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Ecampus Research Fellows Program

Through the Ecampus Research Fellows (ECRF) Program, funding is available to support the research, development and scholarship efforts of faculty and/or departments in the area of distance/online education, including hybrid delivery (combination of online and face-to-face instruction). The expectation is that the funded proposals will further the strategic and programmatic objectives articulated in OSU’s Strategic Plan, in particular as it relates to access and instructional excellence, and will contribute to the outreach mission of distance, online and extended education at Oregon State.

Browse ECRF projects

Program goals

  • To fund research that is actionable and that impacts students’ learning online;
  • To provide the resources and support to “seed” pilot research leading to external grant applications;
  • To promote effective assessment of online learning at the course and program-levels at OSU;
  • To encourage the development of a robust research pipeline on online teaching and learning at OSU.

Program description

Ecampus Research Fellows will be funded for one year to complete an independent research project on a topic related to online teaching and learning in the following categories:

  • Student-centered studies (i.e. student perceptions of online learning; student readiness for online learning; plagiarism, cheating, and ethics in online education, etc.)
  • Faculty-focused studies (i.e. faculty readiness to teach online; academic freedom and online teaching; models and philosophies of online course design, etc.)
  • Studies on tools, techniques and platforms for online teaching and learning (i.e. creating effective online discussion; giving effective feedback in the online environment; team-based learning online, open educational resources, etc.)
  • Studies on institutional and administrative issues and concerns related to online learning (i.e. assessment of online programs; faculty load models for online programs; online learning in professional schools, etc.)

Research in assessment of online learning at the course or program level at Oregon State or pilot research leading to an externally funded grant applications is of particular interest.

During their fellowship, ECRFs will be funded to complete the following:

  • An IRB-approved independent research project
  • Attending regular meetings with the Ecampus Assistant Director of Research and other ECRF Fellows
  • Progress reports for their Ecampus Research Fellow project
  • A white paper on the subject of their independent research project to be published through the Ecampus Research Unit
  • An opportunity to present at the annual Ecampus Faculty Forum

Fellows will be funded up to $20,000 for the year, with an additional $4,000 available to support the fellow in presenting the results of their research at one conference.

Program timeline

The 2022-23 Fellows Program runs from March 2022 to March 2023, with preliminary activities in winter term 2022:

Call for applications Sept. 8
Applications due Nov. 1
Notification of awards Dec. 1
Window for IRB approval Jan. 3 – March 18, 2022 (winter term)
Research start date March 28, 2022 (first day of spring term)

Frequently asked questions

Read on for answers to frequently asked questions or contact Naomi Aguiar, the assistant director of the Ecampus Research Unit for more information.

Who is eligible to be an Ecampus Research Fellow?

Full-time Oregon State faculty and instructors are eligible to apply.

Can graduate students be fellows?

Graduate students are not eligible. However, graduate students can be included on a project team lead by a faculty principal investigator.

What kinds of research projects are eligible?

The Fellows program funds research projects in online and hybrid education. Projects can be focused on student learning, faculty instruction, technological tools and techniques, or administrative issues. See the program description menu and browse past cohort projects on the ECRF webpage for further details. You can also review Fellows white papers.

How do I get help with designing my research study?

The Ecampus Research Unit staff are available to help you develop your project and will provide feedback on draft proposals. We encourage you to reach out to us as you are developing your proposals. Contact Naomi Aguiar, the assistant director of the Ecampus Research Unit.

How long should the Fellows application be? Do I need a literature review?

There are no page limits on the application. See the program application to review the proposal requirements. It is essential that applications contain a literature review that situates the project within existing literature. This literature review should demonstrate the need for the proposed project.

How do Fellows use the funds?

Past fellows have used funds for the following: a portion of their FTE, support for graduate students, support for undergraduate research assistants, participant incentives, and equipment or software purchases.

What does it mean to be a part of a cohort?

Each year we fund up to five projects. The principal investigators of those projects meet quarterly as a group, under the direction of the assistant director of the Ecampus Research Unit. The purpose of these quarterly meetings is to support principal investigators by sharing ideas and resources, as well as foster collaborative relationships with faculty and instructors across a broad range of academic disciplines.

What are the topics that past Fellows have researched?

Some recent projects include studies of Virtual Reality from the student and faculty perspective, mindfulness in multicultural education, and adaptive learning.

Can a published paper be a substitute for the required white paper?

No. It is a requirement of the program that Fellows write a white paper about their project for a general audience. Original white papers allow for the sharing of ideas, methodologies, analyses and “lessons learned” that might not be publishable elsewhere.

What are some benefits of conducting research in online education as a Fellow?

If funded, becoming a Fellow and conducting a research project in online education has the potential to support careers in many ways. Based on the results of previous Fellows’ projects, this includes but is not limited to: 1) collecting pilot data that can be used to apply for larger, externally funded grants; 2) peer-reviewed publications; 3) building collaborative relationships that result in new research initiatives; and 4) providing opportunities for all faculty members to build a program of research in online/hybrid teaching and learning at Oregon State.

Apply now

Are you interested in conducting research on online teaching and learning? We hope you will consider applying to be an Ecampus Research Fellow.


Full-time faculty and instructors are eligible to apply. Graduate students are not eligible. Graduate students can be included on a project team lead by a faculty Principal Investigator.

Application materials

To apply for an Ecampus Research Fellowship, complete the application cover page and include it with your submission. Applications can be submitted through the ECRF Program Application. The application includes space to describe:

  • Information about the principal investigator (name, department, college, contact information, department chair name and contact information)
  • Information about your proposal (project title, sponsoring department, sponsoring college
  • A statement of the problem or question your research project plans to address
  • A literature review contextualizing your problem or question within the recent literature
  • A description of the research design planned to address the problem or question
  • The expected outcomes of the study and value of the potential findings
  • A plan for collecting data and measuring outcomes
  • A plan for sharing the outcomes of the research with the OSU community and external audiences (i.e. intended journal or conference outlets)
  • A project timeline
  • A project budget
  • A letter of support from your department head or equivalent
  • Any collaborators who will be integral to the project’s success

Start ECRF application

Projects submitted will need to be IRB-approved by March 28, 2022. Learn more about the IRB application and approval process at Oregon State University.

Demain Hommel, instructor in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, is exploring experiential education in distance learning as an OSU Ecampus Research Fellow. Read more »


Email Naomi Aguiar, the Assistant Director of Research for OSU Ecampus.