Our long–term goal is to enable the animal industry to achieve sustainable operations by integrating research and educational efforts in developing and disseminating new knowledge and technologies on eCEAP. The objectives of this project are to:
- develop new eLearning modules in the NIFA challenge areas related to controlled environment animal production;
- establish an online platform for educational material exchange and innovative delivery of eCEAP content;
- write a digital textbook on “eCEAP for Sustainability”,
- develop and conduct faculty training on the new eLearning modules and delivery methods, and
- develop and offer experiential-learning workshops and internships for underrepresented minority students to stimulate their study and career interests in NIFA challenge areas.
The expected outcomes and impacts of the project are:
(1) New curriculum and eLearning modules address emerging NIFA priorities: mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, sustainable energy, and food safety and security related to animal production. Through this multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary collaboration, we will capitalize our expertise, research, and connections with the animal industry to develop the much needed teaching modules in the NIFA challenge areas and emerging industry challenge areas. The eLearning materials are expected to improve faculty teaching competencies on the new emerging topics, enable student learning in the NIFA challenge areas, and enhance student recruitment, retention, and placement in the five core team universities and ten peer universities.
(2) Advanced course delivery methods using online course platform and a digital textbook will meet the learning needs of a new generation of students and enable wide distribution of the educational materials. The project will take advantage of advances in digital teaching technologies to address the current learning trends of young students. The teaching modules will be developed in a distance learning format, enhanced with pictures, videos, virtual tours, virtual experiential learning, and embedded evaluation tests. Students will be able to access the materials using the online platform and their mobile devices anytime, anyplace, and at their own pace. Thus, these outcomes will improve student leaning and faculty competencies in teaching using technologies, significantly widen distribution of the developed materials.
(3) Professional training for faculty and graduate associates will directly increase faculty and future faculty teaching competencies. The project will develop a series of faculty professional training webinars on course design, evaluation, teaching modules in NIFA challenge areas, use of the online platform, and development of digital textbook materials. The professional training workshops will directly contribute to improvement of faculty teaching competences in both new subject areas and new delivery technologies. The eLearning modules are expected to be easily adapted by faculty teaching animal production management and animal health courses in animal science departments and veterinary schools. This project will result in effective use of resources, saving of faculty time, and improved professional development of faculty in eCEAP.
(4) Experiential learning workshops and internships for underrepresented students in STEM areas will increase the diversity of students and future workforce in food and agricultural areas. The project will develop summer experiential learning workshops and internships for underrepresented minority and female students to participate at four of the participating institutions including NCA&T. Each institute will offer the workshops piggybacking on the institution’s existing outreach programs in recruiting and serving minority students. Experiential learning workshops for freshmen college students, high school students, and top senior students will be developed, implemented, and improved. These outreach efforts are to enhance recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in food, agricultural, and biological engineering or animal sciences, and attract more underrepresented students to pursue graduate studies in NIFA priority areas.