Purdue University is revamping its online Precision Agriculture course and gearing it towards high school agriculture teachers. The course will focus on digital agriculture and was developed with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The course also will be offered through the Purdue Agronomy e-Learning Academy, which offers online courses aimed at working professionals in agriculture, agribusiness and agricultural consulting.
“We’re moving into a digital era of agriculture,” said Bruce Erickson, agronomy education distance and outreach director in the Purdue College of Agriculture. “We’ve been in it for a couple of decades, but we’re moving faster now and in many ways our workforce is not prepared for this, all the data that we’re dealing with and the sensors and the data analysis.”
Purdue says the course provides more resources for high school teachers to teach digital agriculture to the next generation of farmers, agronomists, agribusiness professionals and agricultural consultants.
“There’s a pipeline of people that are going to be working in the future and we certainly need to get them up to speed,” Erickson said.
The university says the overall goal of the three-year project is to provide resources that enrich curriculum and can be integrated into classrooms and labs. A series of learning modules will also become part of the continuing education offerings promoted by the Indiana Department of Agriculture.
“These courses have an appeal to those wanting to broaden their skill sets to make them more marketable,” Erickson said. “They are organized into short modules that feature annotated and engaging videos, reading materials and built-in assessments so students can track their learning. The ag industry has already embraced our online classes and has enrolled more than 2,000 students from 48 states and 38 countries since our program started.”
In addition to Precision Agriculture, courses offered through the Agronomy e-Learning Academy this fall include Agronomy Essentials and Nutrient Management.