Twice a week, students gather around Keely Moxley in the agricultural sciences lab at Klamath Community College (KCC). They talk, laugh, and share insights from their online OSU classes. In the lab, they test water and oil in a vacuum system to assess hydraulic pressure for farm implements. “Having face-to-face interaction instead of by email makes it easier to motivate students,” said Moxley, the local coordinator for Oregon Open Campus who is helping create a personal connection for online OSU students.
Now, Klamath Community College graduates can work toward an Oregon State University online bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences—and gain on-the-ground mentorship during their studies. OSU and Oregon Open Campus officials worked with stakeholders in Klamath Falls to develop the program, based on the OSU Extension model to provide Oregonians with educational opportunities tailored to local needs.
Six students were enrolled in online OSU Ecampus classes in 2013, the first time OSU offered classes at KCC. Next, OSU will offer a farm safety class and animal sciences courses with face-to-face support from faculty at KCC and OSU’s Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center (KBREC).
The online students can customize their curriculum, emphasizing fields like crop science or agricultural business. Internships are possible at the research center and at local companies, said KBREC Director Willie Riggs. “Students will do most of the work through online courses, and we will serve as advisers and mentors to help them along,” he said. In return, Riggs hopes the new partnership will further boost the local economy by keeping an educated workforce close to home.