Bryan Runck, Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN, Paul M. Porter, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN and Mary Brakke, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN
The problem of sustainability is fully wicked. From the defining of the problem to finding solutions, sustainability escapes disciplinary boundaries and simple solutions. Agroecology as a field has sought to train students in real-world contexts to prepare them to be practitioners working in wicked problems. Experiential and transdisciplinary educational methods have formed the backbone of agroecological pedagogy that brought students out of the classroom into the field. This process, while incredibly effective at the farm scale, is impossible when considering multiple international contexts. The Extended Classroom Framework expands on previous work done in agroecology pedagogy by incorporating online geographic information systems within online social networks that allow international collaborators to interact with students and each other throughout a course. In the 2012 Fall Semester, faculty in the Agronomy and Plant Genetics Department implemented the Extended Classroom Framework in the Agroecosystems of the World course. Eight CFANS undergraduate students participated in the course, and provided initial insights into the effectiveness of the framework for international education. We collected student journal responses, and evaluated course impacts on intercultural development and environmental disposition through survey instruments.