Ohio University was founded in 1804 by Manasseh Cutler, a chaplain who served in General George Washington’s Continental Army. The school was established just one year after Ohio ratified the Constitution, making it the first college in the state and the ninth in the United States. Located in the town of Athens, the school has earned a distinguished reputation over the last two centuries. Some of OU’s recent accomplishments include its recognition as a high-research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2005, and the selection of 10 OU students to receive Fulbright Scholarships in 2011. Currently, there are more than 35,000 students studying at all campuses, with 17,000 at the main Athena campus and 4,000 students online. According to USNWR, OU boasts a teacher-to-student ratio of 20 to 1.
Undergraduates who attend OU can choose from more than 250 areas of study. While all of the fundamental subjects of a liberal arts education are present, the school offers a particularly wide selection of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. Undergraduates may also explore courses offered through the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, which has received positive recognition from the Associated Press and U.S. News & World Report, and the Patton College of Education, which offers unconventional degree programs like Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Outdoor Recreation and Education. OU offers five undergraduate programs completely online: four bachelor’s degrees (RN to BSN, technical and applied studies, criminal justice, and applied management), as well as the RN to BSN Academic Outreach Initiative, which is exclusively awarded to employees of healthcare partners.
Ohio University also offers more than 130 master’s and Ph.D. programs, as well as several non-degree certification programs. The largest graduate-level fields of study include education, business, and engineering; advanced students can also pursue more specialized programs, such as an M.F.A. in Ceramics (fifth best in the country, according to USNWR) or a doctorate in osteopathic medicine (the only program of its kind in the country). Eight graduate degrees are available online; these include seven master’s degrees (athletic administration, MBA, coaching education, engineering management, health administration, MSN, and social sciences), as well as an early childhood generalist 4th-5th grade endorsement.
Students who enroll in Ohio University’s online degree programs utilize Blackboard, a virtual learning environment that enables learners to not only access curricula and course materials via the Internet, but also communicate with their professors, network with classmates, and initiate study groups using site forums. Additionally, students can take individual courses using eCampus; OU online courses are available in three different formats.
1. Print-based courses (PBC) are led by a tutor, but structured for independent learning. Instructors provide study guides to students, and feedback is shared via email, fax, or snail mail. Enrollment is allowed at any time of the year, and students are given eight-months to finish the course. Current PBC offerings at OU include courses in environmental engineering, marketing, political science, and psychology.
2. Course credit by examination (CCE) is available for students who are already familiar with specific areas of study and wish to earn credit through comprehensive examination. A course syllabus is provided and the student is given a six-month period from date of enrollment to complete the exam. The majority of current CCE offerings are concentrated in foreign languages like French and Spanish, though courses in English, history, and philosophy are also available.
3. Independent study projects are geared toward individuals who prefer to complete courses at their own pace. First, the student chooses a course from the undergraduate catalog and speaks with a professor to determine appropriate texts and other materials to satisfy course requirements. Once an agreement is made, the student has six months until the deadline.
For those who are unsure if online courses fit their needs, OU’s Readiness for Education at a Distance Indicator (READI) tool can help. This test measures traits such as reading comprehension, technical competency, preferred learning styles, and more personal attributes like self-motivation or persistence to determine the likelihood of a student succeeding online. READI uses an in-depth questionnaire to generate an accurate picture of a student’s needs and aptitudes. The test takes roughly 20 minutes to complete, and the score is immediately made available to the both the student and the university. Depending on the score, resources may be provided to help students develop their individual strengths.
One of the oldest universities in the U.S. has become a leader in web-based higher education. By providing a wealth of major and minor opportunities, as well as several different learning formats (both on- and offline), OU is one of the most appealing academic choices for today’s students.