By Dave King
OSU Outreach and Engagement
During this past summer, a task force reviewing certain policies and procedures at OSU Ecampus — appointed by Provost Sabah Randhawa and chaired by Honors College Dean Dan Arp — submitted a report on its deliberations.
Here are some of the recommendations that have been submitted for review to the Faculty Senate. These are the recommendations that received strong support:
• Ecampus should be allowed to grow to meet demand, provided the quality of the courses and the educational experience is high, there is capacity (e.g. instructors, advisers) to support the growth, growth is financially viable and consistent with strategic directions outlined for the university.
• The university should move forward with development of hybrid courses (defined as courses that place a substantial portion of the current on-site format into online learning), giving consideration to several issues including the financial model, incentives and faculty workloads.
• The task force evaluated and recommends approval of a funding model to improve the development of creative and often multidisciplinary coursework at locations off the main campus.
• In a preliminary analysis, student success rates (as indicated by grade point averages) for Ecampus courses were found to be somewhat lower than for on-campus courses. However, success rates for students taking ONLY Ecampus courses were somewhat higher than for on-campus students. The task force recommends the following actions for follow-up:
- Conduct a deeper analysis of the student data to identify which, if any, student subpopulations have the more significant success challenges in the Ecampus platform than the general student population.
- This fall, share the expanded data set with the Undergraduate Education Council (UEC) for additional feedback and discussion.
- Research possible interventions to bolster Corvallis campus student success rates in Ecampus courses, and implement a pilot support program and assess results, reporting back to the UEC and Faculty Senate Distance Education committee.
- Track this (or a similar set of Ecampus course success metrics) annually and discuss with Ecampus and Academic Success and Engagement.
• The task force strongly encourages the university to find a mechanism to allow graduate students to “count” Ecampus courses toward the GTA/GRA minimum course load requirement.
• Compensation for a given Ecampus course should not be substantially different than for a comparable face-to-face course, albeit with allowances for different levels of effort for different instructional delivery methods, different disciplines and differences in rank and experience of the instructor.
• Regardless of the mechanism of delivery of instruction, students paying Corvallis on-campus tuition and fees should have the ability to fulfill degree requirements without being expected to enroll in an Ecampus course.
• Ecampus should have representation on the UEC and other appropriate university standing committees. Ecampus should establish an advisory committee that includes faculty with Ecampus experience and is responsible for advocating for and facilitating the integration of Ecampus into the university’s learning environment.
The Arp task force discussed and passed on an additional recommendation on equitable access to Ecampus courses for students with financial needs. That recommendation is under review by a select group of deans also appointed by the Provost. They should have their input and additional recommendations ready soon. We’ll report anything new as this group and the Faculty Senate continue their deliberations.
All of the recommendations above have been forwarded to the UEC, which is continuing the review of related GPAs in and out of Ecampus courses. We’ll bring that information to you to when that discussion is concluded.
We hope this helps keep you up to speed on much of the discussion surrounding Ecampus.
Hope your year is off to a great start.