Teaching its first class from a deactivated Marine hospital in 1947, the Oregon Institute of Technology has spent over half a century finding ways to educate regardless of obstacle. Best known for its core engineering and technical courses, OIT turns out health care professionals to environmental science graduates, all receiving the same hands on learning and extra-curricular research afforded OIT students.
With a main campus located in Klamath Falls, Oregon (as well as satellites in La Grande, four in Portland, and a partner site with Boeing in Seattle), it is the only public institute of technology in the US northwest and is routinely among the top ten in Western Bachelor colleges. Offering Associate, Bachelor, Master, and certification in numerous technical fields, including unique programs as in their Renewable Energy Engineering degree (the first in the nation and appropriate as the school is trying to become the first geothermal university).
Distance education is on display at OIT (through the Portland campuses), with an ever growing number of degree completion and some entirely online degree programs that help you achieve an Associate, Bachelor, or certification without “the hassles” involved in traditional schooling. Instructors provide a “structured learning experience with deadlines… [with] a range of time in which to complete your assignments”, with all student/faculty/class interactions taking place virtually.
The “only school in the Pacific northwest offering web-based degree completion…in high demand health technologies”, OIT offers Associate degree or certificate holders in certain areas access an online Bachelor in five health related fields. From Dental Hygiene to Echocardiography, people currently in the medical field or working with two year degrees are able to enhance their education with more accredited schooling to allow for greater upward mobility in their chosen fields. Credit from both colleges and professional registries are accepted, with advisors creating specific curriculum for each student’s online program based on previous teachings. There is also a completion program in Allied Health Management for those who have already achieved licensure or an Associate in an allied health field (they’re the people who help the health care workers, more on the technical/support side).
There are also completely online degrees in Information Technology and one for Operations Management, both four year programs with some classes coming from other college distance education programs. There is some lab work involved with health care related degree programs, of course, and hands on labs are available in a couple areas (although they do allow some credit substitution courses for those whose schedule really prevents them for attending labs).
The Distance Education staff of the college provides help with online advisement and registration, as well as creating clear and coherent curricula of learning that mirrors the quality of traditional programs, and are available at all times. Classes follow the same quarterly calendar as their on campus equivalent, with 3, ten week terms (and an 8 week summer session). Blackboards is utilized here, as well as Elluminate for web conferencing, library materials are available online, and there is a wide variety of classes offered through OIT and other Oregon schools to allow for any student to get some extra classes in without making more trips to campus.
Numerous programs to fit any technical student’s time and passion, Oregon Tech uses experiential learning, resources in Portland, and connections with the industry (faculty often are pulled from industry jobs to teach) to bring the real world to the student, preparing them once books are closed and graduating ended.