Purdue University's Department of Agronomy is expanding professional development courses through its new Agronomy e-Learning Academy following the success of its first such online course, Agronomy Essentials.
Over the next year, the academy will add two other courses - Precision Agriculture and Nutrient Management.
Because course content is available online any time of the day, the courses are designed for the convenience of busy professionals who want to improve their knowledge but do not have the time to attend classes at specific times.
Course graduates receive certificates of completion as well as continuing education units for certified crop advisers.
Riley Kenney, an agronomy sales specialist with Ceres Solutions in Brook, Indiana, got so much out of the 12-week Agronomy Essentials that he helped to recruit a colleague to take the course, which will be offered for the third time beginning Sept. 30. The flagship course, which received the 2015 Award for Excellence in Distance Learning from Purdue, helps professionals from all areas of agriculture in their job effectiveness.
"Agronomy Essentials helped me in my career by giving me a good general knowledge of agronomy as a base that I want to build upon," Kenney said. "It gave me more confidence to move ahead in my career and education and boosted my learning exponentially. The course is readily accessible, easy to navigate and conveniently organized."
The course contains 100 high-definition video lessons by professional educators, including lead instructor Bruce Erickson, Purdue's agronomy education distance and outreach director. Video lessons are supplemented with reading, graphics, glossaries, downloadable slides and tests to measure participants' understanding and retention.
More information, registration and a preview video of Agronomy Essentials is available at http://tinyurl.com/purdueagry. The preview contains snippets of video lessons from several of the 26 course learning modules.
The course will be offered again in January 2016.
Precision Agriculture will be released Jan. 13, 2016, and will be offered three times during the year, running simultaneously with Agronomy Essentials. Precision Agriculture will appeal to producers and other agricultural professionals who want to gain a better understanding of the latest technology and best practices in this rapidly growing area of agriculture.
The third course will be Nutrient Management, to be released in November 2016. This advanced course will delve into the critical study of soil fertility and plant nutrition for a variety of crops.
Housed on Purdue's Blackboard Learn site, the courses are accessible from computers and mobile devices with Internet access.
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