A Nordic Net-based Course in Agroecology - Integrating Student Learning and Teacher Collaboration

Geir Lieblein [geir.lieblein@umb.no]
Mike Moulton [mike.moulton@umb.no]
Nadarajah Sriskandarajah [sri@kvl.dk]
Dorthe Christensen [doch@kvl.dk]
Wendy Waalen [wendy.waalen@umb.no]
Tor Arvid Breland [tor.arvid.breland@umb.no]
Charles Francis [cfrancis2@unl.edu]
Lennart Salomonsson [lennart.salomonsson@lag.slu.se]
Vibeke Langer [vl@kvl.dk]

English Abstract

This article reports the experiences from designing and running a Nordic net-based course, Ecology of Farming and Food Systems, during the spring of 2004. Our aim was two-fold: to design a course which uses an explicit experiential learning approach, and to design a clear structure for faculty collaboration across national boundaries. Kolb’s learning cycle was chosen as the basis for the course design as well as organizing teacher collaboration. Ten teachers from five different institutions/countries collaborated in developing and teaching the course. Six students representing a very wide cultural and geographical span, from China to the United States, participated in the pilot course. Quantitative and qualitative feedback in mid-term and final course evaluations indicates that students were generally very satisfied with the course. In particular, the use of a case study as starting point for learning agroecology was highly valued. Teacher collaboration organized around phases of Kolb’s learning cycle received a favourable evaluation from both students and teachers. However, improvements need to be made in terms of continuity when responsibility is transferred from module to module. We feel that our experience using Kolb’s learning cycle to structure course process and teacher collaboration may be useful to others, when student centred learning is the focus and cooperation among instructors across institutions and national borders is a challenge.

Norwegian Abstract

Denne artikkeln omhandler erfaringer med design og gjennomføring av et nordisk nettbasert kurs, Ecology of Farming and Food Systems, våren 2004. Våre to mål var: Å lage et kurs som eksplisitt bygger på erfaringsbasert læring, og å utforme en tydelig struktur for samarbeid mellom lærere på tvers av faglige, institusjonelle og nasjonale grenser. Kolbs læringssyklus ble valgt som et grunnlag for såvel kursstruktur som lærersamarbeid. Ti lærere fra fem forskjellige institusjoner og land samarbeidet om utvikling og gjennomføring av kurset. Seks studenter, som representerte en stor bredde mht. kultur og geografi, fra Kina til USA, deltok i pilotkurset. Kvantitative og kvalitative tilbakemeldinger i evalueringer midtveis og ved avslutning av kurset viser at studentene generelt sett var svært tilfreds med kurset. Bruk av en case-studie som utgangspunkt for å lære agroøkologi ble høyt verdsatt. Både studenter og lærere var svært fornøyd med organisering av lærersamarbeidet var organisert i samsvar med fasene i Kolbs læringssyklus. Likevel, forbedringer må gjøres mht. kontinuitet når undervisningsansvaret roterer mellom lærere ved overgang fra en modul til den neste. Vi tror at våre erfaringer med å bruke Kolbs læringssyklus til å strukturere både kursopplegg og lærersamarbeid kan være nyttige for andre, når studentsentrert læring star i fokus og når samarbeid mellom lærere på tvers av institusjoner og landegrenser er en utfordring.

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

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