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Extension Cyber

Extension Cyber

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Published by: satishextn on Aug 29, 2009
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Food and Nutrition SecurityCommunityICT for Development Community
SSoolluuttiioonnEExxcchhaannggeeoorrtthheeFFooooddaannddNNuuttrriittiioonn SSeeccuurriittyyCCoommmmuunniittyy SSoolluuttiioonnEExxcchhaannggeeoorrtthheeIICCTToorrDDeevveellooppmmeenntt CCoommmmuunniittyy CCoonnssoolliiddaatteeddeeppllyy 
Query: Curricula for Agricultural Information Technology  Advice 
Compiled byGopi N. GhoshandSajan Venniyoor, Resource Persons and T. N.  AnuradhaandGitanjali Sah, Research Associates Issue Date: 15 October 2007
From Surya Gunjal, Yashwantrao Chavan Maharastra Open University(YCMOU), Nashik 
Posted 20 September 2007
Dear all,
The Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU), Nashik, is engaged in openand distance education in agriculture, including a post graduate and research program (PGR) inagricultural communication, agricultural extension and agricultural development awardingmasters and doctoral programmes, since the last five years.
The emerging boom of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) makes it essential for usto educate the future generations on the use of ICTs in various sectors, and agriculture of coursehas seen a number of initiatives using ICTs that are helping the farmers to improve theirproduction and marketing.
Presently, we have one
PGR course
) on Agricultural Information Technology (AIT) that covershardware and software components of computer applications, various IT/ICT tools and theirapplicability in agricultural production, research, extension and rural development. We areseeking to upscale this course and would like to have inputs from the Solution ExchangeCommunity members on:
What should be the core content of the course, sectors in agriculture that could benefit fromthe use of ICT, considering that the learner is a graduate in agricultural sciences?
To what extent the basic principles of information technology / ICT and handling of usersoftware need to be covered?
Do members know of any existing syllabus related to AIT or computer application inagriculture approved by any university in India?
Looking forward to an enriching discussion
Surya Gunjal
 Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open UniversityNashik 
Responses were received, with thanks, from
Manoj Kumar Meher, i-Concept Initiatives, Bhubaneswar
K V Peter, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur2.
M Moni, National Informatics Centre, New Delhi3.
T P Trivedi, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), New delhi4.
Balasaheb K Dhame, National Research Centre for Grapes, Pune5.
Sachin Tendulkar, Mineral Foundation of Goa, Panaji6.
 Appavoo Dhandapani, National Centre for Integrated Pest Management, NewDelhi7.
Kiran Sigdel, Forum for Public Information Technology(FOPIT), Kathmandu, Nepal8.
Mrinal Kanti Dasgupta, Independent Consultant, Santiniketan9.
 V P Sharma, National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE),Hyderabad10.
 Anup Kumar Das, Independent Consultant, New Delhi11.
 Awanish Somkuwar, Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project, Bhopal12.
Bidisha Pillai, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), New Delhi
D C Misra, Independent Consultant, New Delhi
G K Agrawal, Independent Consultant, Mumbai
K Rajasekharan, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), Thrissur16.
ClassApart.ORG, New Delhi
 Apoorva Mishra, Knowledge Networking for Rural Development in Asia/Pacific,International Development Research Centre (ENRAP, IDRC), New Delhi *
*Offline Contribution 
Further contributions are welcome! 
Summary of Responses
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are being widely used in the agriculturesector enabling access to information, resources, and market for improved agriculturalproductivity. With the growing influence of ICT it becomes essential for the future agriculturalgraduates/post graduates to be acquainted with these technologies. Responding to the queryseeking advice on improving the curriculum of Agricultural Information Technology (AIT),members suggested improvements to the existing curriculum, highlighted various ICT basedinitiatives and recommended course models of various institutions.Discussants welcomed the effort in promoting AIT among the agricultural graduates that hasdirect bearing upon student's employability. The synergy between computer science andtechnology on the one hand and agricultural science and technology on the other is essential for" Agricultural Informatics" to emerge as a discipline.Members outlined a few considerations while designing a course curriculum. These included -curriculum development to be a systematic exercise with periodic revision/upgradation, modularand logically sequenced content focusing on making students information-literate as well as ICT-literate. The overall objective has to be helping students acquire practical knowledge and skillthat would improve their employability in step with the emerging market demand.On the existing course content, members felt that overall the course was well structured and putforward
for its comprehensive update. A significant suggestion was that the coursecould be organized in two parts as ‘ICT for Agriculture: Basic Course’ and ‘ICT in Agriculture: Applied Course’ with the following sub-sections:
ICT for Agriculture: Basic Course
Computer Systems and Development –
This section need not to go in detail into historyof ICT but focus on it’s fast-paced development
Computer Hardware
– Include multiple operating systems on same hardware like Linuxand Windows, with very strong lab inputs and practical exercises
Computer Software –
Open source and proprietary software,
introduction to
IT-basedsoftware for accessing information or development of software for various user groups oncontract farming, retail networking
Computer Applications for Office Use
 – Inclusion of basic computer knowledge coveringemerging trends in word-processing, table-handling and database management, HTML etc asmost agri-graduates may not be computer-literate
Telecommunication and Computer Networking -
Tele-conferencing, VideoConferencing
Remote Sensing, GIS and MIS
– Use in land use management, soil resourcemanagement, crop surveys, water resources management; Global Positioning System andCommunity Agricultural Information System included with examples of Yahoo/Google Maps,Google Earth etc.
ICT in Agriculture: Applied Course
Internet Technology and World Wide Web –
On the Internet as a ‘depository andprovider of information’, to include data mining/searching from different agro related websites; its applications like online agricultural marketing
Communication and Electronic Web –
Importance and role of communication and itsoutreach through traditional modes like direct dialogue, cartoons, audio, video, print, picturesand emerging technologies for One-to-One Communication (email, chats), One-Manycommunication (blogging, podcasting, creating webpages), Many-Many communication(instant messaging, multi user chat rooms, discussion boards, editing wikis).

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