What you should know about Oregon State’s online students

First, a simple fact: Oregon State University’s online learners — also called Ecampus students — are OSU students, just the same way Corvallis campus and OSU-Cascades students are.

  • They learn from the same faculty who teach on campus.
  • The degrees and credentials they earn online are identical to the ones earned by students in Corvallis and Bend.
  • They want to feel connected to the OSU community no matter where they live.

A growing population

Ecampus students are located in nearly 60 countries and make up an increasingly large portion of the OSU student body: Nearly 1 in 3 OSU students learns exclusively online. This population is expected to grow to 30,000 by 2030 as targeted in OSU’s strategic plan.

Who are they?

Oregon State’s online students include working professionals, military personnel, stay-at-home parents and caretakers, transfer students and first-year college students.

Oregon State student Adrian Gonzalez

Conservation club reminds online zoology student that he is "not alone": Adrian Gonzalez is pursuing his degree online, and he’s a member of the student-run Wildlife Conservation Club.

  • 31 is the average age of all OSU online students
  • 41% of Ecampus undergraduates are first-generation college students
  • 30% of all Ecampus students are students of color
  • 55% of all Ecampus students identify as female
  • 11% are active-duty military, military veterans or military dependents
  • 26% of OSU’s distance students live in Oregon

* – All data is from the 2022-23 academic year

Help build a sense of community for OSU’s online students

Discover how your team can meet the unique needs of online students by emailing Eddie Rodriguez, the Ecampus student engagement program manager, to get started. And here are four ways you can provide engaging experiences for students who learn online.

1. Add a livestream for in-person events and create online-first programming

Ecampus students are particularly interested in networking and developing professional skills. Consider your popular events that generate the most engagement and think of ways to develop virtual options to participate.

2. Proactively recruit Ecampus students to join your organization

Think of ways to highlight online students who are already involved with your group, and empower them to take on leadership roles where they can involve fellow Ecampus students. Other groups have had success electing an Ecampus liaison position. Unsure how to start? Reach out to Eddie Rodriguez for guidance.

3. Build digital communities so all student types can chat anytime

Balancing school, jobs, families and other obligations makes time an especially limited resource for Ecampus students, who live across various time zones worldwide. Make consistent use of communication platforms such as Discord, Canvas, Slack or WhatsApp to create a sense of belonging on a flexible schedule.

4. Create asynchronous opportunities for online learners to engage

Activities such as reading clubs, collaborative music playlists, art showcases, study groups and virtual whiteboards are great ways to build community. Ecampus students are interested in learning about cultural experiences that differ from their own, and these tools can be simple ways for your group to engage online learners.

If your club has the appropriate funding, you could send your members welcome messages or small tokens to increase interest and affinity.

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