How does the programme work?
Researching Holistic Agroecology is a distance learning course with optional face-to-face intensives. It offers a flexible pathway of study allowing students to A) take individual modules either for credit (submitting assignments for assessment) or unassessed, B) study toward a postgraduate certificate. The option of progressing to a Master’s degree has been possible and although it is not currently possible to apply for the Master’s at this point (May 2019) this pathway is being reviewed and renegotiated.
The course is supported through online tutorials, individual supervision with one of the Crossfields faculty and optional intensives.
The course is designed to foster and support research in the theoretical, practical (applied) and social dimensions of agroecology: organics, permaculture, biodynamics, regenerative agriculture, urban agriculture etc.
The unique features of this course are as follows: rather than teaching or addressing specifics of theory, practical application or implementation (in permaculture or biodynamics, for instance) the course assumes some background in one or several of these approaches to agroecology and the course content provides a study and research journey to deepen and develop these in the learners’ own social and ecological context.
The Researching Holistic Agroecology course is delivered in the format of modules. Content for each module is made available to students on the Crossfields VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). A student undertaking the postgraduate certificate will complete the following modules:
- Holistic Science
- Research methods
- Research design
- Sustainable Practice 1
- Sustainable Practice 2
- Communicating Holistic Approaches
(NOTE: Modules are regularly being reviewed and updated and new modules may be in place when you begin your studies. Contact the course leader for more details).
Each module will be delivered in the form of study notes written by our faculty along with exercises, literature, and media files. This self-directed aspect of the course is supported through online tutorials with fellow students and faculty, though individual supervision with a course tutor and through intensives.
Each student’s area of research will be different. Students follow an individualised learning journey (within the framework of the modular structure) that is accompanied by an assigned member of the faculty. In addition to this, students are supported to develop their own field mentoring relationships with an outside circle of practitioners who have the relevant specialist expertise. This learning is also brought back into the group through student presentations and seminars.
The course is designed to help you broaden your understanding and practice in a given area of holistic agroecology (permaculture, for instance) while also deepening you own field of interest. This is facilitated through modules which invite you to study theory and practice which is not familiar to you and which may introduce quite different approaches to your own practice (this part of the course is specifically addressed in Sustainable Practice 1).
Whatever your area of interest and initiative, you will be studying on Researching Holistic Agroecology with colleagues from different parts of the world, with different levels of expertise, and with different approaches to the subject matter and its application. This makes for a very rich and rewarding forum for research.