Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Take part in online journey through ‘Farm to Fork’ Massive Open Online Course
For the second consecutive year, Bailey Norwood, professor in the department of agricultural economics for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, will be conducting an online journey connecting agricultural science and the food people eat.
This online journey is a Massive Open Online Course titled “Farm to Fork: A Panoramic View of Agriculture.”
The 16-week course is conducted entirely online and is open to anyone. “Farm to Fork” focuses on topics from livestock-care techniques and the industrialization of agriculture to the effect of locally grown food on a community’s economy and the role of politics and culture in food.
Developing the course each year gives Norwood the opportunity to work with a team of videographers, video editors, software providers and animators. He said putting together these videos is a thrill.
“OSU has been creative about using technology in the classroom, but this course has given me the ability to use technology to take us out of the classroom onto dairy, beef and swine farms, and into DNA and soil test laboratories,” Norwood said. “Ironically, the Internet-based course takes participants outside more than a traditional class. The course is conducted through a robust Internet platform that facilitates discussion within virtual field trips, video lectures and reading.”
The course is separated into modules and includes video lectures and readings, virtual farm tours and online office hours. Students engage in the course by uploading photos related to assignments and participating in forums to discuss course topics.
During the first offering of the course last spring, more than 70 students were enrolled in the course for credit and more than 700 individuals participated for free. The participants came from more than 23 states and six countries, creating non-stop learning and conversations.
“Being able to show participants how a real farm operates, discuss the science behind modern agriculture and discuss controversial food issues was fun for me and educational for everyone,” Norwood said.
Morgan Vance, sophomore agricultural communications major from Pawnee, Oklahoma, took the course last year and enjoyed it so much she will serve as Norwood’s teaching assistant this spring.
Vance said she got to see what agriculture looked like around the globe because of discussion with class participants. Additionally, Vance said she grew up around agriculture and had knowledge before enrolling in the course, but after the 16-week course, she felt confident and prepared to explain the “farm to fork” process to the general public.
She said Norwood has done an incredible job of creating and implementing a course that attracts both people with deep agricultural roots and those with no prior experience in agriculture.
“Dr. Norwoord successfully manages to grow and expand the minds of both types of participants,” Vance said. “I constantly caught myself forgetting I was behind a computer screen.”
The course is available and open to the public. Participants are able to enroll for free or for a reasonable online tuition cost to earn OSU credit. The course will begin Jan. 11. Additional information and registration is available online at http://casnr.okstate.edu/farmtofork.
“A MOOC is a very effective way of engaging students with varied interests, locations and motivations to learn at their convenience,” said Tom Coon, vice president, dean and director of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “Dr. Norwood and his team have invested considerable time and energy into course materials and ensuring it is a valuable learning experience for all.”
Agricultural Communications Services
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Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
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