Aquaculture Workforce-Development Needs Addressed Through Distance Learning

Beyond Auburn – Fall 2009

The Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture at Auburn University, the recognized world leader in aquaculture education and training for many years, is now on the cutting edge of global workforce-development training. Its new non-credit Certificate for Aquaculture Professionals, or CAP, is provided worldwide via distance education.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recognized the need to develop this global training program, citing increases in both global population and seafood demand per capita.

Global aquaculture production will need to double by 2030 to keep pace with demand, and in most countries, there are already an insufficient number of trained workers in the aquaculture field.

Government agencies require specialists who are knowledgeable about aquaculture activities and can evaluate, develop, and improve aquaculture projects. Aquaculture ventures need specialists in current aquaculture techniques and procedures. Without these trained specialists, government and industry needs are not met, and the potential economic opportunities of the industry are not fully realized.

The CAO program targets four primary educational markets: government agencies, universities, privately owned farms, and individual aquaculture professionals. Each client can benefit from training that will help build the knowledge to perform industry duties with the highest proficiency standards.

Guided by Antonio Garza deYta and Troy Hahn, the CAP program and the Distance Learning & Outreach Technology office have worked to support fisheries and allied aquaculture faculty in the design and production of online modules to deliver program content in multiple languages. The content is structured into ,modules such as water quality, hatchery management, and genetics and breeding.

Students access the content and are assessed via Auburn’s web-based learning management system, Blackboard.

The CAP program was conceptualized and planned in 2008, module development began early in 2009, and program leaders are currently piloting CAP with aquaculture professionals in Mexico.

The Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture is capitalizing on the ability to develop instructional materials, translate them into a variety of languages, and deliver them to multiple audiences across the globe simultaneously to extend the reach of its workforce-development offerings.

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