Oregon State University ranked No. 4 in nation for online education

History major and OSU Ecampus student, Ashton Cheshire, smiles for a photo via Zoom. Cheshire, located in North Texas, chose to attend OSU based on her research of top Ecampus programs.

Tam Tong, News Contributor

Oregon State University is ranked No. 4 among America’s five best providers of online undergraduate education for the seventh straight year according to a U.S. News & World Report.

In the rankings released on Jan. 11, Oregon State University earned  fourth place out of more than 350 institutions in the nation in the category of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. 

“For the online program rankings, U.S. News looks at things like whether core faculty deliver the courses, class sizes, and other tangible indicators of program quality. We put a great emphasis on quality in online delivery at OSU and so we’re very pleased when that is recognized.” Edward Feser, provost & executive vice president of OSU, said via email. 

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Among 81 online programs, OSU offers more than 45 bachelor’s programs; some outstanding programs are business administration, computer science, psychology, public health, and wildlife sciences.

The OSU Ecampus was featured in three additional top-five rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

Ecampus was ranked No. 2 for Best Online Psychology Bachelor’s Program; and No. 3 for both Best Online Bachelor’s Program for Veterans and Best Online Business Bachelor’s Program. 

“We partner with more than 1,000 Oregon State faculty members and 10 colleges to deliver Ecampus courses and programs online. This ranking is a reflection of the excellent and collaborative work from so many people in the OSU community,” Ecampus Associate Provost Lisa L. Templeton said via email. “Even though we’re pleased when our work is recognized nationally, pursuing rankings is never a priority for Oregon State. We are motivated by the university’s collective mission to increase access to learning opportunities online and meet the needs of Ecampus students around the world.”

According to Templeton, the U.S. News & World Report evaluates the quality of the online education based on four criteria: faculty credentials and training, student engagement, services and technology, and expert opinion. 

OSU provides Ecampus students with a well-rounded experience, which has caused the university to score the highest in terms of faculty expertise consistently for seven years.

“I am a full time working mom, and so I didn’t really have time for on-campus education to begin with,” an incoming OSU student majored in History Ashton Sutton said via email. “But with the pandemic that we’re currently facing, I was 100 times more grateful that OSU offers what they do online. I can do my work on my time, and now have the added layer of being able to make sure I keep my family healthy by being able to do virtual learning.” 

Especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has shifted the mindset of many prospective students to think about the best way to pursue a college education. OSU provides more options for students who wish to pursue a degree.

“After COVID-19, I expect we may retain some synchronous remote instruction where it makes sense for the content of the course. That broadens the mix of ways students can study even more. This is important as we serve an increasingly diverse group of learners, like people pursuing second careers or working while earning their degree,” Feser said.

Moving forward, in order to not only maintain but further improve the ranking, Feser saidOSU’s online education will create new programs; innovate the way class content is delivered; expand and improve the training of faculty and improve how they support students in Ecampus courses. 

“We also want to make sure all of our Ecampus students know they are part of the OSU community as a whole, and that OSU is their university whether they are on-campus or studying online,” Feser said.