U of M Beekeeping Course

February 12, 2014 | By | Reply More

The University of Montana On-Line Bee Courses
The next offering of our  On-Line Apprentice Beekeeping Class, offered for
Certificate or University Credit, will start April 7, 2014.

We are about 60% of the way through setting up the On-Line version of our
Journeyman level course and hope to have it finished by Spring Break, so we
can offer it this spring or early summer.  That course will require students
to buy, rent, or borrow the use of a microscope and to read scientific
papers.  We will be working on the Masters level On-Line class this spring,
with the first face to face offering in Missoula in the summer, and the
first On-Line offering probably next fall.    The Masters level will focus
on Business Concepts like marketing, developing business plans, and basic
accounting.

UM’s on-line courses are being built by a team of talented student artists
and videographers at The University of Montana-Missoula, who work with three
experienced instructors, Scott Debnam (12 years of bee experience, currently
working toward a Ph.D.), Phil Welch (20 years), and myself (40 years) to
match illustrations to content.

You  can find more information about the Apprentice Course at
https://www.umt.edu/ce/extended/noncredit/beekeeping/online.php.  The first
Apprentice Course had students from six countries – US, Uruguay, New
Zealand, U.K, Australia, and Ireland.  The discussion forums representing
multiple countries were as educational to the instructors as to the
students.  As such, we hope to see more international students taking part
in our next offering.

The University of Montana’s School of Extended and Life Long Learning (SELL)
is committed to providing a quality educational experience.  They are
underwriting the salaries of teams of students who are working on developing
the multi-media portions (videos, animations) for these classes.  One of
UM’s objectives is to provide science-based  content.  Another is to save
other groups from having to expend the time, energy, and cost of building
courses like these from the ground up.  And, we hope everyone has some fun
along the way.

UM is interested in partnering with bee associations, other colleges and
universities, both in the USA and other countries, to deliver quality
educational programs with respect to bees (informed discussions being a
large part of the on-line class Forum Discussions).  Many of the core
concepts and principles transcend geographic boundaries.  However, some
aspects have to be fine tuned, such as seasonal dynamics of honey
production, local equipment and practices.  Those topics we see others
developing and plugging into our core framework.  And, for each of the
levels, there still needs to be local expertise and guidance.  For the
Apprentice Level, that means after a student has gone through all of the
animations, videos, writings, and assignments, they need to actually get
their hands into a beehive and they need to pass a Practicum in a Beeyard
that certifies that they have learned the fundamentals; that they are
confident in their ability to meet the requirements of keeping healthy and
sustainable bees by working with bees, rather than battling bees.  Thus, we
need local Proctors that we can train and certify.

To further this process, if you wish to discuss partnering with UM on course
development, plug-ins, or delivery, please contact Candice Merrill
(candi.Merrill@mso.umt.edu).  If you represent a bee association, college,
or university and think your organization might wish to consider partnering
or endorsing our courses, I can provide a limited time access to the
Apprentice Level course for purposes of review.  I will need to know the
name of the group, your status with respect to the group, your name, and
your e-mail.  We ask that you respect our  intellectual property and agree
not to copy or reproduce, without permission, any part of our courses.
Contact me at jerry.bromenshenk@mso.umt.edu, with ON-LINE Bee Course in the
Subject Line.  Please let me know something about your background,
interests, and experience; don’t just say:  My name is john doe, my e-mail
is john doe@gmail.com, let me in.

This will be a Moderated access, I don’t want to just throw the doors open
to every hacker who happens to find this posting.  Tell me who you are, who
your association or group is, and why you’d like access to review the
course.  I may come back to you with further questions.  But, we want to
provide access to those who are truly interested in working with us.

Finally, we charge fees for this course at the going rate of University
level courses.  We have text books, assignments, weekly quizzes, a mid-term,
a final on-line test, and for the Apprentice level, a field-based practicum.
This is not a course series for those who just want to follow along or toss
bees in a box – the bee havers.

Finally, UM is a Liberal Arts University, not an Agricultural School.  We do
not have an Agricultural Extension Service here – that’s over at Montana
State in Bozeman.  As such, we do not have government funding to develop
this program.  The Dean of SELL is funding the students because this is a
program that fits the School’s objectives, but it will have to become
self-sustaining.  In other words, we have to charge University class rates
in order to recover the up-front investment.  Obviously, we wouldn’t mind
sponsors; but lacking them at the moment; we do the best we can with what we
have.  So far, whereas some of our students had sticker shock, expecting a
free or minimal charge course, in the final class assessments, the overall
conclusion was ‘worth every dollar’.  Our students appreciated the
experience of the instructors and the quality of the visuals.  Moreover,
they enjoyed discussing, just as happens on Bee-L, the weekly topics with
the other students and with the instructors and even some guest participants
such as other bee specialists from academia and from the beekeeping industry
itself.

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Category: Education

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