, OU students can use iTunes U to promote their programs, passions, and future careers. For example, the Oklahoma Weather Lab’s “Talking Up A Storm” series, created by students to showcase weather forecasts around the world, currently is featured on iTunes U.

Also available is “The Story Of Freedom In America,” an enormously popular series of lectures featuring the late Dr. Rufus Fears, an internationally renowned historian and scholar. These lectures are the only open and free lectures recorded by Fears prior to his unexpected death in October 2012. Go to OU on iTunes U

Creating connections

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To connect the OU community in greater, more meaningful ways, a mobile operating system project yielded the university’s first iPad app in summer 2013. This app, targeted at students and prospective students, alumni and parents, includes a section called “Imagine OU” puts the power of innovation in the hands of the community, by inviting them to directly submit  to the university administration their ideas for making OU a better place or even suggestions for student entrepreneurial projects.

The app also features FaceTime Tutoring, through which students can connect with OU tutors and faculty outside regular class times and business hours on a variety of topics.

See the OU Mobile App