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Increasing the employability of agriculture graduates through the development of Real Industry Technology Learning Systems: Examining a case study in an online farm mapping system (PA Source)
conference contributionposted on 04.06.2018, 00:00 by Amy Cosby, Mark Trotter, B Jones, T Botwright Acuna, Wendy Fasso, S Gregory
There is a recognised skills shortage in the Australian agriculture industry, which is exacerbated by universities failing to keep pace in educating students in the latest agri-tech systems. A collaborative project between seven universities in Australia and the United States of America (U.S.A.), the SmartFarm Learning Hub (here forth known as “the Hub”), will develop real industry technology learning systems (RITLS) using real- farm data and commercially available systems that can be used in tertiary teaching to increase graduate capabilities and readiness for employment within the agricultural industry. Reported in this paper is the evaluation of one case study: the online farm mapping package PA Source and a survey of 71 students studying a first year unit at the University of New England (UNE), Australia, on their perceptions of he value of this RITLS in 2016. PA Source is a cloud-based software that allows a farm map to be created and precision agriculture data collected on -farm or from satellites to be stored. Seventy-seven point percent (77.5%) of students who completed the practical and survey ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that they would use the knowledge developed from the PA Source learning module in their future employment. A statistically significant relationship (P<0.05) was found between the type of degree a student is studying and the probability they will apply what have they learnt in the practical in their future employment. As part of the action research cycle, the PA Source learning module will be enhanced based on student survey responses and delivered to a different cohort of students in 2017.