Just a quick post to document my own learning

This post details my search through OER resources to find material of relevance to teaching a class on climate smart agriculture (CSA) at university/postgraduate level. In the short text below, I respond to the answers set in the course “Search for OERs”.

Finding an image

I found the header image used in this post by searching Creative Commons. I tried out various key words: “climate smart agriculture” and “climate smart” came up with telling images of smartly dressed white people talking on podiums, or smiling while holding documents, sometimes with banners of organisations such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation behind them, or else black people working amongst crops or livestock. While this would make for good learning and discussion on the inequalities of the concept and practice of climate-smart agriculture as a global effort, I didn’t feel it was a useful choice for a header image, which is why I chose the one that you see now, which I found with the use of the keyword “agriculture”. I can tell you already that the endless rows of the same crop do not look like a particularly climate-smart version.

The terms of the license allow me to share and adapt the picture, that means I can copy and redistribute the photograph in any medium or format, as well as remix, transform, and build upon it. However, I must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. I am not allowed to suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. I am also not allowed to use the material for commercial purposes. And in the case that I should remix, transform, or build upon the material, I would have to distribute my contributions under the same license as the original.

I later also looked at Unsplash and WikimediaCommons, but neither had a better selection for the purpose, though WikimediaCommons had a number of pictures of climate smart agriculture projects in action which would be useful for a longer presentation.

Finding other resources

I searched for “climate smart agriculture” in several OER repositories, and made the following discoveries:

In the Open Textbook Library, I found ‘Community Resilience to Climate Change: Theory Research and Practice‘, published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license as my header image. Written by two academic researchers, this looks like a very useful textbook introduction to community resilience and has some sections on agriculture.

On Freesound, I found the audio recording of a climate strike which had been dedicated to the public domain– no sounds were returned for ‘climate smart agriculture’ but ‘climate’ returned a few. The audio recording might be useful in creating a video resource on CSA as a response to concerns about climate change.

Open Course Library, OpenLearn and Saylor Academy returned no relevant existing courses for either climate, smart or agriculture. Even though OpenLearn had a number of interesting blog-like posts under their Open Subjects heading which could relevantly be used in a lesson on CSA.

OER Africa, on the other hand, had an entire section on agriculture, with some very good contributions of relevance to CSA particularly in the sub-category ‘natural resources and environment‘. Mostly research or policy briefs by international organisations, universities or think tanks, these resources could have been more easily found simply by searching the internet at large rather than investigating OER curations.

Wikiversity resources were thin on CSA and a little outdated, and OER Commons were mostly focused on school children rather university students or adults.

All in all, and unfortunately, there were a lot of outdated material, broken links, retired domains and non-existing resources.

Conclusion

I will have to build my own climate-smart agriculture open educational online resource!