Oregon State to provide flexible learning options for students this fall
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will deliver over 90% of courses on its Corvallis campus remotely in the fall, providing maximum flexibility that will enable students to learn where it is best for them while advancing their safety, success and continued academic progress amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Bend at OSU-Cascades, about half of courses will be offered on-site, and nearly all courses will include remote learning options that will provide students the choice of where to live and study. “This approach will make it possible for students to live and study from home if that is the best option for them,” said OSU President F. King Alexander. “It also will limit the density of activity on our campuses and help minimize the possible spread of COVID-19 among students and employees. If students feel safest living at home and taking OSU courses remotely and online, almost all of our instruction will support that choice. If a student chooses to live on campus while they pursue their studies, they are welcome at OSU.”
The university’s plan for on-site teaching, research and service activities is based on current health conditions and public health guidelines and is designed for maximum flexibility if conditions change.
“The decision to create extensive remote learning options is fully consistent with the principles in OSU’s resumption plan, which the university’s Board of Trustees will review on Friday for consistency with guidelines issued by local and state health authorities and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission,” Alexander said.
The university will offer four types of courses this fall: in-person, remote learning, blended, and online through the university’s top-ranked Ecampus program. Remote learning features scheduled class times and video conferencing with faculty using Zoom. Blended learning is a combination of in-person and remote learning. Ecampus online classes are more flexible, faculty-led and do not have set class times or direct face-to-face engagement with faculty.
“Most of the courses that will be offered on-site in Corvallis have a heavy experiential learning component, such as labs and field courses, and require in-person learning,” said Edward Feser, OSU provost and executive vice president. “Some students—especially advanced undergraduates and graduate students—may need to be in Corvallis in order to take those courses and continue progressing in their degree programs.”
In-person classes at OSU-Cascades also include labs and field courses requiring in-person learning. University classrooms on both campuses are being made Zoom-ready with additional technology.
In-person class instruction will end at Thanksgiving break for Corvallis students with final exams and projects conducted remotely.
OSU has made a number of other adjustments for fall term, including:
- A requirement for face coverings in common indoor spaces and outside where social distancing isn’t possible.
- Adjusting physical spaces on campus to comply with public health guidance. New signage and directional arrows to help minimize close contact in campus dining centers, coffee shops and other common spaces.
- Changes to residence halls and dining facilities. Students living on campus in Corvallis will have only one roommate or live in single rooms. At OSU-Cascades, the residence hall will feature only single rooms. Campus move-in will occur over several days. A variety of dining options will be available, but all items will be served to-go.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting common areas in university buildings and deep cleaning classrooms each evening. Cleaning stations will be available in classroom buildings so spaces can be wiped down upon entry.
- All members of the Oregon State community will conduct daily health self-screenings. Those who show symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 must stay home.
- Making COVID-19 testing available to symptomatic students and their primary contacts in Corvallis. At OSU-Cascades, testing for symptomatic students and their primary contacts will be available through referral by Student Health Services telemedicine. Rooms and support services will be provided in residence halls at both campuses for isolation if needed by a student.
- Continuously testing for the prevalence of the virus that causes COVID-19 on the Corvallis and OSU-Cascades campuses and at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Prevalence testing will be provided with the guidance of OSU researchers leading the TRACE-COVID-19 project. In addition to prevalence testing, wastewater on the campuses and at Hatfield will be monitored for the presence of the virus.
- Freezing tuition for returning students attending OSU in Corvallis, Bend, Portland and at Eastern Oregon University and investing in additional financial aid. Scholarship offers for students who elect to study elsewhere in the fall and return to OSU in a subsequent term will be preserved.
- Several student fees are being reviewed for possible adjustment.