Recipient of 2015 Award for
Excellence in Distance Learning for Professional Development
Next course begins June 24. Registration opens May 1
This year, Purdue
University’s Department of Agronomy expanded outreach into the world of online
education for professionals. Agronomy Essentials, the inaugural course
within Agronomy e-Learning Academy, was designed by Bruce Erickson, PhD to meet
the needs of professionals in all areas of agriculture. It was the 2015
recipient of Purdue University’s Award for Excellence in Distance Learning for
With the first course
offering successfully completed in early spring, the course will be offered twice
again in 2015, beginning on June 24 and again on September 30.
The 12-week Agronomy
Essentials course, comprised of six major units of study, is a professional,
non-college credit course that provides a comprehensive baseline understanding
of agronomy for farmers and employees of agricultural service and supply
companies. Housed on Purdue’s Blackboard Learn, the course material is accessible
on any computer or mobile device with internet access. Certificates
of Completion and 25 Certified Crop Advisor continuing education units are awarded
to those who successfully complete the course.
Results from the first
post-course survey were encouraging, with the following quotes as a small sampling
of statements by participants:
“This was an all-around world-class online
course for those seeking knowledge
from an expert in the field of agronomy and
“I really enjoyed the course, but I didn’t
expect anything less from Purdue! I
forward to more courses be offered.”
“The course content is excellent and is
presented very well by the instructors.
Their presentation method easily maintains your attention.”
includes 26 modules that delve into agronomic specifics. The course begins with
a detailed study of soil and proceeds by tracing the growing process from soil
preparation and seed selection through marketing the crop. Agronomy
Essentials offers 100 professionally produced HD teaching videos to provide the
core knowledge. The video format is accompanied by additional reading, glossaries,
and graphics to help illustrate concepts. This multiple pronged approach aims
to appeal to different learning styles and maximize retention of the knowledge.
Course units, each with
approximately four modules, are released every two weeks and remain online for
participants to review throughout the rest of the course. An alternative
schedule is available for those who wish to follow a more accelerated schedule
through the course.
promotes important knowledge that will expand the learner’s understanding and
communication skills, leading to greater career effectiveness. More
knowledgeable employees benefit customers as well as employers.
With Agronomy Essentials
serving as the inaugural step in distance education, it will be followed by
other specialized courses designed to meet the needs of agricultural
professionals and their employers. The online course pipeline includes two
future courses, “Nutrient Management” and “Precision Farming”. The first of
these more advanced courses, “Precision Farming”, will be released in late 2015.