Skip to main content

Request info

Oregon State Ecampus booms in the Ed Ray years

Since Ed Ray became Oregon State’s president in the 2003-04 academic year, OSU Ecampus has seen steady growth in online enrollment, graduates and program and course offerings.

By Tyler Hansen
April 2020

In 1995, Newsweek published a now-infamous op-ed in which the author predicted the demise of the internet, scoffing in the first paragraph at the idea of a future filled with “interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms.”

“Baloney,” the author wrote.

Thankfully, many people – including Oregon State leadership – could see the life-changing potential of the World Wide Web. In the quarter century since Newsweek published its article, OSU has earned a reputation as a national leader in online teaching and learning – and that rise to distinction coincides with President Ed Ray’s 17-year tenure.

OSU Extended Campus (now Ecampus) delivered six programs at a distance when Ray arrived to start the 2003-04 school year. Now Ecampus delivers more than 70 degree and certificate programs and over 1,300 courses to students in all 50 states and more than 50 countries.

“Online education has played and will continue to play an important role in Oregon State’s land grant mission to increase access to education for people in Oregon and beyond.”

Most importantly: More than 6,000 students have earned OSU degrees online since Ray assumed his role.

So much for “baloney.”

“Online education has played and will continue to play an important role in Oregon State’s land grant mission to increase access to education for people in Oregon and beyond,” Ray said. “I have been continually impressed with not only the growth and success of Ecampus, but also with the commitment of faculty and staff throughout the university to use technology to create and deliver meaningful learning experiences online.”

Ray has consistently insisted that OSU’s online education be delivered with a commitment to innovation and top-quality teaching. Ecampus didn’t build its reputation overnight and remains deliberate in its work with nearly 1,000 OSU faculty partners and 10 colleges to develop and redevelop top-notch offerings.

All Ecampus programs are developed by the same faculty who teach on campus. All online courses must achieve meet the same learning outcomes as face-to-face classes. And all OSU distance learners earn the same diploma as on-campus students.

As the university readies to welcome a new president in F. King Alexander, it does so in the second year of a five-year strategic plan. One of the plan’s four goals calls for OSU to deliver transformative education that is accessible to all learners.

“President Ray understands that distance education is at the heart of OSU’s proud history, and he has been a strong advocate of online teaching and learning throughout his tenure,” said Ecampus Associate Provost Lisa L. Templeton, who has been a member of the Ecampus leadership team since 2000 and has led the division since 2008. “We are fortunate to have had his support over the years, and it has helped prepare us for more innovation in the coming years.”

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the spring 2020 issue of the Oregon Stater alumni magazine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *