Opportunities Exist to Collaborate on Educational Modules

Collaborating with Extension and on-campus faculty to develop learning modules and open textbooks is at the core of Open Oregon State’s activities. Open Oregon State was formed in 2013 to create online educational resources that can be accessed freely by students and teachers in digital media collections around the world. It is part of the Division of University Outreach and Engagement and falls under the umbrella of OSU Extended Campus.

[Note: Open Oregon State is different than OSU Open Campus, which is also part of the Division of Outreach and Engagement.]


Open Oregon State Learning Module
Photo: startupphotos.com

Learning Modules

Open Oregon State enhances learning experiences by incorporating emerging technologies.

“Early on, our multimedia developers and instructional designers created open modules in the agricultural sciences and STEM fields, some with dual-language functionality,” said Dianna Fisher, director of the unit. “Now we’re branching out and doing work with other colleges on campus and we are also working on projects with Oregon Community Colleges. We’re proud of the quality and creativity we bring to making knowledge accessible and learning engaging and effective.”

New Spanish language modules will help women start businesses, and a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is being developed in collaboration with the department of Horticulture and Professional and Continuing Education (PACE), also part of the Division.

To experience the educational possibilities, check out this featured module:

Water Crisis

This module explores water-related issues, current and future work to supply the water necessary for society, and offers an opportunity to hear from OSU experts.


Open Textbooks

Open TextbookResearch shows a direct relationship between textbook costs and student success. Why? Textbooks can cost up to $1,200 a year for a full-time student, sometimes forcing students to choose between paying rent or buying food and buying a textbook.

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.

Open Oregon State has made impressive headway in developing free online textbooks. (Online textbooks are also available in low-cost print versions for essentially the cost of printing.) The inaugural textbook, “Living with Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest,” is by Robert S. Yeats, a professor emeritus in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. At least four more open textbooks are scheduled to be published by the end of 2016.

“Online textbooks do more than save students money,” said Dianna. “As new information and science emerges, online textbooks can be updated immediately. Multimedia elements can also be added to enhance the learning experience.”

To learn more about module and open textbook opportunities and requirements, click here. Open Oregon State offers funding of up to $2,000 to foster faculty participation in providing content and working with the development team to design and produce modules and short courses. Proposals are accepted and evaluated for funding once per term.

Funding for the unit comes from grants, the Division of Outreach and Engagement, Oregon State Ecampus and student fees. For more information about existing online educational resources or new opportunities with Open Oregon State, please contact:

Dianna Fisher, Director
Open Oregon State

Calvin & Hobbes quote

The faculty and staff of the Division of University Outreach and Engagement make the lives of others better every day of the year. It may be difficult in the moment to see your impact, but as we look back, “everything is different,” as the wise cartoon characters Calvin and Hobbes suggest.

Each of you is celebrated for the energy you give and the work you are doing as 2015 comes to a close and all the possibilities of 2016 open before us.

“Making a difference starts with one step, with one foot, then the next.” Hope Galaxie

Happy New Year!

Share greetings with your colleagues and community partners.

“We are confronted by insurmountable opportunities!” Comic strip character Pogo, as quoted by Vice Provost Scott Reed


OSU_PSU Collaboration 1

Faculty from OSU and Portland State University (PSU) met on November 13 to identify opportunities for community-engaged research and action to address the most pressing issues facing Oregon.

“The two universities have a history of cooperation,” said Scott Reed, vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement, in his opening comments. “Earlier this year, the presidents of OSU and PSU co-committed to the two universities working together. This meeting taps into the collective intelligence of our institutions and begins taking cooperation to a new systematic level. Higher impact outcomes will result when we work together.”

Scott noted that OSU and PSU are the only two higher education institutions in Oregon that carry the Carnegie Community Engagement designation.

Stephen Percy, dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at PSU also offered welcoming comments, noting that both universities have an interest in community-building. “Cooperating is an opportunity to bring students into the mix to engage in outreach,” said Stephen. “Working together will be powerful.”

Toward One Oregon provides a framework for conversation beyond the divides of the state – east/west, rural/urban, for example – and instead helps us talk about connectors,” Scott stated.

OSU_PSU Collaboration 2Healthy people, prosperous communities and flourishing agriculture and natural resources were the three areas of discussion. Relative to these three topic areas, participants identified what they are currently working on; what they think are critical community issues; and what capabilities exist within OSU and PSU.

Health equity, the transformation of health systems, aging in place using technology, and investing in economic development to create a framework of livability were some of the issues discussed related to healthy people.

When discussing prosperous communities, economy, housing and land use, education and governance are closely linked.

Areas identified as worthy of additional study around agriculture and natural resources include the economics of sustainable agriculture (examining exogenous and endogenous influences); placing a value on ecosystem services; quality versus quantity in the urban and rural environments needs examination on the issue of food access and security (“large farms feed poor people; small farms feed rich people”); and land use and access (aging farmers want/need to use the sale of their land to fund their retirement, whereas, others want to farm, but do not have affordable access to land).

OSU_PSU Collaboration 4Scott and Stephen created an OSU-PSU Collaboration Fund, which offers start-up funds for joint pilot projects between OSU and PSU faculty.

The fund is meant to accelerate opportunities for research collaborations serving Oregon communities. Recognizing that these experiences often require extra resources beyond faculty time, the fund offers seed monies to faculty teams for fiscal year 2015-2016 to support expenses associated with community-engaged inter-institutional projects. Fund details can be found here.

Fund proposals must be submitted via email by December 18 to Patrick Proden, regional administrator for OSU Extension in Multnomah and Washington counties, and Sheila Martin, director of the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies at PSU. Grant funds must be expended by June 30, 2016.

“This is the beginning of a conversation we hope will continue,” said Sheila.

OSU_PSU Collaboration 3In closing, Scott quoted the comic strip Pogo as a reminder of the possibilities of cooperatively serving Oregon: “We are confronted by insurmountable opportunities!”

The meeting was organized by Patrick, Sheila and Jason Jurjevich, assistant director of the Population Research Center at PSU. Mike Bondi, regional administrator for the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) in Clackamas County hosted the event. (Mike noted that NWREC is the only research center in Oregon that is a working farm.)

4-H youth takes a chicken to a nursing home
Engaging in community service, an Oregon 4-H youth takes a chicken to visit a senior center

“The impact of 4-H on young people in America and Oregon is profound,” said OSU Extension 4-H Program Leader Pamela Rose. “4-H faculty and volunteers serve almost 95,000 Oregon children in elementary through high school.”

4-H is the youth development program of the Cooperative Extension Systems of America’s land-grant universities. Begun more than 100 years ago in rural America, 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization.

In fact, there are programs in all 3,007 counties of the U.S. With a presence in each of Oregon’s 36 counties, 4-H programs are no longer solely agriculturally base, though that remains a strong component of its positive youth development and mentoring programs.

A decade-long study, completed by a team of researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, Medford, Mass., found that compared to their peers, 4-H’ers are:

  • Four times more likely to make contributions to their communities (in Grades 7-12);
  • Two times more likely to be civically active (in Grades 8-12);
  • Two times more likely to make healthier choices (in Grade 7);
  • Two times more likely to participate in Science, Engineering and Computer Technology programs during out-of-school time (in Grades 10 – 12); and
  • 4-H girls are two (in Grade 10) or three (in Grade 12) times more likely to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities.

4-H Agriculture

Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four H’s in 4-H, and they are the four values members work on through fun and engaging programs ranging from science and engineering projects, expressive arts, civic engagement, personal development and communications to animal science, natural resources, home economics and horticulture.

4-H logoThe 4-H Pledge:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

The basic purpose of 4-H is the personal growth of its members. By using 4-H projects as important means for achievement and growth, members build skills they can use the rest of their lives. Life skills development is expanding beyond the core 4-H community club model. Now youth also participate through urban groups, afterschool, community resource development, special interest groups, school enrichment, camping and leadership learning experiences.

Ana Lu Fonseca, Ana Gomez, Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas, Mario Magana, and Cristian Curiel have recently been chosen as recipients of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic’s Bright Spots in Hispanic Education. They were recognized for the impact these programs have made on young people, particularly to help in the achievement of higher education: JUNTOS; Families Involved in Education: Sociocultural Teaching and STEM (FIESTAS); Oregon Leadership Institute (OLI); and the National Mentoring 4-H Tech Wizards.

4-H Science Project at Pool

Octaviano provides leadership for 4-H Tech Wizards, which has been one of three successful Cooperative Extension System youth mentoring programs modeled for replication as a part of the 4-H National Mentoring Program (4-H NMP).  Over 34 land-grant universities have replicated this program, which now engages more than 16,000 mentees and 4,000 mentors.

Patrick Willis provides leadership to the implementation and expansion of the 4-H Tech Wizards Program here in Oregon. This expansion not only means an increase in funding, it has had a substantial impact on Oregon youth. The replication team is currently serving over 300 youth each week in Multnomah, Lincoln and Wasco counties.

“Over the five years of this project, youth have also been served in Marion, Jefferson, and Hood River counties,” reported Pamela. “Kudos to Todd Williver (Lincoln), Lynnette Black (Wasco), and Alice Phillips, Whitman Bouton and Stacey Sowders (Multnomah County) for the high quality programming they are providing to students!”

Pamela also offers kudos to Mary Stewart for her terrific coordination of OSU Extension’s premier 4-H National Youth Science Day event that took place on Wednesday, October 7. Around 160 youth, from six different area schools gathered at Highland Park Middle School to participate in Motion Commotion experiments.

4-H National Youth Science Day on October 7th 2015. Science experiments designed by 4-H in Oregon.
4-H National Youth Science Day on October 7 2015. Science experiments designed by 4-H in Oregon.

“The Motion Commotion experiments performed nationally this year were created by the Oregon 4-H program in partnership with Vernier Software and Technology,” stated Pamela. The youth engaged in two experiments, which were facilitated by Washington County 4-H Ambassadors, Vernier Software staff and area teachers. The students then explored science-related careers and additional experiments by the eight Vernier Software staff, including owner David Vernier, CEO John Wilson, and experiment collaborator Fran Poudry.

“A special thanks to the members of the planning support team for this effort,” said Pamela, “including Patrick Willis, Washington 4-H; Kristen Harrison, Portland STEM Center; David Nieslanik, Highland Park Middle School Principal (and 4-H alumni); Dara Easley, Technical Consultant; and Christina Lenkowski, Marketing Consultant.”

At the 2015 annual conference of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents hosted by OSU Extension Service 4-H in Portland, Ore., the week of October 26, six Oregon 4-H youth development professionals were recognized for their work and time of service:


Achievement in Service Award Jon Gandy, Jefferson County
Distinguished Service Award Roberta Lundeberg, State Office (OSU)
  Mike Knutz, Yamhill County
Meritorious Service Award Janice Cowan, Baker County
National 4-H Innovator Award Lynette Black, Wasco County
25 Year Award Doug Hart, State Office (OSU)
  Janice Cowan, Baker County

4-H InfographicJamie Davis, Lake County, and Mary Arnold, State Office, have taken on national leadership roles on the NAE4-HA Board of Trustees as Regional Director for the Western Region and Chair for the Research and Evaluation Committee, respectively.

Sources: www.4-H.org, OSU Extension 4-H Program Leader Pamela Rose

November 2, 2015 — In this month’s video, Scott Reed introduces O&E’s new Communications & Marketing Manager who is charged with communicating the purpose, activities and accomplishments of the Division, which ultimately will result in strong stakeholder support. He also reveals why the focus on community outreach is vital.

Scott believes: “The engagement trajectory we’re on will change the university, and everyone in the Division is key to that. In the spirit of co-creation and reciprocity, community engagement makes the university better.”

Please take a few minutes to view the video and share your favorite OSU youth outreach and engagement story. Topic suggestions for future First Monday videos are also welcome. What do you want to know about University Outreach and Engagement?