College eyes online ag courses



February 11, 2015 - 12:00 AM

Agriculture students and instructors at Allen Community College are setting their sites on online learning.
Jon Marshall, vice president for academic affairs, told ACC trustees Tuesday the ag program will catch the wave of online education, which has seen double-digit increases in enrollment.
Jeff Nemecek, manager of the school’s farm, and ag instructors have met with Iola Dean Tosca Harris and Marshall to work on curriculum revisions and program objectives, including designing an agriculture orientation course for online students.
Marshall said six unified school districts have expressed interest in such an introductory course.
Kansas State University has expressed interest in working with ACC to develop an online agriculture curriculum, Marshall said. K-State offers three agriculture degrees that are obtained online. These classes are primarily targeted toward junior- and senior-level students. K-State would like to reach freshman and sophomore students. If Allen is able to develop an ag online program, K-State would be willing to send students to Allen if they send them back to K-State for their later years.
“Right now our online classes are targeted primarily to secondary students but we wouldn’t move away from that in this collaboration,” Marshall said.
If the school were to expand its agricultural online options it would need to expand personnel as well. Marshall said ACC is ahead of other community colleges when it comes to online learning.
“We have a quality online course offerings that other schools do not have,” Marshall said.
The livestock judging team won overall at the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock competition. In the first week of February the team traveled to the national competition in Fort Worth, Texas, and earned fourth highest team overall. Nemecek is the team’s coach.
It was brought to trustee Jenny Spillman’s attention that the Allen website no longer listed the Zahn scholarship or college farm information. President John Masterson said the information was taken down at this time until the trustees make a final decision on the farm. Freshmen who currently have the Zahn scholarship will be able to receive the scholarship again next year.
Masterson said they didn’t want to “misrepresent” the program on the website.

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