On February 22, 2008 Otago Polytechnic will be running a 4 month part time Permaculture Design Course.

It is also being developed into an Open Educational Resource (OER) on Wikieducator. (Work in progress)

Local Permaculture expert Peta Hudson will be teaching the course, and the amazing Kim Thomas (aka Horty Kim) will facilitate and help develop OER.

In the wiki is a full break down of the course as it will initially run, including budget and fees. The development has received seed funding from the Otago Polytechnic sustainability fund and we are working on ways to make it economically sustainable in the long term without making fees prohibitive for people wanting to benefit from the course. (Producing OER for the course is one part of that…). We are also aiming to widen the scope of the course so as to attract designers generally into thinking about the principles of Permaculture in their work.

This post is to both promote and note the work and intentions behind the project.

Background:

Otago Polytechnic is throwing a lot of weight into developing itself as a sustainable organisation that provides holistic education around sustainability. In this effort a small fund was made available to seed ideas and new projects that advance that effort. A proposal to develop a Permaculture course was developed with initial input from William Lucas, Mark Jackson, Kim Thomas, Peta Hudson and myself. After some fiddly administration tweaking to make the course fit our particular ways, the proposal was accepted and we were given the go ahead.

The course.

Kim Thomas and Peta Hudson used to run a short course out of the Horticulture Department called Introduction to Organic Gardening for the City Dweller. Essentially the content was very similar, or enough to use as a basis for the Permaculture Design course that we would build and widen scope from. Peta developed a schedule for the course, electing to use 9 x 6.5 hour workshops on Sundays so as to be available for hobbyists and professionals. While the first course will run on this schedule, we hope to find ways to widen the scope and content so as to attract professional designers and other industry sectors interested in sustainability, and the ideas that Permaculture may bring to developing sustainable production systems and living spaces. We hope that design lectures will become involved in the course and help as achieve this goal.

Open Educational Resource:

The first instance of the course will be thoroughly documented with a view to producing a range of educational resources to support all potential learners, as well as feedback to the teachers and participants. This material will be made openly accessible on the Wikieducator platform and used to support future developments of the course. It is hoped that the project will gradually attract input from other professionals and that collaborative development partnerships will form that will assist in the objective of widening the scope of the course.

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