Skip to main content

Request info


The Ecampus Research Unit (ECRU) prioritizes research on educational systems including quality, access, and learner outcomes at multiple levels from students to administrators.

Current projects

Exploring the Experiences of Online Instructors

Oregon State University Ecampus is fortunate to partner with nearly 1,000 Oregon State faculty. This interview-based study helps us to better understand the experiences and needs of these online instructors. We interviewed 105 online instructors about their professional development histories, teaching and course development practices and attitudes and beliefs about online learning.

Learn more

Online Learner Readiness

As online courses have become common on college campuses, higher education personnel have been interested in factors that prepare students for online coursework. This collaborative project seeks to develop and validate an online learning readiness instrument that can be used by students, advisors, faculty and administrators.

Learn more

Course Outcomes Modality Comparisons

When conducting research on student outcomes in online education, access to student data is not always available. In some cases, course-level data is more easily accessed. We designed a research study using course-level data to answer questions about the outcomes of students in online versus face-to-face courses at Oregon State University. This research project accounts for factors such as the instructor, instructor experience, term taught and class size.

Learn more

Distance Education Research Methods White Paper Series

Based on the experiences of participants in the Ecampus Research Fellows program, the Ecampus Research Unit is launching a white paper series on distance education research methods.

Read now

Online Teaching and Learning Research Seminars

The Online Teaching and Learning Research Seminars program supports multi-institutional research on topics related to college-level online and blended/hybrid teaching and learning. Each year, individual researchers at higher education institutions around the world apply for one of eight participant spots and accepted participants collaborate on research over two academic years including week-long, in-person meetings each summer in Corvallis, OR.

Learn more

Online Learning Efficacy Research Database

To help serve the distance education community, the Ecampus Research Unit has created a searchable database that houses efficacy research studies that compare the modalities of online, hybrid/blended, and face-to-face classrooms. This database is searchable by a range of variables including teaching modality, discipline, and sample size, among others.

Browse the database

The Collaborative Higher Education Research Group

The Collaborative Higher Education Research (CHEdR) Group aims to connect researchers who are interested in topics related to online teaching and learning.

Learn more

Undergraduate Research Program

This program provides an opportunity for online undergraduate students to gain experience in conducting educational research under the mentorship of researchers in the Ecampus Research Unit. This program provides high-impact experiences for online students that have typically only been available to campus-based students. See also: Online Undergraduate Research Guide

Completed projects

Closed Captioning Studies

Study report cover

Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions and Transcripts: Results from a National Study
This national study was designed to investigate institutional solutions for closed captions. ECRU collaborated with 3Play Media to conduct a national online survey with college students.

Study report cover

Implementation of & Solutions for Closed Captioning in U.S. Institutions of Higher Education: Results from a National Study
This national study was designed to investigate institutional solutions for closed captions. ECRU collaborated with 3Play Media to conduct a national online survey with higher education administrators at institutions implementing closed captioning.

Study report cover

Student Use and Perceptions of Closed Captions in the Fully Online Classroom
The survey study was designed to explore how students in online courses use captions and whether students perceive captions as helpful to their learning. The study was conducted with students of Oregon State University Ecampus. The project was partially funded by the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA).

Study report cover

The Impact of Closed Caption Use on Learning Outcomes in Fully Online Classes
This experimental study was designed to determine the impact of captioning use on student learning in a college-level fully online environment. The study was conducted in an online Biology course at Oregon State University. The project was partially funded by the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA).

Student Device Preferences

Report cover

Student Device Preferences for Online Course Access and Multimedia Learning
As multimedia development efforts continue to become more important in online learning, gathering data regarding student device preferences helps us better inform the focus of course design efforts. This report is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students who took online courses at Oregon State University through Oregon State Ecampus. The results provide insight into students’ device preferences for accessing their online courses and interacting with multimedia, such as videos and simulations. The study highlights some of the reasons why students who take courses online may prefer different devices for different educational purposes.

Report Reader Checklist

As online education continues to grow and develop as a field, the literature of online teaching and learning is also increasing. Each year, research study reports are published from vendors, distance education organizations, and researchers who hope to contribute to our understanding of the online education landscape. The ECRU is creating a free Report Reader Checklist as a resource to help report readers to assess the quality of what they are reading along six key areas: (1) content, (2) methodology, (3) sample, (4) reporting results, (5) transparency, and (6) reader experience.

Learn more

Research Preparation and Engagement of Instructional Designers in U.S. Higher Education

Study report cover

Research Preparation and Engagement of Instructional Designers in U.S. Higher Education
This national study explores the research engagement and training of instructional designers in institutions of higher education. This study targeted institutional designers with a range of experience levels and training backgrounds in order to better understand how they use and engage in research on teaching and learning in their current roles, what previous training they have received in research methods and design, and whether they feel prepared to conduct research on teaching and learning in their current roles.

“High-Impact Practices in Online Education: Research and Best Practices” edited collection

HIP book cover

With chapters from a diverse set of authors representing a range of disciplines and institutional contexts, “High-Impact Practices in Online Education” fulfills a need for a research-based, comprehensive volume that provides faculty members and administrators with the current best practice literature on how high-impact practices are being implemented online to improve student retention and completion. This volume offers guidance about translating high-impact practices to online environments that takes into account the differences between online and traditional on-campus students.

Learn more

“The Business of Innovating Online: Practical Tips and Advice from e-Learning Leaders” edited collection

BIO book cover

Through specific examples and practical suggestions from experiencede-learning leaders, “The Business of Innovating Online” introduces concrete strategies for how to create a climate of creativity and innovation that can lead to more successful and scalable online programs and initiatives. This volume will offer guidance that takes into account the idea that there is no “formula” for innovation, but that there are ways to nurture an innovative distance education organization. “The Business of Innovating Online” will be the first volume to focus specifically on the practices, cultures, and climates that foster creativity and innovation in distance education administrative units.

Learn more

“Research in Action” Podcast

Active from 2016-2020, “Research in Action” (RIA) was a podcast about topics and issues related to research in higher education featuring experts across a range of disciplines. Guests were from a range of higher education institutions and shared their expertise on qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods as well as their personal experiences as researchers, research and writing practices, organizational and productivity strategies, and much more.

Listen now