OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Beaver Store supporting open textbook initiative to aid affordability

CORVALLIS, Ore. - As part of ongoing efforts to increase textbook affordability for Oregon State University students, the OSU Beaver Store is supporting OSU’s open textbook initiative by distributing free open source textbooks on its digital e-commerce platform.

The university's open textbook initiative is a collaboration between OSU Libraries, OSU Press and Open Oregon State. It provides financial, technical and editorial support for faculty members to create texts that will be freely accessible online to any student in the world.

The OSU Beaver Store’s website displays the textbooks used in each course at OSU, along with price comparisons to the online marketplace. When the required course content happens to be open source, the store now distributes or links to those free digital materials.

“We’ve created a one-stop portal for OSU students to connect to all of their course materials, be they paid or free,” said Steve Eckrich, OSU Beaver Store president and chief executive officer. “We’re providing students with every possible format to choose from, including digital, rental, and now free open source content.”

The OSU Beaver Store has been providing price-transparency to students for many years using its online price comparison tool. Its website displays the store’s prices for new, used, digital, and rental course materials, alongside the prices of online retailers and others.

“Because the OSU Beaver Store provides the largest student discount of any college store in the country, we are very price-competitive with the online marketplace,” said James Howard, OSU Beaver Store academic materials manager. “We also provide certainty that the student is getting the correct book and edition, with the option to get it more quickly in-store and have in-store returns that don’t require shipping.”

The OSU Beaver Store works closely with faculty to procure the materials they want to use for their courses. It sources a wide variety of formats and pricing options, to ensure that students have everything needed to be informed consumers.

“Adding free open source content to our digital platform is a natural extension of our commitment to textbook affordability as a student-based organization,” said Eckrich.

Media Contact: 

Melanie Williams, 541-737-0050

Source: 

James Howard, 541-737-0036

james@osubookstore.com

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OSU Ecampus named nation’s best value in online education

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s distance education program has been named the nation’s best online college in terms of value by ValueColleges.com, an organization that provides in-depth analysis and rankings on affordability and quality in higher education.

Oregon State Ecampus ranks first on a list of the Top 50 Best Value Online Colleges for 2017. The rankings assess online bachelor’s programs based on tuition costs, reputability, and return on investment using data from the website Payscale.com.

In its evaluation, the organization noted that Ecampus delivers the most online undergraduate major and minor programs in Oregon, and that OSU is a leader in STEM research and boasts the Carnegie Foundation’s highest research activity classification.

“This ranking speaks to our mission to provide learners with access to a high-quality Oregon State education,” said Ecampus Executive Director Lisa L. Templeton. “The value comes in the form of highly engaging programs that give our students opportunities for career advancement.”

All Ecampus students pay the same tuition rate no matter where they live. Ecampus serves adult learners in all 50 states and more than 40 countries by delivering 21 undergraduate degrees and 27 graduate programs online.

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 19,000 OSU students took at least one Ecampus class.

Oregon State has developed a reputation as a leader in online education, having been ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report each of the past two years. In 2014, Ecampus won the Online Learning Consortium’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching – one of the industry’s most prestigious awards.

Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276

Source: 

Lisa L. Templeton, 541-737-1279

lisa.l.templeton@oregonstate.edu

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Ecampus graduate

OSU-Cascades opens as Oregon’s first new public university in 50 years

BEND, Ore. - Oregon State University – Cascades’ new campus in Bend opened today, fulfilling a 30-year quest for higher education in what had been the largest region in the state without a four-year university.

“This campus launches a new era for educational attainment, economic growth, community partnerships and cultural enrichment in Central Oregon,” said Oregon State President Ed Ray.

Ray, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, state Rep. Knute Buehler, OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson and Elizabeth Woody, Oregon’s poet laureate, are planned to participate in the opening celebration. They will be joined by Amy Tykeson, whose family supported funding for the branch campus’ first academic building, and after whom Tykeson Hall is named.

“This is a tribute to decades of work by countless individuals who early on saw the need, defined the future they wanted to achieve, and helped to make this day – and this university campus – possible,” Ray said. “As important as this campus will be for Central Oregon, OSU-Cascades is an investment that will pay great returns for the entire state of Oregon.

“It has been right here in the Bend area that Oregon faces the greatest mismatch in this state between students’ needs, economic demands and the gap in higher education options.”

As the first public university to open in Oregon in more than 50 years, OSU-Cascades will serve students in one of the fastest growing regions in the state - yet one that lags in bachelor’s degree completion.  The new 10-acre campus will provide classrooms and lab space, as well as a dining center and residential housing for 300 students. 

 

As the campus expands over the next decade, OSU-Cascades by 2025 will serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, most of them from Central Oregon. This largely rural area with a population of more than 200,000 has been historically underserved by higher education and includes many first-generation students and others who have been unable to attend college. OSU-Cascades will improve educational access, increase the likelihood of graduates staying in the region and contribute to the local economy.

“OSU-Cascades brings the power of a comprehensive research university to our region,” said Johnson. “We will serve the needs of Central Oregon with excellent academic and research faculty who will teach learners of diverse ages and backgrounds, and address the challenges of our unique environment.”

Prior to its opening this week, OSU-Cascades has operated for 15 years in a two-plus-two partnership with Central Oregon Community College, using leased and physically-separate facilities. The branch campus has awarded 3,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“With this new campus and further planned expansion, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Central Oregon community will develop campus traditions, spirit and community pride,” said Johnson.

The new campus near downtown Bend is integrated into a commercial district, which will help expand OSU’s partnerships with industry and community, and enhance student internship programs and workforce development. Public-private partnerships will increase research and innovation and provide amenities for both students and community members. The 10-acre campus will also include a community STEM education provider, the Bend Science Station.

OSU-Cascades now offers 18 undergraduate and graduate degrees. These include computer science with an applied option in web and mobile web software development; energy systems engineering; hospitality management; and tourism and outdoor leadership.

Over the next two to five years, eight to 10 new degree programs are anticipated to meet student, industry, and regional and national employment needs, in areas such as bioscience; mechanical engineering; nursing; outdoor products; and software development.

“The opening of OSU-Cascades’ new campus represents a promising economic future for Central Oregon,” said Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon.

An extensive long-range development planning effort that is underway will expand the campus onto an adjacent property, a 46-acre pumice mine, and potentially onto a second adjacent property, a 76-acre county demolition landfill.  The two properties together represent one of the largest under-utilized tracts of land within Bend’s urban growth boundary.

A design team of Page and SERA is partnering with Oregon State to deliver a long-range development plan in February 2017. So far, the effort has gathered input from community advisory groups, community members, faculty, staff and students. That input has helped develop visions for the branch campus in strategic areas such as sustainability, health and wellness, innovation and community partnerships.

Studies will assess the possibility for a net-zero energy, water and waste campus, with campus-wide biomass district energy to provide heat. On the initial 10 acres, native plants were harvested and replanted, and transportation options for students include bike share, car share and free bus passes.

Funds need to be secured for future campus growth, officials say, and the next buildings should be ready for students in three to five years.

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Editor’s Note: Video is available.

  • Brief video remarks from OSU President Ed Ray are available online: YouTube, https://youtu.be/DaaxiZFZAJk
  • Ray interview, downloadable high resolution video, http://bit.ly/2clNcjy
Source: 

Christine Coffin, 541-322-3152

 


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Tykeson Hall
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Grand opening of Johnson Hall planned at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Johnson Hall, a new, $40 million College of Engineering facility that will be home to the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University, will celebrate its grand opening on Sept. 23.

Johnson Hall’s 58,000-square-foot interior includes a 125-seat lecture hall, state-of-the-art research and teaching laboratories, and a center focused on improving recruitment and retention of engineering students.

The three-story structure is supported by five, 52-foot, freestanding concrete shear walls, engineered to withstand earthquakes and winds up to 90 mph. This design also enabled the placement of many large windows, which supply ample natural light throughout the building. The open, bright aesthetic is continued inside, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

“The transparent glass walls to the labs make research visible to anyone walking by, and the open floor plan concept encourages interest, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and dean of OSU’s College of Engineering. “I look forward to the research made possible here.”

The building is named for longtime College of Engineering supporters Peter and Rosalie Johnson. Pete Johnson, a 1955 chemical engineering alumnus, revolutionized battery manufacturing equipment with his patented invention for making battery separator envelopes. The Johnsons committed $7 million to begin construction of the new facility, leveraging an earlier gift of $10 million from an anonymous donor and $3 million in additional private funds, matched by $20 million in state funds.

“This beautiful new facility honors the Johnson family and the many contributions they have made to the College of Engineering,” Ashford said. “We are so pleased to carry on Pete’s legacy of innovation by dedicating this space to collaborative research and hands-on learning for students.”

James Sweeney, head of the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, said the building will foster the school’s continued growth and will further accomplishments in research and education.

“Johnson Hall will increase our reputation and standing among our peer institutions, and it will help us to continue to attract the top faculty and students to OSU,” Sweeney said. “It will provide them with the tools they need to make high impact on Oregon, across our country, and around the world.”

The grand opening, which is free and open to the public, will begin with a ceremony from 3:30-4 p.m. in front of Johnson Hall, at the intersection of S.W. Park Terrace Place and Monroe Street in Corvallis. Speakers will include OSU President Edward J. Ray, college officials, representatives of the Johnson family, and State Sen. Sara Gelser. Visitors will be invited to tour the building immediately following the ceremony.

Johnson Hall was designed by architecture firm SRG Partnership. It was built by Hoffman Construction, led by OSU College of Engineering alumni Kevin Cady ’84, senior operations manager; and Nathan Moore ’10, project manager.

Media Contact: 

Keith Hautala, 541-737-1478

Source: 

James Sweeney, 541-737-3769

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Johnson Hall
Johnson Hall

johnsonsouth

OSU research funds reach second consecutive record of $336 million

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University research funding reached $336 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30 – a second consecutive year of record-breaking growth and an increase of more than 60 percent over the past decade.

In 2006, the university garnered $209 million from state, federal and private-sector sources. Since then, OSU has received research revenues totaling more than $3 billion. In the last year, Oregon State researchers brought in $27 million more from all sources than they did in 2015, a 15 percent increase in competitive federal grants and an overall 9 percent increase.

OSU accounts for more research funding than nearly all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined.

“Our researchers deserve all the credit for this amazing accomplishment,” said Cynthia Sagers, Oregon State vice president for research. “They have stepped up to the challenge of securing research funds that support our programs and our students, and create an impact on Oregon, the nation and the world.”

Through salaries, student stipends and expenditures, Oregon State research generates an annual societal and economic impact of about $762 million in the state and globally, based on an assessment conducted in 2015 by ECONorthwest.

Ongoing projects funded last year include:

  • Shannon Lipscomb at OSU-Cascades in Bend, an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, is leading a four-year, $1.5 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to train teachers to work with children exposed to trauma such as abuse, neglect, parental mental illness or parental substance abuse.
  • With grants totaling $227,000 from the Simons Foundation, Angelicque White and Laurie Juranek in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, are collaborating with scientists from the University of Washington, MIT, the University of Hawaii and the University of Southern California on a research project in the remote North Pacific Ocean. Preliminary results suggest that changes in the ratios of nitrogen, carbon and other nutrients lead to distinct shifts in microorganisms, affecting climate and the growth of plants and animals that live in the sea.
  • With a $2 million grant from the U.S. Army, Joseph Beckman, distinguished professor in the Linus Pauling Institute and the College of Science, is developing a potential ALS treatment cased on copper ASTM. He has demonstrated that this compound in mice can halt the progression of what is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • With a $1.4 million grant from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, the College of Engineering has been developing improvements to plastic injection molding processes and investigating the use of biopigments for digital printing on fabric. The aim in both initiatives is to increase manufacturing competitiveness by reducing waste and boosting energy efficiency.

 OSU researchers undertook projects to study and manage forests, coastal waters and other natural resources; to protect human health by identifying new treatments for infectious diseases; and to support communities and businesses by solving problems in food, energy and water systems.

Scientists are developing new ways to deliver education in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — and tracking the performance of students learning English as a second language.

Success, Sagers added, is due in part to collaborations among researchers across disciplines in areas such as robotics, marine sciences and information technologies.

“Working with people outside one’s own field can lead to real advances in knowledge and innovation,” Sagers said. “We’re seeing progress in unmanned aerial systems for agriculture, forestry and infrastructure inspections, in genetic testing to understand disease and improve food security, and in software for environmental monitoring and crop improvements.”

Research results are finding their way into businesses, fueling economic growth. For example, two newly formed companies — Agility Robotics and e-MSion, Inc. — have grown out of OSU labs with help from the Oregon State University Advantage program and RAIN, the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network.

Agility Robotics is developing the second generation of a bi-pedal robot with funding from the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. E-MSion is driven by an advance in mass spectrometry, a workhorse technology in research labs worldwide. The company aims to transform this high-end research tool into an easy-to-use appliance and hire 20 to 30 employees within five years.

Among funds received in 2016 were the following:

  • $5.3 million from the Agricultural Research Foundation for projects to enhance the productivity and sustainability of food and ornamental crops across the state
  • $2.8 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, focusing on undersea eruptions, fisheries and acoustic techniques for monitoring marine mammals and other animals
  • $1.2 million for the Long Term Ecological Research program at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, emphasizing environmental responses to climate change
  • $3 million for design and bid preparation for two to three new regional class coastal research vessels
  • $1 million from Oregon BEST for 17 sustainability projects in wood science, engineering and agriculture
  • 11 NSF CAREER Awards to jumpstart research programs by young researchers in engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry and statistics
  • 35 grants over $1 million, for projects ranging from biomass fuels for the Northwest and plant genetics to changing Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean conditions, aquaculture, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, STEM education and health risks of air pollution

Funds provided by federal agencies increased over what was received in 2015 from the Department of Commerce, up 72 percent; Department of Energy, up 69 percent; Department of Defense, up 39 percent; and Department of Health and Human Services, up 30 percent. Total federal funding grew from $185 million last year to more than $212 million in 2016.

State appropriations for land grant funding — money that supports work in agriculture, wood products, engineering and other fields —increased by $7 million, from $61 million in 2015 to $68 million in 2016. Funds are being used to hire experts to work with farmers, ranchers and others on issues from water quality and disease control to food safety and value-added manufacturing.

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Source: 

Cynthia Sagers, 541-737-0664

cynthia.sagers@oregonstate.edu

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New research vessel

 

Robert Tanguay

Zebrafish research


ATRIAS, a two-legged robot created at Oregon State University, ambles down the sideline at Reser Stadium, home of Beaver football. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)
Bipedal robot

 

YouTube video

https://youtu.be/q8TCAClYais 

 

High resolution downloadable video:

http://bit.ly/2c4Ta7b

OSU announces location for new marine studies building in Newport

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray announced today that a new $50 million center for global marine studies research and education will be built at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

The 100,000-square-foot facility is an integral part of OSU’s ambitious Marine Studies Initiative, designed to educate students and conduct research on marine-related issues - from rising sea levels and ocean acidification to sustainable fisheries and economic stability.

“Following broad consultation with numerous individuals and groups, as well as analysis of several separate reports, I have determined that the Hatfield Marine Science Center is the best site for Oregon State’s new Marine Studies Initiative building,” Ray said.

“Throughout the evaluation process, which included two upland sites, the safety of those who work, study and visit this building and HMSC during a potential catastrophic seismic event has been my overriding concern.”

Ray said that he believed the new facility can be built to sustain a 9.0 earthquake and an associated tsunami. He also concluded that the new building can provide a safe, accessible, vertical roof-top evacuation alternative for those who are injured, disabled or otherwise unable to reach the preferred evacuation site on nearby Safe Haven Hill.

“In my view, by locating this new building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, life and safety prospects and services for employees, students and visitors will be much improved, relative to locating the marine studies building somewhere else,” Ray said. “The building might also serve as a safe destination for others who work at or visit nearby businesses or attractions, but who could not physically reach Safe Haven Hill.”

The new facility will be located adjacent to the Guin Library on the HMSC campus, which is just east of the Highway 101 bridge in Newport. The location places the facility in close proximity to critically important seawater laboratories and other HMSC research facilities. Although it is within the tsunami inundation zone, OSU officials say, detailed consideration went into the siting.

To assess the prospects of major catastrophic natural events, such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone event along the Oregon coast, Ray convened a committee of university academic, research and administrative leaders. They conducted comprehensive internal and independent third-party assessments of building this facility at the Hatfield Marine Science Center campus or at alternative, higher-ground sites in Newport.

Based on its comprehensive evaluation of the alternative sites, the committee recommended that the new building be constructed at the HMSC site. Meanwhile, OSU plans to build student housing on higher ground in Newport.

OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative has set a goal by 2025 to teach 500 students annually in Newport and expand marine studies research. Oregon State officials plan to open the building as early as 2018. The Oregon Legislature approved $24.8 million in state bonding last year to help fund the new building, which will become the centerpiece of OSU’s marine studies initiative. Meanwhile, the OSU Foundation is raising an additional $40 million in private funding for the Marine Studies Initiative – $25 million to match state funds for the new building and another $15 million to support related programs.

HMSC, which is run by Oregon State, is also shared by several agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The multiple agencies, along with Hatfield’s saltwater research laboratories and ship operations, make it one of the most important marine science facilities in the country – and the combination provides unique opportunities for OSU students.

The Hatfield Marine Science Center celebrated its 50th anniversary in August 2015.

 

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Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808

steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

New OSU College of Business program will aid aspiring entrepreneurs

PORTLAND, Ore. – A new program designed to increase entrepreneurial activity and stimulate job creation in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest is now being offered in Portland by Oregon State University’s College of Business. 

The goal of Launch Corps is to provide additional startup support services for select students who are enrolled in the college’s Innovation Management MBA program and are also developing a business idea. Innovation Management is a new track in the college’s MBA program that prepares students to start new companies and advance ideas within existing ones.

“Research shows rates of entrepreneurship are in a state of decline in the U.S.,” said Mitzi Montoya, dean of OSU’s College of Business. “That’s concerning news, especially given reports that indicate entrepreneurs are responsible for nearly all net new job creation. Oregon has unprecedented potential to address our regional and national need for entrepreneurial activity if we can effectively recruit entrepreneurs from the full pool of available talent and accelerate their success.”

As they progress through the Innovation Management MBA, students in Launch Corps will be connected to resources that can help move their startup ideas forward. Those resources include mentors in areas such as marketing, accounting and finance; office space at the college’s new Portland headquarters at WeWork, a co-working community for multiple ventures and startups; services, equipment and related amenities; and access to workshops and entrepreneurial training programs.

Launch Corps is open to all founders, co-founders or teams at the startup stage who have a passion for addressing a problem and an idea that offers market potential. Women, people of color, and others who have historically been underrepresented among entrepreneurs are particularly encouraged to apply for Launch Corps.

“Research shows that women lead about one-third of entrepreneurial activity, even though they make up slightly more than half of the population,” said Audrey Iffert-Saleem, executive director of strategic initiatives for the College of Business. “Our vision is that the population of entrepreneurs will grow to reflect the changing demographics of the United States.”

Supporting these entrepreneurs in their startup journey is about more than getting them in the pipeline, said Iffert-Saleem, who has led the development of several entrepreneurship programs for women and people of color.

“A recent report shows that only a tiny fraction of one percent of venture funding went to black women founders in 2014,” she said. “We need a culture shift, and we need support from the community.”

The fee for the two-year program is $5,000, and fellowships are available for selected students. The J.D. Power Launch Corps fellowships cover the costs of the program as well as a $2,000 business start-up grant and an $8,000 tuition scholarship.

All Launch Corps applicants will be considered for the fellowship, and priority will be given to women applicants. The program will begin in the fall term, and the deadline to apply for the fall MBA program is Aug. 22.

The college also is seeking mentors and startup coaches to support Launch Corps members, especially women and people of color who are entrepreneurs, investors and business professionals.

For more information about Launch Corps or to apply to the program, visit business.oregonstate.edu/launchcorps.

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Source: 

Jessi Hibsman, 541-737-1059

jesse.hibsman@oregonstate.edu

OSU adaptation of free biology textbook may annually save students $100K

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is increasing its efforts to make college more affordable for its students, particularly through the use of free, open access, online textbooks and other essential course materials.

The initiatives should reduce student costs, enhance graduation rates, increase flexibility and allow the use of innovative and interactive online instruction techniques. 

The latest example was begun this month with an award of $30,000 by the state of Oregon for an open textbook project.

With this support, OSU faculty will collaborate with those from other state institutions to adapt a biology textbook that now will be freely accessible to OSU students and learners worldwide.

It is estimated the textbook, being adapted by Lindsay Biga and Devon Quick, instructors in Oregon State’s Department of Integrative Biology, will eliminate $100,000 in OSU student spending each year. It’s one of 16 open online textbooks already in use by OSU students or in production by OSU faculty.

“Oregon State is proactively developing and adapting open textbooks on students’ behalf because the cost savings are tremendous,” said Dianna Fisher, who coordinated the grant application effort as director of Open Oregon State.

“Research shows that textbook costs are a primary roadblock to degree completion. The more affordable we can make course materials, the more likely students are to graduate.”

The findings of a study released earlier this year by the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups show that America’s 5.2 million undergraduate students spend $3 billion of their financial aid on textbooks every year. In a 2013 study by the same group, 65 percent of students who responded to the survey said they decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive.

Oregon State’s attempts to stem the tide include open books that are being used or developed in a variety of subject areas, including business, plant science, oceanography, hydrology and computer science.

The grant for the biology textbook was awarded by the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission as part of its Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant Program. Open Oregon State, which works with faculty to create OER, will provide some matching funds.

At OSU, the textbook will be used for a biology course sequence on human anatomy and physiology. Biga, Quick and the other faculty partners will work to illustrate course concepts through interactive animations so students can visualize molecular, cellular and organismal processes and improve their content knowledge and retention.

The textbook to be adapted is “Anatomy and Physiology” by publisher OpenStax College. The modifications to the anatomy and physiology book will be completed by next summer in time for students to use it fall term 2017.

The project is expected to involve faculty from the University of Oregon, Western Oregon University, Portland State University, and Linn-Benton, Lane and Portland community colleges. 

“To me, open textbooks are about flexibility, access and interactivity,” Biga said. “Through this grant program, we have the opportunity to invest time and resources into customizing a resource to fit the schedule and curricular needs of our courses and provide free digital access to every enrolled student.”

Open textbooks are just one facet of OSU’s efforts to make learning opportunities freely accessible to learners. In May, more than 15,800 learners worldwide enrolled in a massive open online course, or MOOC, on permaculture. It was the first MOOC to be developed in-house at OSU, and will be offered again this fall. Due to its far-reaching success, instructor Andrew Millison plans to convert all course materials into an open textbook.

Media Contact: 

Tyler Hansen, 520-312-1276

Source: 

Dianna Fisher, 541-737-8658

dianna.fisher@oregonstate.edu

Personalized learning systems to boost education of college students

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is beginning a new three-year, $515,000 initiative that will use interactive computer software to help improve the learning and knowledge retention of college students, especially to overcome the hurdles of highly complex mathematics and science.

The project is part of a major national program announced today by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. It will offer some alternatives to the traditional classroom concept of lecture, textbook, and “everyone moves along at the same speed” – an approach that in some courses is largely failing across the United States.

New technologies, interactive learning systems and short quizzes can help ensure a student understands the material being studied, as they move ahead. If they are confused or still struggling to learn the subject, the software system will help identify the problem, allow them to back up, go through things again, and provide additional support and knowledge until they do understand.

If a student just needs more basic information, they can get it. If they need a contextual explanation, that will be available as well.

“We’re facing a societal problem in a range of educational approaches, especially where class sizes are large and there’s less individual assistance,” said Julie Greenwood, associate dean for undergraduate studies at OSU and project manager of this new grant.

“For instance, almost all students have to take college algebra, and in some cases the failure rate can approach 50 percent. We believe that modern computer software can help address this problem, especially in math and the sciences, but also in liberal arts, social sciences and almost any field of study. We’re really optimistic this is going to be a success.”

Other collaborators in this program include Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Georgia State University, Northern Arizona University, Portland State University and the University of Mississippi.

OSU educators, Greenwood said, will help students work with existing software systems, find out which seems to work best or fit with the university’s culture and approach to learning, and which approaches are most appropriate for different disciplines.

University officials say this project, called “All Hands on Deck,” is an embrace of a new trend toward “adaptive,” or personalized learning approaches. They believe it can improve both the rate of first-year student retention and the university’s six-year graduation rate. It will initially be used in eight high-enrollment, general education courses, in such fields as mathematics, biology and psychology.

“This national grant will kick-start our efforts to move more aggressively toward personalized learning,” said David King, special assistant to the provost for learning innovation at OSU. “The initiative will also provide our faculty with insight and information on a learner-by-learner basis, and give them the opportunity to develop more individual and unique student-teacher relationships.”

OSU has been a national leader in new educational approaches and innovations, especially through its widely-recognized program of extended online education, or E-campus, and more recently through construction of a $65 million Learning Innovation Center to conduct research on new approaches to collaborative learning and education.

The most promising findings and practices emerging from this initiative will be shared among 200 public university members across the country, officials said, to better meet the general educational needs of today’s undergraduate college students.

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Julie Greenwood, 541-737-1190

Julie.greenwood@oregonstate.edu

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Oregon State University President Ed Ray announces building names decision

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Ed Ray today announced his decision to rename three buildings on OSU’s Corvallis campus while retaining the names of two other buildings.

The names of the Arnold Dining Center and Gill Coliseum will not change. Ray said that the university will undertake a process in winter 2018 that engages the entire OSU community to recommend to him:

* A new name for Avery Lodge;

* A new name for Benton Hall that appropriately recognizes the many contributions of  Benton County community residents in the 1860’s and 70’s that supported the founding of this university; and

* A new name for Benton Annex that appropriately recognizes the building as home to the OSU Women’s Center.

Over a period of years, several OSU students, faculty, alumni and members of the Corvallis community had raised concerns regarding alleged exclusionary views held by the namesakes of these five buildings.

“The names of all buildings and places play a very important role in our university,” Ray said. “They speak to the 149-year history of OSU, the university’s values and mission, and our efforts to create an inclusive community for all. Names also recognize and honor the positive contributions of those associated with Oregon State University.”

In a communication sent today to OSU students, faculty and staff, Ray shared his decision-making process. He also noted that the process of evaluating the history of five buildings and their namesakes occurs at a very important time in the university’s history – the celebration of OSU150: Oregon State’s 150th anniversary as Oregon’s statewide university.

“By exploring our past, we will recognize that everything and everyone who preceded us, helped get us to who and where we are today,” Ray said. “This knowledge will guide us to improve. And in doing so, reconcile past injustices and provide for greater future inclusivity and success for all.

“Like the review of these building names, OSU150 will inform and illuminate that history, not eliminate it, nor celebrate all aspects of it.”

Over the past two years, hundreds of OSU students and employees, community stakeholders and alumni participated in numerous meetings about these buildings. Hundreds more contributed their input by e-mail, in phone calls, and on a website comment form created for this building name review.

In addition, the university conducted scholarly research on each of these buildings and interviewed more than a dozen individuals who personally knew these buildings’ namesakes. The scholars’ research resulted in four reports totaling more than 50 pages and a 27-page qualitative analysis of the input received on the website comment form and at six community meetings.

“The process of reconciling the histories of these buildings has embodied the spirit and purpose of this university,” Ray said. “OSU is a community where learning, discovery, listening, discussion – and even debate – is respected and encouraged.

“While not everyone will agree with the outcomes, I believe this process is proof that at OSU, we productively and positively take on tough issues and collaborate.”

Ray received recommendations regarding each of these buildings from OSU’s Architectural Naming Committee, and he met with members of a Building and Place Name Evaluation Work Group regarding their assessment of these buildings’ names.

In addition to undertaking a process to rename the three buildings, Ray directed the OSU Architectural Naming Committee to:

  • Develop and share public education about the history of the five buildings and their namesakes;
  • Lead the university in gathering the history of all OSU buildings and their namesakes; and
  • Create website information, mobile app information and permanent history displays for all university buildings.

The university’s building names and places evaluation process, renaming criteria and naming policy, along with the research on these buildings and their namesakes, is found on the OSU Building and Place Name website.

Media Contact: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808 or 503-502-8217, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

Source: 

By Steve Clark, 541-737-3808 or 503-502-8217, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu