Penn State online dairy course expands

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Farmer milking cows
Farm and Dairy file photo.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — After a successful launch of the Dairy Production and Management MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), the program is now offered in four languages beyond English: Spanish, Bulgarian, Chinese and Portuguese.

MOOC

The comprehensive eight-week course is offered by Coursera, an open education platform that provides online courses, available to anyone with an internet connection.

Developed by a team of Penn State faculty led by Alex Hristov, Ph.D., Professor of Dairy Nutrition in Penn State’s Department of Animal Science, the course devotes each week to a specific area of the dairy industry.

Called “MOOOO-C” by its developers, it was first released in March, 2016 and now has a global audience of nearly 8,000 active users.

The course has been accessed in over 180 countries, and there are 1,100 learners who have completed the course.

An additional value of the course is the ability to log onto discussion forums and ask specific questions. Graduate students respond to all the questions after consulting with the instructors.

In designing the course, Hristov noted that he and his colleagues wanted to make it relevant to a broad range of interests, engaging both experienced dairy producers and newcomers while delivering both fundamental knowledge and best practices related to sustainable dairy production systems.

Course

The syllabus includes: dairy genetics (one week); forage, production and pasture management (one week); dairy nutrition (two weeks); dairy reproduction (one week); metabolic disorders and herd health (one week); milk quality and milk hygiene (one-half week); dairy farm management and economics (one week); and, dairy production and the environment (one-half week).

This MOOC is aimed at professionals directly or indirectly involved in dairy production, including farm managers, employees and consultants, livestock producers, educators and students who are interested in animal and dairy science.

Details

The course can be taken at no charge unless participants choose the certificate option, for which there is a small fee.

To enroll, visit coursera.org/course/dairy. There is also a link at animalscience.psu.edu.

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