To offer better low cost and high quality educational services to agricultural professionals in India, enrollment for the first of a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has begun. The free online course on, “Diseases of Horticultural Crops and their Management – PATH372.1X” offered through the National Virtual Academy of Indian Agriculture has been announced recently in Chennai by Dr MS Swaminathan, Father of India’s Green Revolution and Emeritus Chair of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).
“I am happy to announce the launch of this first ever MOOCs for agricultural professionals – a timely initiative to knowledge revolution is the need of the hour,” said Dr MS Swaminathan. According to Swaminathan, the launched course would significantly push the bar for quality online education according to the needs of India’s agricultural education system, where available resources in education sector are quite low in comparison to such a large audience. In India, about 70% of the population is being involved in agriculture directly or indirectly.
This first MOOCs of its type to serve the agriculture fraternity for imparting education through the National Virtual Academy of Indian Agriculture is an initiative of a team of ICT and agriculture experts and educators from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), with its global headquarters in Hyderabad, and partners together with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.
“Global educational institutions are increasingly adopting MOOCs and given India’s need for reaching out to largest possible number of learners, MOOCs are seen as the best way forward to ensure quality agricultural education,” said by David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT.
Bergvinson further added that he is too very much enthusiast about this new method of education imparting to agriculture students, young scientists, extension professionals and farmers to stimulate innovation and motivate them about agriculture as a science and an enterprise.
The syllabus and course material for the first MOOCs on “Diseases of Horticultural Crops and their Management – PATH372.1X” have been methodically planned and developed by a highly experienced team of educators and professors in the field of agriculture who have extensively taught and have devoted their time and effort to educate the Indian masses on sustainable agriculture practices. The course starts from 9 February to 6 April 2015.