Oregon State Uni Open Second Free Intro to Permaculture Course

Andrew Millison - course tutor
Friday, 9th September 2016

Free online Intro to Permaculture course from Oregon State University - October 31st- November 27th, 2016.

Oregon State University is once again offering a 4-week online Intro to Permaculture course that is completely FREE! The course ran in May of 2016 with nearly 16,000 registrations.

The course will be open from October 31 - November 27 2016.

One of Permaculture magazine's readers took part in the course and loved it. "it has been a fantastic opportunity for me. I am full-time mum to two small children and have neither the time or the money to commit to a full Permaculture Design Course. However this free online course has allowed me to study at home at times that suit me." Helen Kindness.

How can this be free?

There is a trend among major universities to provide free online content and it's called a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). In this day and age, it's part of the way that universities do outreach to the public. OSU views it as beneficial to support Permaculture by funding this MOOC. The university gets positive advertising of their brand and benefits the planet at the same time. 

As far as my personal reasons, I want to see the permaculture paradigm spread throughout the Earth and for many more people to get educated, connect with each other, and shift their lives towards practicing permaculture. If the university is willing to support massive free permaculture education, then I say go for it! We need permaculture now more then ever, to adapt to a changing climate and bring ecological sanity to our civilizations.

Lessons Learned

Of the people who actually logged in to the course, about 10% completed all the course assignments and received their digital badges. That completion rate is about average for a MOOC, but we'd like to do better this next time around.

With such a high number of participants, we learned a great deal about creating a system that could handle the huge diversity of internet speeds, operating systems, and computer literacy. The people who completed the course tended to have more computer literacy and better computer equipment. We are working hard this time to make the custom design apps we created more user friendly so a greater diversity of people can complete the course and earn their badges.

We have also added features that make it more possible for students to contact each other if they choose. This was something that students wanted the ability to do, and so we just had to develop a system that balanced privacy with communication.

What will you gain?

The 12-16 hour free course covers the basics of the Permaculture design system, providing a solid foundation from which to build on future studies and practice. The multimedia design apps we created provide an easy tool for putting the theory into practice on a map of your own property or the design site of your choice. We put many hundreds of hours into making this the very best educational experience that we could.

People can participate fully and do all the assignments, or sign up and just browse the content. There are very extensive links to other reputable Permaculture sites throughout the world, and many people expressed that it was worth their time to sign up just for the links!

Please join us October 31-November 27 for a massive open online Permaculture experience. looking forward to seeing you there!

Register here: http://open.oregonstate.edu/courses/permaculture/

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