Agronomy launching into online education
Purdue University’s Department of Agronomy is expanding
outreach by launching into the world of online education. Agronomy Essentials, our inaugural online
course, was designed by Purdue Professor Bruce Erickson, PhD to meet the needs
of professionals in all areas of agriculture. Beginning January 14, the non-academic 12-week
course will provide a comprehensive baseline understanding of agronomy for
farmers and employees of agricultural service and supply companies. Housed on Blackboard, the course material will
be available on mobile or stationary devices with internet access. Certificates of completion will be awarded to those
who successfully complete the course. Continuing education credits toward the designation
of Certified Crop Advisor have been applied for and are anticipated.
Agronomy Essentials consists of six major units of study,
beginning with soil and tracing the growing process from seed selection through
marketing the crop. Each unit contains text,
slides, videos, graphics, glossaries, reference material, and quizzes to test
the learner’s grasp of the information. To maximize retention of knowledge, the course
includes over 100 videos that combine audio and visual learning. Course units will be released every two weeks
and will then remain online through April 8 for participants to review the
material. Agronomy Essentials promotes important
knowledge that will expand the learner’s understanding and communication skills,
leading to greater career effectiveness. More knowledgeable employees will ultimately
benefit employers as well.
This inaugural step in distance education will be followed
by other courses to meet the needs of agricultural professionals and their
employers. In anticipation of further
need for knowledge, Purdue is planning additional courses to progress agronomy
education to the next level. The online
course pipeline includes two future courses, “Nutrient Management” and “Precision
Farming” to be released over the next two years.
Because of the demand for this type of baseline educational
opportunity, Agronomy Essentials will be offered twice more during 2015.