The second Permaculture Design Course will be starting up on 16 October. The first one ran reasonably well. We attracted 9 face to face students and 8 online. Both groups dropped off towards the end, and feedback from the face to face group tells us that Sunday all day for several weeks was not a great thing.
We have a small issue of VERY little money to develop this new course. As a result we can’t really get as much done as we’d like in terms of fully documenting the course and all the handouts online. We also don’t have any money to offer incentive to the teachers to use the technology that supports the course.
Kim Thomas AKA Horty Kim has been doing an excellent job keeping the course together, keeping it developing, promoting it and taking inquiries. I help out on a volunteer basis.
This time we are going to need 15 face to face paid up students to be able to sustain the course on a not for profit basis. It is a shame to face the line this early in the process, and when starting off with so little in terms of seed funding, but if we can bring in 15 students, we should be able to argue for the course to run a 3rd time.
We need time to build the reputation of the course. We need time to build a network of teachers with confidence in the technology that supports the course. It will never be a big money earner in Dunedin – nor should it be. This course is primarily about giving Dunedin people (and people online) access to a field of learning that may turn out to be extremely useful in the years to come. We are keeping the price at rock bottom so as many people can access this course as possible, and Otago Polytechnic can build a reputation in the community.
Online participation is of course welcome, and through the participation of people from many places in the world last time, we made a pretty good start on a Wikibook to support the course, a discussion forum, and quite a few videos – not to mention our first permaculture garden for the Living Campus project.