Food and agriculture is a critical sector in achieving sustainable development, however, there are few online courses or massive open online courses (MOOCs) available on related topics. To help address this, COL facilitated the formation of a consortium of well-known institutions to offer MOOCs in agriculture.

The agMOOC Consortium

In 2015, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) took a leap forward in making MOOCs more accessible by bringing together some of the world’s top minds and institutions in information technology and one of the Commonwealth’s largest government agencies to form the agMOOC Consortium. The members of the multi-institutional consortium are the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK); the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIMC); the University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur (UASR); and COL. The consortium is supported by the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a major OER publisher under India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development.

The consortium is a direct outcome of COL and IITK’s efforts with three previous MOOCs, offered in 2013–2014, which attracted over 6,000 learners. The agMOOC Consortium was launched at a workshop held at IITK in February 2015 with an aim to offer 20 open MOOCs, delivered in both English and Hindi, that reach 100,000 learners in 30 months.

Front row: left to right: Runa Sarkar (IIMC), K Mangalasunder (NPTEL), TV Prabhakar (IITK), Indranil Manna (Director, IITK),
V Balaji (COL), N Yaduraju (advisor), A Prabhuraj (UASR).

Course Offering

agMOOCs focus on capacity building and training for students and professionals in areas that engage with agricultural education and new technologies. Courses include:

  1. Basics of ICT for Agriculture
  2. Basics of Entrepreneurship
  3. Agricultural Value Chain Management
  4. Integrated Pest Management
  5. Nutrition, Therapeutics and Health
  6. GIS in Ag-Essentials and Applications
  7. Weather Forecast in Agriculture and Agro-advisory

The first course on the basics of ICT in agriculture began in March 2015 and attracted a total of 2,000 learners. Since then, six more courses have been delivered attracting 20,100 registrants with a certification rate of 23%.