Eastern Oregon University (EOU) is a public institution accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Although it is the smallest of the Oregon University System institutions, it delivers more distance education courses to more students than any of its sister institutions.
EOU delivers distance education courses and degrees through a variety of delivery methods: two-way interactive video, print-based correspondence, videotape, and online via the Internet. Eastern currently offers associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees via distance education. Each program utilizes two or more distance education delivery methods and all the associate's and bachelor's degree programs include courses offered by correspondence, usually supplemented by email between the student and the instructor.
Correspondence courses are self-paced and students have up to two terms to complete each course. All other distance education courses are offered in standard quarter terms that are ten weeks in length.
Eastern Oregon University's distance education programs include:
Two associate's degrees - an Associate of Arts in General Studies and an Associate of Science in Office Administration;
Six bachelor's degrees - BA/BS in Business/Economics, BA/BS in Business Administration, BA/BS in Fire Service Administration, BA/BS in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BA/BS in Liberal Studies; and
A Master's of Teacher Education.
Eastern Oregon University has been given waivers of requirements for a minimum number of weeks of instruction for an academic year and an eligible program, and the definition of a week of instruction (which together comprise the 12 hour rule); and the definition of a correspondence student.
Financial Aid Issues/Alternatives
Eastern Oregon University is attempting to facilitate students registering for courses they most need for advancement in degree programs instead of what is needed for financial aid eligibility. In the past many students adjusted their course registrations solely to be fully-funded by financial aid. Students have dropped correspondence courses and added telecommunications or residential courses (weekend college) in order to receive a full financial aid package. While the course changes may still be applicable for programs, they may not be what the student most needs to be taking at the current time in her/his program. A waiver of the definition of correspondence allows Eastern to fund these students in an equivalent way to students involved in telecommunications or residential courses. EOU expects that this will allow students to complete their degree programs more efficiently and will reduce the amount of time financial aid staff spend adjusting individual aid packages.
Additional Goals for Participation.
Eastern Oregon University has identified a number of broad goals for their participation, which are drawn from the University's current strategic plan. Specific measures relating to distance education include:
Increase correspondence course completion rates by 15%.
Effectuate a decrease in drops/adds to classes caused by students changing classes related to qualifying for financial aid and having distance education students complete their degrees a minimum of one term sooner.
Demonstrate through student survey responses that academic program planning becomes easier and more rational.
Increase the by 5% per year the number of minority students involved in distance education (Eastern has a center on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and actively recruits in this and other minority communities.)
Make all university-based services available to distance education students via technology and through 14 statewide centers.
Provide appropriate facilities and related services to insure a healthy and safe environment for living and for learning.
Improve marketing for distance education programs by ensuring materials accurately reflect the University's requirements and expectations and making them available via the Web and through regional centers.
Increase by 50% the availability of non-Title IV University-based scholarship and financial aid available to distance education students over the next 3 years.
Reduce the amount of time financial aid staff report having to spend adjusting financial aid packages because of issues related to correspondence courses.
Through the Eastern Oregon Collaborative Colleges Center, EOU has established formal 2+2 programs with Treasure Valley Community College and Blue Mountain Community College. In addition, EOU is involved in a number of informal 2+2 programs with community colleges around the state including (but not limited to) Central Oregon Community College and South Western Oregon Community College. Different consortium arrangements and agreements have been established with these institutions.
Demonstration Program Cohort
Eastern Oregon University joined the Distance Education Demonstration Program in July 2001 as part of the second cohort.