Tuesday, August 18, 2020

What Is Agritourism?

Pam Northrup offers years of experience in higher education as a consultant based in Pace, Florida, where she focuses on online learning, higher education innovation, and micro-credentialing. When she has the opportunity, Pam Northrup enjoys traveling and agritourism.

Agritourism is the intersection of tourism and agriculture, where agricultural organizations attract tourists to their farms, ranches, and other agricultural businesses as a way to generate extra income. Agritourism opportunities can focus on outdoor recreation and educational experiences as well as entertainment and hospitality services. Common agritourism destinations include petting zoos, corn mazes, wineries, pumpkin picking patches, and rural bed and breakfasts.

There are many benefits to agritourism. First, it is a unique opportunity for visitors to gain insights into agricultural industries. Second, some destinations rely on that additional income to keep their businesses afloat and help them better market to consumers. Agritourism also brings more visitors to rural areas that might otherwise be overlooked, and this support in turn helps to preserve agricultural lands.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Getting Ready for HyFlex Teaching during COVID-19

Universities all over the world are trying to make the best decision for returning to campus for Fall semester. Some institutions have chosen to remain fully online, while most institutions have decided to return to campus.

With social distancing in place, one of the only strategies for on campus instruction is using a HyFlex teaching model. The Hyflex model allows a combination of face-to-face and online instruction, taking the hybrid experience to a new level of flexibility.

This requires institutions to set up classrooms that can stream the in-campus experience to remote students. Only a certain number of students will be allowed in the classroom at a time, requiring a portion of students to attend on different days. For example, student group A may attend class on Tuesday and participate virtually on Thursday; while student group B is virtual on Tuesday and in class on Thursday.

 Many institutions have identified specific classrooms as "Hyflex classrooms". At Seton Hall, the Hyflex classroom includes at least one camera focused on the front of the classroom to allow “remote” students to see the instructor and an appropriate number of microphones and speakers for the size of the room to ensure the two-way engagement of all participants. At a minimum, one display device is present in each room to ensure that students physically present in the room can see their counterparts who are joining remotely as well as any content that the instructor chooses to display for the class. Use of this technology is designed so that an instructor can operate the classroom with minimal training and/or assistance.

At Arizona State University,  ASU Sync provides students with technology-enhanced, fully interactive remote learning using live lectures via Zoom. This approach can be combined with in-person instruction to accommodate students in various circumstances and enable social distancing measures in classrooms, or as stand-alone technology. It offers the benefits of face-to-face instruction in an interactive group learning environment.

Nicholls State University provides Hyflex learning environments in classrooms throughout campus. Using webcams, a microphone and a web conferencing tool in most classrooms on campus, faculty are able to live stream and record lectures and discussions. In addition, Hyflex pop-up laboratories are in place to support students transitioning from one physical class to a Hyflex-remote class. It also provides access to students that do not have minimum technology to actively participate.

Fall will be a complicated semester. Using Hyflex teaching should allow faculty and students the needed flexibility to support unforeseen circumstances as students return to campus. If it becomes necessary to go remote again, this flexible approach can easily be flipped to a fully online environment.