This Wednesday starts the second round of Purdue University’s Department of Agronomy e-Learning Academy class called Agronomy Essentials. It is the first course offered by the online academy and the inaugural course was this spring, receiving the 2015 Purdue University Award for Excellence in Distance Learning for professional development. Dr. Bruce Erickson designed the course.
“Agronomy Essentials is a non-academic course,” he explained. “There are a number of individuals who work for agricultural companies in retail, in management, working directly with farmers perhaps, who for whatever reason didn’t get a basic agronomy course or a basic crop production course in their education as they came up through the system. So a number of people are looking to fill in that expertise.”
Although the 12-week course is introductory, Erickson says the depth of material is far-reaching.
“We have 26 modules that cover topics from soils and land preparation to plant nutrition and soil fertility, a lot of information in terms of crop and variety selection, planting practices and all those types of things, pest management, diagnostics. Within those 26 modules each of those have a number of lessons, so each of those modules would take a learner about an hour or a little bit more to complete.”
e-Learning Academy will next offer courses in two very important subject areas, Nutrient Management and Precision Farming.
“We’re really excited about these upcoming courses,” he told HAT. “We want to lay the foundation with agronomy essentials. We wanted to make sure there is a course for broad, encompassing topics like that that would provide a foundation for their agronomy education. Then on top of that we’re going to offer this fall the precision farming course, we have that in the works. Then next is a nutrient management course and then we have other things planned potentially too.”
Agronomy Essentials starts June 24 and again on September 30. 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. Get more details on the Purdue website.