TC115: Agriculture, Innovation, and Technology

This four-week online certificate course will explore a number of design considerations and technologies to help make agricultural production increasingly accessible and affordable in the developing world. These include: digital financial services, SMS and IVR campaign tools, remote sensing technologies, mobile applications and services, drone surveillance, GIS data, and more.

Course Description

Smallholder farmers make up over half of the world’s food-insecure populations in developing countries. These farmers face numerous challenges: decreasing land sizes, weather changes, inadequate access to equipment & resources, insufficient training, market volatility and more.

Across all four weeks, we will weave in several topics that go across the agriculture cycle, such as:

  • The trade-offs between different digital “channels” (e.g., mobile versus radio versus GIS) for different types of information and learning
  • The potential role of farmer profiling and its opportunities and challenges
  • The roles and challenges of using community or rural service agents
  • Terms such as “push” versus “pull”; direct to farmer or mediated
  • The role and capacity of local service providers, international ones, and mobile network operators
  • The role of government ministries
  • Gender and youth as factors in the design, rollout and scaling of digital services

The course will also consider a range of challenges to implementation like access to power, language barriers, literacy levels, high transactions costs, access to quality extension services and more.

Participants can expect a dynamic learning environment with a number of real-world case studies from countries like Mali and Kenya, custom animations and video tutorials, interactions with leading experts in the field and practical simulations to apply new skills and strategies.

Judy Payne, USAID’s ICT Advisor for Agriculture, has served as an advisor in the design of this course. She is also the Bureau of Food Security (BFS) lead for the Digital Development for Feed the Future Collaboration between the [lab] and BFS.

Course Topics and Featured Tech

The course will use the principles of digital development as a guiding framework and feature a variety of discussions, activities, case studies and live guest expert presentations around the following weekly topics:

  •   Week 1: Introduction, Crop Planning and Financing
  •   Week 2: Planting and Growing (Crop Cycle)
  •   Week 3: Post-Harvest and Farm Management
  •   Week 4: The Horizon of ICTs for Agriculture (Sensors, GIS, Big Data, and Digital Photo Recognition, Data Analytics)

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • critically analyze both the opportunities and the pitfalls that emerge when working with technology to improve agricultural outcomes
  • connect relevant development theories to the technological strategies and tools discussed in the course
  • manage specific agricultural software platforms and tools
  • design dynamic and effective strategies for using tools and platforms improve agricultural efforts
  • develop critical self-confidence for working with mobile technology to address agricultural challenges

Course Methodology

  • This course is delivered entirely online over a period of four weeks.
  • This course features several live interactive expert presentations each week with leading practitioners, software developers, academics, and donors.
  • Every live event is recorded and archived for you to watch later.
  • This course also features a unique hands-on learning environment with animated videos, technology demos, practical activities, networking events, office hours, participant presentations, immersive simulations, and more.
  • TechChange recommends budgeting a minimum commitment of 5-7 hours per week and scheduling time for the course around your existing obligations.
  • Participants will have access to all course content for at least 4 months after course completion so the material can be completed and revisited later.

Price

  • $395 if application and payment is submitted by April 9th, 2017
  • $445 if application and payment is submitted by May 7th, 2017
  • $495 if application and payment is submitted by course start date

Group discount rates available. For more details, please contact us at social [at] techchange.org. If you are not happy with your course experience for any reason, TechChange is happy to discuss refunds.

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