Department of Agriculture
Non Technical Summary
Non-technical Summary - The goal is multi-institution distance education collaboration to provide a higher level of education and access to a wider variety of subject matter experts. Corollary attributes include faculty professional development, soliciting agribusiness as partners in course redesign, isolating core competencies, and program assessment. Each partner institution has at least one area of expertise because of faculty competence and their service areas uniqueness. The primary audience includes the faculty and agribusiness that participate in the process. The products include: (i) on-line teaching collaboration to promote faculty expertise, (ii) a wider array of courses having germane content, (iii) development of faculty best teaching practices, and (iv) agribusiness input to guarantee course relevancy. Outcomes and impacts include (i) increasing organizational effectiveness via an increased proficiency at distance learning instruction, (ii) shared faculty expertise and course offerings, (iii) course assessment. Other benefits include corporate spons0orship and program evaluation. Short term outcomes of this planning stage include: (i) a complete assessment of each institutions: infrastructure to provide distance learning and their level of funding; (ii) strengths and weaknesses of existing faculty regarding distance learning instruction; (iii) identify curriculum offerings, shared course content and syllabi; (iv) identify experiential learning opportunities and issues of lab instruction per course. Additional outcomes are to provide the best practices of Southeast Missouri State University partnering experiences and identify a distance learning consultant.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
Specific objectives that are focused in this program include: 1) to establish faculty focus teams to develop unifying concepts and core competencies that all courses, which are subsequently shared using an on-line format, will advance; 2) where appropriate, utilize the expertise of the institutions to integrate scientific research experiences into on-line courses; 3) where appropriate, develop streaming video of ongoing research activities at the institutions' research farms and also individual faculty/undergraduate research projects that provide new visions of emerging careers in agriculture/agribusiness; 4) develop quality on-line laboratory experiences originating from an institution that has experienced faculty and established facilities to an institution that has no faculty expertise and infrastructure; 5) develop agribusiness contacts to assist in course redesign to guarantee content relevancy and promote careers in the agriculture sector; 6) establish and promote instructional methods using the on-line, ITV, webinar formats to guarantee student satisfaction, comprehension, and optimize the course objectives; 7) a consultant will assist the institutions in setting goals for on-line course sharing, establishing and empowering faculty teams to develop best teaching practices suitable to the discipline of agriculture, isolating key core competencies, and promoting institutional cohesion; 8) the Chairpersons will explore student learning assessment of the on-line provisions, how to evaluate on-line teaching, develop faculty reward structures for exemplary teaching, and monitor the entire process; and 9) the higher administration of each institution will be asked to consider "collective or individual efforts" using their individual "University Foundations" to solicit agribusiness support for course redesign. The product includes actual items or services acquired with funds. The consultant will assist in identifying appropriate faculty professional development avenues. Faculty will have time and funding to travel to the institutions to organize and manage the flow of information, ideas, concepts. The results will be revealed via the accomplishments related to the products: 1) faculty professional development; 2) "University Foundation" engagement for agriculture; 3) agribusiness as an educational partner; 4) core competencies to guide course redesign and assessment; 5) quality distance learning; and 6) improved course resign, course availability and better instructor quality and best teaching practices.
Plan of Operation for the first year (1 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2013): 1) establish a committee of chairpersons and faculty to orchestrate events (accomplished); 2) develop a database of each institutions courses, laboratories components, time offered (rotation schedules), prerequisites, instructor(s) of record, intent to offer online, ITV, webinar, etc. (on-going); 3) define criteria for isolating which content areas each institution has competitive advantage and arrange for institutional memorandums of understanding for course collaboration (some courses may be redesigned by the lead institution after gaining a course needs assessment from the other institutions, some courses may be redesigned by faculty from many institutions, and some courses may be "new to the curriculum" for all institutions); 4) hire consultant after having faculty discussions concerning the faculty status and experience concerning distance education and writing the "charge" for the consultant. In broad terms, the consultant will be our "resource" for establishing the program for faculty professional development in both teaching methods and what "features of on-line learning are more appropriate for disciplines in agriculture" (these features include "chat rooms, testing and student evaluation, blended materials, etc. - the Center for Teaching and Learning at Southeast Missouri State University will assist the institutions in identifying a nationally recognized resource team builder); 5) to solicit support from the institutions' "University Foundations" to act as the main university agency for obtaining corporate sponsorship and assistance in course redesign and defining core competencies; 6) conduct course re-design; 7) determine cap-stone course for each institution and establish a collective "assessment plan"; 8) identify infrastructure needs to more effectively deliver distance learning, including ITV capabilities, computer compatibility issues, laboratory needs for face-to-face teaching at the receiving institutions, scheduling issues for student visits to sending institutions for specialized laboratory experiences, etc.; and 9) provide all reports/documents to USDA-NIFA. The Plan of Operation for the second year (1 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014): 1) complete all of the first year tasks; 2) initiate a comprehensive faculty professional development program; 3) begin the process of assessment and course evaluation; 4) begin offering distance courses; 5) determine if consensus exists for student exchange (one semester), faculty cooperation on research or extension activities, etc.; and 6) provide all reports/documents to USDA-NIFA.