DELTA Express grant improves access to popular animal science course
North Carolina State lecturer Latisha Judd was approached to develop an additional option for a critical animal science course that always had a waiting list and was only held twice a year. Thanks to a DELTA Express Grantshe was able to develop an asynchronous online summer session of ANS 230: Animal Nutrition that will increase access to the course for majors and non-majors alike.
The Rapid Design Grant allows teachers to quickly assemble materials for an upcoming course. Judd received the grant in December and the class will start in May. Course registration is open now for students.
The format uses a variety of learning approaches, interactive components, and software such as Panopto and H5P to create a robust and engaging experience.
Judd also hopes it will expand NC State’s reach to students who may not be aware of the many opportunities in animal science, as Judd remembers being that student herself. She always knew she wanted to pursue a doctorate. and teach, but says that even as a graduate student she hadn’t found her footing in the vast field of agriculture.
“We are thinking about some of the missions of the institution, of wanting to engage with a more diverse student population, with the goal of enriching and advancing the field, and this is an opportunity for students who can be Non-animal science majors and students from schools that are not land-grant institutions have access to a course required for veterinary school.
The online summer option expands opportunities for those who need a flexible schedule or who might need to work, and it gives animal science majors who couldn’t fit it into their schedules a another chance to get this course.
The “Essential Experts”
“I was very excited to receive the grant,” says Judd. “I will be able to release a good quality product in no time. DELTA is the best.
Judd works with DELTA Instructional Designer Jennifer Tasgold and Instructional Technologist Arlene Mendoza-Moran to develop the course. The course goes beyond the format of many other online courses, providing students with a unique and interactive way to learn online in an asynchronous format. The tools available are new to Judd, but the DELTA team is experienced.
“I work with a lot of unfamiliar technology tools, and it could have been a really daunting or overwhelming task, but the team has been great, and I think those supportive relationships are one of the benefits of the DELTA grants,” says Judd. “We should all try to interact more often with the people at DELTA because they are the ones who study pedagogy, study the best ways to improve learning and the best ways to ensure that learning is accessible to all learners. They are the indispensable experts.
This course is self-paced with some structure: “We want students to have the autonomy to complete things at their own pace, but with an inclusion that allows for different circumstances,” says Judd. “People learn very differently, so we have interactive conferencing, but we also have other components because some people may thrive with audio or visual information.”
She hopes to continually reshape and improve the course over time to reach more learners. Judd also hopes the course is QM-certified (certified quality), which means it has been peer-reviewed by academics and meets the criteria for excellence.
You don’t know what you don’t knoww
Judd didn’t always see herself in the animal sciences. Her experience as an undergraduate biology student was limited to bench work: “We didn’t go out to collect or breed. When I started my masters, I had the opportunity to do practical work, but I was always in this naive state of mind where I think farming is just farming and cultures.
She says it was her experience in the PhD program that “really opened my eyes to all that agriculture and animal science can be”.
ANS 230 is intended for animal science majors, animal science certificate students, nutrition minors, and non-degree studies, so the course has the opportunity to introduce students to a new area of interest.
“We want students to have the autonomy to complete things at their own pace, but with inclusion that allows for different circumstances.”
“It meets that veterinary prerequisite, which is why many students will take the course,” says Judd. “But the passion that I can show and share about all the different careers in animal science is one of the benefits of having someone like me teaching. I’m not that traditional animal scientist.
It was this kind of mentorship and relationships that got Judd into teaching. She is also an advisor for MANRRS, the North Carolina State Chapter on Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Allied Sciences.
When Judd reflects on the impact she wants to have as an educator and mentor, she hopes students will understand that college is a protected time: “It’s a time to pursue all kinds of interests, so that when you’re in your career, you really appreciate it, you really love it.