University of Wisconsin explains moving Short Course online for a year

The coordinator of the University of Wisconsin’s sixteen-week Farm and Industry Short Course says offering limited classes online for the next year is both a challenge and an opportunity.

Jennifer Blazek tells Brownfield the challenges come from not being able to offer the typical hands-on teaching. “We are so hands-on, you know, it’s hard to replicate working, you know, sticking your hand in a cow online, so, unfortunately, that meant reducing the courses we could offer and really focusing on the ones that made sense online like our ag business classes.”

Blazek says the one-year switch to online instruction does allow for more working students, plus out of state and international students to take the offered courses. 

Blazek says even with reduced class offerings, they still have scholarship dollars available and those dollars will help reduce student costs with the smaller credit loads. “We still have our (scholarships), you know, every year I think it’s around two-hundred plus thousand dollars that’s available for us to give out in scholarships and so we’ll still have all of that, and same (as before), everyone who applies gets a scholarship.”

Blazek says COVID-19 has impacted this year’s program, but it’s also an opportunity for her to reach out to alumni, students, and other stakeholders to look for ways to improve it. “What is the future of FISC? What is it going to look like in the future? What are the changing needs of the industry? What do our students need that we need to re-adjust? Right, because it can’t operate like it did twenty years ago or even ten years ago, and so now it’s that time to be strategic and involved with the changing times.”

Applications for the Farm and Industry Short Course and scholarships are free and available online

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