OSU to unveil revamped distance education program


CORVALLIS - A series of changes on campus is paving the way for a wider array of degree and program choices for distance education students at Oregon State University.

On Sept. 1, OSU Distance & Continuing Education changed its name to OSU Extended Campus to reflect this expansion and the goal of the university to extend OSU worldwide.

"Regardless of a student's location or the barriers that have prevented their pursuit of academic goals or enhancement of their professional knowledge and skills, the new OSU Extended Campus is tasked with providing alternatives for overcoming those obstacles," said Bill McCaughan, dean of OSU Extended Campus.

McCaughan said OSU Extended Campus is working closely with several OSU academic units to expand the range of courses and programs being offered through distance education.

"It all starts with our partnerships on campus and the work we're doing to engage individual departments in the process of making a targeted inventory of courses and degrees available online, or via other delivery methods that best serve our students," he said.

The catalyst for this change is a proposed new internal revenue model at the university that will benefit academic units that provide their curriculum for delivery through OSU Extended Campus.

"The new revenue model provides the incentive to departments to work with the Extended Campus in developing their courses for online delivery," said OSU President Paul Risser. "This will lead to more choices for students."

McCaughan said that when other OSU units or organizations want to offer credit, professional development units, or continuing education units for their workshops, conferences or seminars, the OSU Extended Campus has the infrastructure and processes in place to facilitate the process.

"It's more than a change in the economics of distance education," McCaughan said. "We're also providing the expertise necessary to help faculty move their courses, degrees and programs online and the infrastructure that will support non-resident students who are pursuing their education with OSU and the faculty who are working with these students."

The expansion of distance education offerings at OSU is manifesting itself in several ways:

  • The Extended Campus recently opened a Professional Programs office at the CAPITAL Center in Portland and is focusing efforts on developing customized training for working adults in a variety of business, industry, and government agencies.


  • A distance education advisor is now on staff focusing on the needs of students in the Portland area.


  • A new distance education advising center has been opened to assist students. Now distance students can call or e-mail to get guidance throughout their educational process.


  • OSU Extended Campus is collaborating closely with OSU's new School of Education as it develops its new strategies and directions. As part of this process, the Extended Campus is working with the school as it develops opportunities for multiple pathways toward pre-service and in-service teacher licensure and in providing responsive continuing education programs to help area teachers.


      The OSU Extended Campus is launching an expanded focus in Professional Programs that expands on its successful customized training programs for the health care industry. Successful programs such as the ones for Samaritan Health Care Services in Corvallis and Bay Area Hospital program in Coos Bay will serve as the model for expansion of this service to healthcare systems throughout the Northwest.


    • OSU Extended Campus has assumed responsibility for pre-college outreach programs and will be working with partners at both OSU and in public education to offer K-12 opportunities for students who don't have access to campus. Among these offerings will be an expanded inventory of advanced placement courses available through the Extended Campus for high school students in rural area.


    • Advanced placement courses will be available through Extended Campus for high school students in rural areas where those opportunities are not available on site.

    Our distance education enrollment is growing at a tremendous rate," said OSU Provost Tim White. "Each year, over the past three years, enrollment has grown more than 30 percent. With the changes that have been made on campus, OSU Extended Campus is now poised to meet the needs of this non-traditional student population."

    McCaughan said a recently completed market research study shows that among the programs identified by non-resident, distance education students, business programs top the current list.

    "We are in the process of expanding our inventory of distance education courses and degrees to meet the educational needs identified by the adult student populations in Oregon, nationally, and internationally," he said.

    McCaughan said the average distance education student is a working adult. Seventy percent are female, with an average age of 35.

    "Many of our students are place bound," he said. "They work full time and have families. A growing number reside in other states or in other countries. They can't stop their lives and move to Corvallis to continue their education. The only way they are able to accomplish their educational goals, such as completing a degree is through distance education."

    More information on the changes in the university's distance education programs can be found at http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/.