SFM ONLINE COURSES
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BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
Higher forestry education has had to adapt to the changing needs of society as we are increasingly facing global issues such as climate change, illegal logging, and widespread deforestation. Forest education has shifted away from traditional forestry approaches to methods that focus on sustainable forest management (SFM) and environmental conservation. As the needs of the environment and society continue to change, regional gaps exist in how to continually and equitably update forestry professionals and practitioners around the world with new knowledge of SFM and new technologies to manage natural resources and implement effective policies. Providing global access to open and credential high-quality education resources and opportunities becomes extremely important to narrow the regional gaps and improve SFM practices.
To address the challenges, a joint educational online program entitled Innovative Sustainable Forest Management Education in the Asia-Pacific Region was initiated in 2014. The program has been led by UBC Forestry in partnership with Beijing Forestry University (BFU), University of Melbourne (UM), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), University of Florida (UF), and UBC Centre for Teaching Learning and Technology (CTLT). It is under the framework of the Asia Pacific Forestry Education Coordination Mechanism (AP-FECM) and sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet). The goal of the program is to improve global access to quality education in the ever-changing field of SFM, and generate long-term enhancement of teaching quality, curriculum and research capacity among forestry universities, policymakers and practitioners in the Asia Pacific region.
The joint online program aims to introduce updated SFM topics to global learners with open and credential learning opportunities. The course topics were widely consulted with regional forestry universities and identified from reviews and surveys conducted by the AP-FECM, which demonstrated the solid needs and interests of learners and larger societies. Content experts from regional forestry universities in the AP-FECM network were invited to develop coursework and formed an international collaborative development team with broad knowledge in SFM. In phase I of the project (2014-2016), a series of 5 online self-directed learning courses in SFM were developed with its content as Open Educational Resources (OER). In Phase II of the project (2018-2021), a total of 14 online graduate certificate courses (among which were 5 upgraded Phase I courses) were developed with its fundamental content as OER. Phase III of the project will be on agenda in 2023 to have another handful of courses developed.
The joint online program created the following learning opportunities for target learners. For a detailed description of each opportunity, see the related sections on this page below.
- AP-FECM SFM OER Courses
- AP-FECM Repurposed OER Course Completion Certificate Program
- UBC Online Graduate Certificate in Forest Management and Conservation (GCFMC) Program
With these online SFM courses, we aim to create a systematic online curriculum that provides a strong foundation in forest management and policy, conservation and forest sciences, and training in the latest technologies. This online curriculum creates an accessible and flexible resource for high-quality forest education to meet the demands of ever-changing societal and environmental conditions. The project narrowed the gaps among universities in the Asia Pacific Region. Many universities have entirely or partially used the materials in their teaching curricula. This project is a great effort toward increasing equity in forest education around the world. It has set a baseline and an excellent example for future course articulation and mutual recognition regionally, which will further promote student mobility and faculty exchange, as well as collaboration in forest education at national, regional and global levels.
As the only SFM online program of its kind, since 2016, the joint educational program provides world-class forestry education resources created and supported by leading professors and experts from internationally recognized universities around the world. Its OER courses reached out to over 15,000 learners from over 90 international economies and its instructor-led repurposed OER Courses by AP-FECM had over 3800 learners from over 135 universities. As a key unit to operate and manage the project, the Executive Office (EO) of the AP-FECM is responsible for continuously encouraging global utilization of the curriculum and increasing international recognition of the project.
AP-FECM SFM OER COURSES
One of the results so far of the joint educational online program, Innovative Sustainable Forest Management Education in the Asia-Pacific Region, is the release of the OER version of 14 online graduate certificate SFM courses. They are listed below on this page. Each course features self-directed learning with content as Open Educational Resources (OER). Learning modules break down into weekly topics for easy repurposing. Each topic typically consists of background information, video lectures, supplemental readings, self-tests, and self-directed reflection questions. This module-based format allows instructors to easily incorporate appropriate content into their own courses and allows institutions to customize and integrate the entire or ‘parts of’ each course to fit into their own education curricula and programs. This open pedagogical design supports both self-paced learning and repurposed instructor-led learning to improve flexibility and learner engagement.
The OER Course materials have been widely utilized or repurposed either partially or entirely by APFECM, participating universities, member universities of AP-FECM, and individual users in their learning, teaching, and research since 2016.
How to Use the OER Courses
- For self-directed learners
All AP-FECM SFM OER courses are well designed for self-directed learners. Each course canvas site has a user-friendly and consistent interface with detailed instructions for learners. Each course is delivered as a series of modules. Each module roughly follows the same format, with an introduction, a number of topics, and then a conclusion. Within each topic, there are typically some reading materials, some short video lectures, and some self-directed reflection questions which we would encourage you to go through and study. As self-directed learners you can complete the topics and modules at your own pace. You may click on “Start Here” link on the home page of each course site to find course orientation information and course modules.
- For individual instructors
All the course contents are organized by modules and weekly topics, which can be reused or repurposed separately. As instructors, you may check out and consider adopting any of the OER content for your course. You can tailor the content for your repurposed course based on your course schedule, course density, course credits and course audience. For UBC examples of repurposing the OER courses, please find more information in the section “ AP-FECM Repurposed OER Course Completion Certificate Program ”.
- For partner universities
With a module-based format, instructors can easily repurpose and incorporate the necessary content into their courses, and institutions can integrate and combine these courses to fit their curricula and programs. Partner universities are welcome to integrate the courses into their curriculum planning. For UBC examples of repurposing the OER courses, see “AP-FECM Repurposed OER Course Completion Certificate Program” section for details. For an example of a credential program using the courses developed by this joint online education program, see the section “UBC Online Graduate Certificate in Forest Management and Conservation (GCFMC) Program”.
AP-FECM REPURPOSED OER COURSE COMPLETION CERTIFICATE PROGRAM
With the existing OER courses, to assist participating universities in improving forest education quality to build capacity in sustainable forest management in the Asia Pacific region, AP-FECM EO had gradually established the AP-FECM Repurposed OER Course Completion Certificate Program starting in 2016.
Repurposed Sessions Offered
- Instructor-led pilot sessions during 2016-2018
Four instructor-led repurposed OER courses were piloted between 2016 to 2018. About 100-150 students from various partner universities in the Asia-Pacific region participated in each offer. Each of the repurposed Sustainable Forest Management in a Changing World (FODE 001-OER) and Restoration of Degraded Forest Ecosystems and Forest Plantation Development (FODE 005-OER) courses were held twice as the open enrolment pilot courses. In total, 701 students from 8 universities joined the courses. Learners were asked to study course materials, conduct fieldwork and share localized practical experience in group discussions. Based on the experience of the pilot sessions, the AP-FECM Repurposed OER Course Completion Certificate Program was developed for later offerings to various participants across cultures and country boundaries.
- Instructor-led sessions during spring and summer terms 2019-2020
There was one regular-size instructor-led repurposed OER course provided in 2019 and 8 large-scale instructor-led repurposed OER courses being offered in 2020 amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. All these courses have attracted over 1500 students from 32 Chinese partnering universities. Other than delivering high-quality education in SFM, an international collaborative teaching and learning community had been built through the course offerings in 2020 with more than 35 instructors from UBC and universities in China involved.
- Instructor-led Sessions during winter term 2020-2021
The COVID-19 pandemic had affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the cessation of normal practices at schools, colleges, and universities. As an immediate response to the globally spread virus, five repurposed SFM OER courses were extended to the broader Asia Pacific region in the fall of 2020. The project was a success on all fronts, with more than 1000 students registered for the courses. Students enrolled from across the Asia Pacific including forestry universities and institutes from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Mongolia, Burma, Cambodia, and Chile. These courses were selected based on feedback from students and instructors, as well as from the experiences drawn from the previous implementation of open online courses.
- Instructor-led Sessions in Virtual Summer Camps
Since 2020 amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Asia Forest Research Center and AP-FECM EO have been offering the Virtual Summer Camps with specific themes of packaged courses each year. For each themed package, one SFM OER online course is repurposed as asynchronized course, combined with another synchronized course. In July 2020, the Virtual Summer Camp started with one package and attracted 60 students from 11 universities in the Asia Pacific region. In July 2021, the Virtual Summer Camp was extended to 3 packages, with 115 students from 11 universities registered for the Camp. In July 2022, four packages will be delivered and 225 students from 16 universities in the Asia Pacific regions will join the Virtual Summer Camp.
UBC ONLINE GRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN FOREST MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION (GCFMC) PROGRAM
Based on 14 online graduate certificate courses developed in Phase II of the joint educational online program, UBC established an online Graduate Certificate in Forest Management and Conservation (GCFMC) program. The GCFMC program was launched in September 2021, which is a graduate-level certificate that can be completed in 2 years or less. In this program, students from all over the world, with a desire to leverage new technology and use science-based practices, will learn the related knowledge and tools to sustainably manage forests in the rapidly changing social and political environment. The program is ideal for working professionals looking to advance their careers. The assessment mechanism of the UBC graduate certificate program is more comprehensive compared with that of the AP-FECM Repurposed OER Course Completion Certificate Program. More evaluation strategies were added such as critical reflections, online discusisons, hands-on assignments, case study report, site management plan, data analysis project, multi-stakeholder debate, 6 sentence arguments, final exam, etc.
To be awarded the Graduate Certificate in Forest Management and Conservation, students must complete 15-credits (5 courses), which include, FOPE 500: Sustainable Forest Management in a Changing World, and four additional courses that suit their interests within the elective pool:
- FOPE 501: Geomatics in Forestry: Data Collection and Management
- FOPE 502: Introduction to Urban Forestry in the Asia Pacific Region
- FOPE 503: Climate Modelling and Forest Applications
- FOPE 504: Structure and Composition of Tropical Forest Ecosystems
- FOPE 505: Ecological Processes in Tropical Forests
- FOPE 506: Forest Conservation in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities
- FOPE 507: International Forestry Issues, institutions, and Multi-Lateral Agreements
- FOPE 508: Forest Ecosystem Services and Community Livelihoods
- FOPE 509: Plantation Design and Management
- Workshop: Forestry Education in the New Normal: Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions
May 4 & 5, 2022
- Silver Lining for Learning TV show on “Innovative Sustainable Forest Management Education in the Asia-Pacific Region”
March 20, 2021
- 2021 SFM Online Course Closing Ceremony
January 14, 2021
- Open Virtual Lecture Series on Online Teaching and Learning
- Asia Pacific Forestry Education Coordination Mechanism Virtual Seminar
July 8, 2020
- Online Course Development Workshop
July 30 – August 3, 2018
AP-FECM SFM OER Courses
FODE 002-OER – Forest Governance, Public Relations, and Community Development
FODE 003-OER – International Forestry Issues, Institutions, and Multi-Lateral Agreements
FODE 005-OER – Restoration of Degraded Forest Ecosystems & Forest Plantation Development
FODE 009-OER – Geomatics in Forestry: Data Collection and Management