Initiatives focus on research in online education, build on Ecampus’ reputation
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is advancing its commitment to online education with a new research unit that aims to meet university and national needs related to online teaching and learning.
The OSU Ecampus Research Unit is designed to create an accessible and inclusive online learning environment for Oregon State students and others. Last month the research unit received its first national grant and named eight OSU faculty members as its inaugural research fellows.
“Research about online education at this stage in higher education still has a lot of gaps. There are many questions remaining about different technologies and how they impact student learning,” said Extended Campus research director Katie Linder, Ph.D. “The goal of these new initiatives is to ignite some excitement among faculty in a more collaborative fashion and answer those questions.”
The research unit builds on Oregon State’s reputation as a national leader in online education. OSU Ecampus is ranked fifth nationally for online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News & World Report and delivers more than 40 programs at a distance.
But Internet-based learning is still in its infancy compared to brick-and-mortar education, and Extended Campus executive director Lisa L. Templeton sees this as an opportunity for the university to perfect its online delivery methods.
“Oregon State is in a position to build a robust research pipeline that ultimately will improve the access and quality of online teaching and learning for our adult learners,” Templeton said. “It will allow the university to expand its reach even further and give students more opportunities to succeed.”
The grant from The National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) is a joint endeavor with other universities. The study will investigate college students’ experience with video captions and determine the impact of captioning use on student learning in a college-level, fully online environment.
“We’ve made some assumptions on how caption use will impact student learning but haven’t necessarily gathered evidence that tells us there is a connection,” Linder said. “The grant allows Oregon State to engage in a community of researchers to try to figure out the connection between online learning and student engagement, motivation and how to do online learning well.”
The Ecampus Research Fellows Program builds on the university’s reputation as a national leader in online education; OSU Ecampus is ranked fifth nationally for online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News & World Report. The fellows program funded five research projects that will be conducted by eight OSU faculty and staff members:
- Mary Nolan and Brenda Kellar (College of Liberal Arts): Community in An online Anthropology Program: Friend or Faux?
- Ping-Hung Hsieh, Xiaohui Chang and Andrew Olstad (College of Business): Early Detection of Placement for Success in an Online Quantitative Class
- Karen Thompson (College of Education): Analyzing Learning in a Massive Open Online Course for Teachers
- Kathy Becker Blease (College of Liberal Arts): Modules to Teach Scientific Literacy in Ecampus Introductory Psychology Classes
- Stephanie Jenkins (College of Liberal Arts): Evaluating the Impact of Engaged Philosophy in the Online Classroom
The five projects received approximately $100,000 in funding from Extended Campus and are a precursor to several national studies the new research unit plans to launch early next year.
About Oregon State University Extended Campus: Extended Campus provides learners around the world with access to the university’s academic excellence through online and on-campus programs, open educational resources and research endeavors. Oregon State Ecampus delivers more than 40 degree programs online to learners in all 50 states and more than 40 countries. OSU is consistently ranked among the nation’s best providers of online education.