CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University is increasing its commitment to online education with a new research unit to focus on online teaching and learning at OSU and across the nation.
The OSU Extended Campus Research Unit is designed to create an accessible and inclusive online learning environment for these types of programs. Last month it received its first national grant and named eight OSU faculty members as its inaugural research fellows.
"At this stage in higher education, research about online education still has a lot of gaps," said Extended Campus research director Katie Linder. "There are many questions remaining about different technologies and how they impact student learning. The goal of these new initiatives is to ignite some excitement among faculty in a more collaborative fashion and answer those questions."
The research unit builds on Oregon State's reputation as a national leader in online education. OSU Ecampus is ranked fifth nationally for online bachelor's programs by U.S. News & World Report, and delivers more than 40 programs at a distance.
But Internet-based learning is still in its infancy compared to brick-and-mortar education, and Extended Campus executive director Lisa L. Templeton sees this as an opportunity for the university to perfect its online delivery methods.
"Oregon State is in a position to build a robust research pipeline that ultimately will improve the access and quality of online teaching and learning for our adult learners," Templeton said. "It will allow the university to expand its reach even further and give students more opportunities to succeed."
The research unit has received a grant from The National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement. It's a joint endeavor with other universities to investigate college students' experience with video captions and determine the impact of captioning use on student learning in a college-level, fully online environment.
The Extended Campus Research Fellows Program funded five research projects that will be conducted by eight OSU faculty and staff members in 2016-17. They include: