CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Ecampus program at Oregon State University has been ranked as the fourth best distance education program in the nation among public research universities, the best program of its type in Oregon, and eighth among all schools, both public and private.

The rankings of "Best Online Colleges and Universities in 2013" were made by SuperScholar Smart Choice, based on academic quality, strength of programs, student satisfaction, prestige and other factors. The prior year, this organization ranked OSU Ecampus as ninth best in the nation among all schools.

"Ecampus is regarded as one of the nation's best providers of online education," said Lisa Templeton, executive director of the program.

"Our degree programs and outstanding faculty teach courses that meet the needs of learners around the world," Templeton said. "Our mission is to provide students with access to a high-quality OSU education no matter where they live."

As it moved even higher in the rankings last year, OSU Ecampus added several bachelor's degree programs - in German and psychology, and a novel, faster-paced program in computer science open to students who already have a college degree in another field. Also added were a master's degree in counseling and a graduate certificate in public health.

"This computer science degree, which focuses on software engineering, databases, and web programming, is truly innovative," said Terri Fiez, head of the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

"Employers are looking for people with computer skills that can be applied to a variety of fields," Fiez said. "A student today who already has an undergraduate degree can get a second degree, online, in as little as one year. For example, by pairing a degree in psychology, a graduate will be prepared for a computing job involving ways to make computers and computer programs easier for people to use."

Ecampus now has 33 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs online, which offer hundreds of courses in dozens of subjects. It has grown steadily since its inception, as distance education offers new options that are not bound by place, time, or other conventional constraints on higher education. New technologies and teaching methods are also making distance education more effective than ever, educators say.

"OSU has long been recognized as top-tier in the sciences by online university rankings, especially in agricultural and environmental sciences," the SuperScholar organization wrote in their analysis. "The university has also built up its online liberal arts programs, and today offers highly acclaimed online degrees in numerous disciplines."

Only regionally accredited online colleges and universities were considered in the SuperScholar rankings.


Lisa Templeton, 541-737-1279

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