Watch this video to find out how Agricolleges International increased student engagement by using Brightspace’s discussion forums and rolling these into the course grading criteria.
“The nice thing about Brightspace is that we have been able to write our remote practical courses in a way that is easy for our students to understand what they need to submit and when. This has been life-changing for agricultural education in South Africa.” – Wynand Espach, Chief Operating Officer, AgriColleges.
Professor Donnie Brent from Stellenbosch University introduced me to the concept of cloud-based e-learning, and it seemed the logical way forward to allow accessibility of our largely underprivileged communities at a quarter to the fifth of the cost of the traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.
It was a big concern of ours that we are based in rural Africa, there aren’t any other big platforms available for our use, there are some in South Africa but the biggest issue is that you’ve got to add 20-25 apps and integrate them into the platform to get workability of the whole system, whereas D2L could offer us the entire package, but we then decided let’s go with the D2L platform.
One specific item that I would like to point out was the integration between Brightspace and the student information system, which was under development, as well as the interaction of Brightspace to G-suit so that we would have a great user experience where we have one point of entry for our students.
You can easily take your mobile device and in an offline mode you can go and do various practical tasks you just save it on your mobile app an only when you get to a Wi-Fi hotspot you can sync your mobile app with your platform and edit your video clip, you submit it to your facilitator or your course consultant for marking, and that’s done online you don’t need to be physically on a farm and that’s what made the technology so attractive.
I like online learning because nowadays you live in the world of technology so you get to learn more about using the technology that we’re living in so since I do not have to be stuck in a classroom with a book I can actually learn from anywhere, anytime.
Well, you have the content which you read online, and then it works with units and modules. So then you have module one unit one then as soon as you finish unit one you have a few quizzes afterwards, then after the quiz, your next unit opens and then you finish your units and new module opens and so forth.
It’s so rewarding to work with this technology and two months later you speak to a student that you supported on day one and all of a sudden you realise that you’ve transferred that knowledge to that student, given hope you’ve given them a future and in time we’re hoping that a lot of these young students that are coming out of our college will become farm managers and assistant managers for ourselves and for so many of the farmers around us and I think that’s the biggest positive for us that we can take out of all of this.
We are accredited AgriSETA which is a government institution so we give a SETA accredited course, they get a certificate, as well as an Agricolleges International certificate, and that will grow its own prominence in time as people are employing the graduates out of Agricolleges International. We care about the future of this country, so we’re probably best suited with the experience we have in education to tackle the Agricolleges International conceptual thinking and put it into practice.
Customer Success, Online Learning, Student Engagement