Austin Community College District (ACC) faculty are getting creative to keep students hands-on while learning from home.
"I am distributing lab kits for each of my students in the horticulture course. We collected a series of different soil samples from the farm at Elgin Campus. I packaged them up with different seeds so students can take them home, and still get hands-on experience. We will be doing different experiments throughout the semester. This is how I can still make virtual learning engaging and fun," says Savannah Rugg, ACC Sustainable Agriculture department chair.
Rugg prepared and distributed horticulture kits for students to use while learning at home. Students came to the Elgin Campus, in fifteen-minute intervals, on Tuesday, September 22, to pick up their individualized kit.
"I feel fortunate to teach the discipline that I teach because I think it attracts passionate people who are interested in growing food."
ACC launched two new degree plans, the Associate of Applied Science in Sustainable Agriculture and Associate of Science in Sustainable Agriculture, in January 2020 to prepare students for jobs in Austin's growing agriculture economy. Just three months later, the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) forced all classes online.
"I know my students want to be on the farm just as badly as I do. But honestly, I think there is more interest in the classes due to COVID because everyone is concerned with their food security. They also want to be self-sufficient in what they can produce on their own."
The program allows students to learn about sustainable agriculture, soil and water conservation, soil science, product marketing, horticulture, animal science, and small farming. ACC has a 17-acre sustainable farm located at ACC Elgin Campus.
For more information, and to register for courses, visit austincc.edu/agriculturesciences.