SmartFarm Learning Hub: Next generation technologies for agricultural education

Poster 13

Sue Gregory
University of New England

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Tuesday 5 December 3pm – 3.45pm

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The Australian agricultural industry faces many workforce challenges including 1. a shortage of tertiary graduates to fill available positions and 2. employees possessing the knowledge and skills of how to use the latest agri-tech tools and systems. The SmartFarm Learning Hub (the Hub) project aims to increase the employability of tertiary agricultural students by preparing them with the skills and knowledge for a successful career in an increasingly complex and highly technical industry. The Hub is a collaboration between seven universities, both here in Australia and the USA. Each participating university will produce a learning module focused on inputting genuine farm data into a Real Industry Technology Learning System (RITLS) which will be placed on the Hub web site allowing students across the world to access and analyse data and outline the subsequent management decisions they would make to increase on-farm profitability, productivity and sustainability.

Each of the modules will be evaluated as part of an action research cycle with the feedback received utilised to improve them for future student cohorts. Preliminary results show that the project is achieving its aim, with students perceiving their employability skills to have increased as a result of completing the modules. This poster introduces the ADDIL model an instructional design model borne out of research conducted by the online course development team at the Namibia University of Science and Technology after they observed a misconception in the conversion of content from face-to-face to a technology enhanced learning environment (TELE). The team had observed that  conversion simply implied the copying and pasting of content from existing print study guides into the Moodle learning management system rather than transforming the teaching and learning. This misconception resulted in the LMS being erroneously used as a repository. One way of ensuring that the value and benefits that TELE offers are felt, is in adequately aligning the instructional design model for transforming traditional face-to-face courses to an online

About the authors

Sue Gregory

Associate Professor Sue Gregory is the Chair of Research, Education Scholar and member of the ICT team in the School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, Australia. She holds a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Sue teaches pre-service and postgraduate education students how to incorporate technology into their teaching. She has been applying her virtual world knowledge to expose her students, both online and off-campus, since 2007. She has been involved with many national and university projects on creating and using learning spaces in virtual worlds, with over Au$1.2m in grants, including five Australian Category 1, two as lead. She received an OLT citation in 2012. Since 2009, Sue has been Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Virtual Worlds Working Group and has over 100 publications on teaching and learning in virtual worlds and also in the area of exploring various tools for online teaching and learning.