Innovative technology in organics course cements online learning as way forward

Published 26 June 2020
Organic food and nutrition

Go on organic farm field trips and talk to farmers about their crops, all from your home office, with the new Graduate Certificate in Organic Food and Nutrition.

In an important step toward meeting the needs of students in an increasingly online world, the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine has employed advanced technology and expertise in online learning to deliver the Graduate Certificate in Organic Food and Nutrition, starting July 6.

Students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate at Southern Cross University will immerse themselves in course content through a learning platform that integrates the best of face-to-face interaction and online delivery.

Using a 360-degree camera, Southern Cross technical officers in the University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning have developed virtual field trips where students can interact with real farms and real farmers in the comfort and safety of their own home.

Associate Professor Matthew Leach, Deputy Director of Education at the University’s National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, is enthusiastic about the future for this type of technology in advancing higher education delivery online.

Designing courses specifically for online delivery, in a way that is highly interactive, means the challenges often seen in online learning become opportunities.

“This technology arguably offers many advantages over face-to-face delivery. For instance, students are able to immerse themselves in real-life situations without having to overcome barriers to distance and personal circumstance,” said Associate Professor Leach.

“They can engage with these situations as frequently as they desire, which would be almost impossible if undertaken in a traditional on-campus format.”

This mode of delivery will also set a benchmark for future courses delivered online at the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine. A flagship suite of postgraduate courses, starting January 2021, will also use the technology.

In addition to leading-edge learning platforms, the content of the Graduate Certificate is also breaking ground. Throughout the program, students build an understanding of organic food systems and the relationship of organics to nutrition and human health. The curriculum is designed to accelerate skills in critically evaluating scientific evidence, debating ethical and legal standards in organic food production, and discussing the roles that soils, plants and animals play in human health.

Working literally from the ground up, students also develop innovative knowledge to help meet growing consumer demand for quality support to achieve their wellness aspirations.

The interactive delivery promotes collaboration and a sense of community, as well as a flexible study environment to suit those with busy schedules. Offered under the six-study period model, eligible students may enrol at any period throughout the year. For students wishing to continue their studies in this area, the course also provides a pathway for further study at a Masters or Doctoral level. Applications are now open, with the first intake of students commencing on July 6.

To learn more and apply, visit the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine website at scu.edu.au/ncnm

Media contact: Caitlin Zillman, NCNM Marketing and Communications Manager 0424 632 177 or caitlin.zillman@scu.edu.au