Agreenium, a French consortium of the elite agronomic research and training institutions in France, unveiled their first online course during the 2015 International Agricultural Exhibition (SIA) in Paris last February 24th. The course is on Agro-ecology and it is already open for registration for the 2015-2016 academic year. This marks the first step in a larger, inter-ministerial plan to develop online academic resources. Stéphane Le Foll, the French Minister of Agricultural, was present at the SIA on the 24th of February for the official launch.
The consortium Agreenium was founded in 2009 through the collaboration of the French Ministries for Agriculture and Higher Education as a public establishment of scientific cooperation. It is one of the world’s largest agricultural and veterinary research and education organizations whose principal objective is to heighten the importance and improve the accessibility of French research and higher education in the field of Agronomy to its partners and beneficiaries. Agreenium is also in charge of organizing, coordinating and implementing various initiatives and projects within the context of these partnerships.
The creation of online courses was one of such projects. At a time when online learning programs and techniques are becoming ever more prevalent among elite universities around the world, Agreenium, decided to mobilize and unite the top agronomic and veterinary institutions to follow this technological trend. The current goal is to develop annually a distinct variety of online classes and training programs accessible from one common source. Agreenium plans on offering six to seven of these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) each year, four of which are slated to launch this fall: Viticulture, Epidemiology in Animal Health, Vegetable Proteins and Measurement Tools. Finally, in addition to the development of official coursework, Agreenium aims to create other types of training programs as well as a media library containing academic resources and other pedagogical tools.
Agreenium will soon become the French Institute for Agronomy, Veterinary and Forestry Studies, as called for in the “Law for the Future of Agriculture” (loi d’avenir pour l’agriculture) in October 2014.