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About the Ecampus Research Fellows Program

Oregon State University is a national leader in online education, and that expertise is a direct reflection of the OSU faculty who teach online. Through the Oregon State Ecampus Research Fellows Program, you can receive funding for your research, development and scholarship efforts in the areas of online and hybrid education (online and face-to-face instruction).

This Ecampus Research Fellows Program aims to:

  • Fund faculty and departmental research that is actionable and impacts students’ learning online
  • Support pilot research that leads to external grant applications
  • Promote research on online learning at the course and program levels at OSU
  • Encourage the development of a robust research pipeline on online teaching and learning at Oregon State

Applications for the 2024-25 Fellows Program are due Nov. 1, 2023.

Online information sessions about the program will be offered on:
Tuesday, Oct. 3rd at 1:00 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 6th at 11:00 a.m.


Full-time faculty and instructors are eligible to apply. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are not eligible. Graduate students can be included on a project team led by a faculty principal investigator but cannot be the principal investigator.

Email Naomi Aguiar to register

The Research Unit staff is available to help you design a quality research project and maximize your potential for funding. Fill out a research interest form to connect with the ECRU team.

Program details

As an Ecampus Research Fellow, you will receive funding for one year to complete an independent research project on a topic related to online teaching and learning. You may apply for up to $25,000 to support your research proposal. Up to $22,000 is available for budget allocation; $3,000 will be dispersed upon completion of the white paper.

Suggested online learning research categories

  • Student-centered studies
  • Faculty-focused studies
  • Studies on course design tools and techniques
  • Studies on administration of online programs

Some examples of possible studies include:

  • Faculty course load and class size for online courses
  • Pedagogical methods for engaging students in collaborative projects online
  • Faculty adoption and student acceptance of new technologies for online learning
  • The impact of open educational resources on students in online courses

Explore some examples of recently funded proposals:

NOTE: Research in assessment of online learning at the course or program level and pilot research leading to externally funded grant applications are of particular interest.

Responsibilities of Fellows

  • Complete an IRB-approved independent research project
  • Attend regular meetings with the Ecampus assistant director of research and other Ecampus Research Fellows
  • Submit progress reports for your Ecampus Research Fellows project
  • Produce a white paper on the subject of your independent research project to be published through the Ecampus Research Unit
  • Present at the annual Ecampus Faculty Forum (optional)

Key dates

The 2024-25 Fellows Program runs from March 2024 to March 2025, with preliminary activities in winter term 2024:

Call for applications Sept. 18
Applications due Nov. 1
Notification of awards Dec. 1
Window for IRB approval Jan. 4 – March 17, 2024 (winter term)
Research start date April 1, 2024 (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.

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 but cannot be the principal investigator. This program does not fund graduate student research.

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. You can review fellows white papers for examples of past projects.

How do I get help with designing my research study?

The Ecampus Research Unit staff is available to help you develop your project and will provide feedback on draft proposals. We encourage you to contact 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 your career 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 and hybrid teaching and learning at Oregon State.

Apply now

If you are interested in conducting research on online teaching and learning, we encourage you to apply to be an Ecampus Research Fellow. The following information will help you start the process.

Application materials

To apply to the Ecampus Research Fellows Program, complete the application cover page and include it with your submission. Applications can be submitted through the Fellows Program application. It 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 Oregon State 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 a Fellows Program application

Projects submitted will need to be IRB-approved by March 28, 2024. Learn more about the IRB application and approval process at Oregon State.

Browse past fellows projects

The Ecampus Research Fellows (ECRF) Program has been in existence since the fall of 2015.

Examples of recently funded proposals:

Read white papers generated from this program >>

Demian 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 associate director of research for Oregon State Ecampus.