CORVALLIS - Oregon State University has earned the distinction of one of "America's 100 Most Wired Colleges," in an Internet magazine's third annual national survey of electronic services to students and faculty.
The results appear in "Yahoo! Internet Life's" May edition, which was released this week.
Oregon State has consistently earned honors for the depth and breadth of electronic services offered by the campus, said Curt Pederson, OSU associate provost for information services. In 1997, OSU was recognized as the leading higher educational institution in the United States and Canada for electronic services by the American Productivity and Quality Center, a consortium of North America's largest and most progressive businesses and industries.
"We pride ourselves in being student- and parent-friendly in person and virtually - 'What do they need; can it be delivered electronically.'"
In selecting America's most wired colleges, "Yahoo! Internet Life" surveyed colleges and universities across the nation to find schools that provide the most access and exposure to the Internet. Colleges were ranked on a number of criteria focusing primarily on academic benefits, including existence of a campus computer network; World Wide Web access; campus computer labs; on-line registration and course drop and add; Internet training for students and faculty; electronic mail accounts for students; and computer lab waiting time.
Efforts that attract attention at OSU include interactive information kiosks scattered across campus providing students access to academic records and class registration, Internet access in every residence hall room and a pioneering "OSU Statewide" program that can bring higher education access into the homes of Oregonians throughout the state.
"At OSU, 60 percent of our undergraduates have access to dedicated network connections and free web space is guaranteed to each full-time undergraduate," Pederson said. "The university offers student registration via campus kiosks or the web and it is rare to see long lines at the registrar's office."
In March, the university completed its first-ever student body election carried out entirely on the World Wide Web.
The campus is also a leader in adaptive technology research and application, Pederson said. Students, staff and faculty with disabilities have access to a variety of adaptive equipment, including speaking computers, Braille translators, and listening assistance and alternative input devices.
Efforts to enhance electronic services at OSU have been on-going, he said. OSU was one of the first universities in the nation to make a commitment to electronic technologies as beginning steps such as telephone registration were expanded to include computer-based efforts in admission, financial aid, advising and instruction.
With 100 percent of all residence halls rooms wired for student access to the Internet, one minute students can take courses on the World Wide Web and the next minute they can review their electronic account of campus food or book purchases. The full text of more than 2,000 professional journals is also available online.
For students who don't like being tied down, OSU is the first university in the country to fully install a campus-wide wireless modem service, "Ricochet," developed by Metricom, Inc. Faculty, students, and staff who subscribe to the service can gain access to the campus network without telephone lines or cables.
Moving away from campus, "OSU Statewide," is focused on flexible programs created in direct response to student needs and demands throughout the state and uses such technologies as interactive video, the Internet, and individualized learning programs to enhance access to higher education for all Oregonians.
OSU ranked 42 on the "100 Most Wired" list, ahead of such schools as the University of Washington, Boston College and Penn State. Oregon State University and the University of Oregon were the only schools in the state that made the list. The survey covered colleges ranging from large state universities to small private colleges as well as liberal arts schools and technical schools.