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Report on agropedia and Open Agri Training Workshop, CSA University, Kanpur

 

Introduction

In the continuation of creating awareness and training about the agropedia, CSA workshop is organized by NAIP-IIT Kanpur team on Jan 21 '10 having an objective to train the users of agropedia so that they can comfortably interact with the website while receiving and contributing knowledge with a vision of knowledge sharing. This workshop adds a new milestone to fulfill the envisaged aims and objective of NAIP towards knowledge management. Thirty participants were present throughout the workshop. Participants include Ph.D. students from different disciplines like Plant Pathology, Agronomy, Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Agriculture Engineering, Entomology, Soil Science etc. and they together composed a unique agriculture intelligentsia. The IIT Kanpur team was composed of two technical experts (Mrs. Meeta Bagga Bhatia and Mr. Amit Tripathi), three agriculture experts (Dr. Sharwan Shukla, Dr Awaneesh Chandra and Dr. Jai Vir Singh) and Deepak (Graphic Designer).

 

Presentation Session

The presentation and training session was conducted in the UG Computer Lab, CSA Univ., Kanpur. The commencement of the presentation session was done by Amit Tripathi. He gave an in depth introduction about the vision and aspirations of agropedia portal. Clearly defining the concept of semantic web application, he drew the distinction between agropedia and other websites on Indian agriculture.

This was followed by presentation on Open Access portal by Mrs. Meeta Bagga Bhatia. Mrs. Bhatia started with the questions like: What is the need of a platform like 'Open Access' in today's era? How it can help researchers and students like them and many more of the same type, which was further well explained. As the participants of the workshop were all Ph.D. students and all had their Thesis/Reports/Presentations either ready or in the process. So, this dimension of agropedia drove a lot of attention. 

 

 

Training Sessions

In the first session, we were focused primarily to train the participants to use the agropedia website. It was a 'Know What' session where the objective was to make them familiar with the contents and features of the website so that one can able to click on the right link on the webpage in order to quickly and easily access the right information. In this process we have shown them the 'knowledge models' of various crops created by our NAIP partners.  Then we demonstrated the 'library' where they can search information specific to their need, and add information to it. Further we moved on to 'crop calendar' and 'dos and don'ts' and described the knowledge contained into it.

After teaching them the methods of receptive interaction, we shifted towards the training of contributive interaction with the agropedia website. During this session, we demonstrated and explained the features of web pages titled 'agroblog', 'agrowiki', 'forum' and 'users discussion'. Here we trained them on different methods to participate in contributing knowledge to the agropedia. We kept conveying that our sole intention of this website is knowledge creation and sharing.

The second session was a 'Know How' session where we trained them to use the Cmap tool for creating their own knowledge model. Dr. Sharwan Shukla initially explained the origin and significance of the Cmap tool its effectiveness to the agriculture knowledge modeling. Later on he gave a nice presentation on using the Cmap tool in a step by step manner explaining the use of different shapes and colours of the text box, creating relationships etc. This was further extended, when he taught about the syntax limitations of this tool. He also demonstrated the use of Cmap tools to the participants by taking some simple examples.
This was followed by the winding session by Mrs. Meeta where functionalities of "Open Access"- An Agricultural Research Repository were elaborated as in how to search content, how to upload documents and how to tag. She also concluded the first pre lunch session by efficiently elaborating the difference between agropedia and open access and other agricultural sites.

 

 

Lab Exercise

After training session, we conducted a session of lab exercise and all the participants were asked to create their login and start participating in the website. All our team members were assisting them throughout the session and making them familiar with the functionalities of the website. All the participants were very enthusiastic while practicing new methods of doing things. Most of the participants were satisfied with what we provided them so far.

Issues

There were several issues that came up during the inaugural and training sessions. These are listed below:

  1. The following crops should be added to the agropedia as well as the knowledge models should be extended for these crops:
  2. Mango,  Gauva, Mustard etc.
  3. To include CSA as one of the content provider partner.
  4. Certificate/Grading for content providers in Library (agropedia) and Open Access.

Conclusion

One of the objectives of this training workshop was to build capacity among the agriculture experts at various levels to refine and manage the flow of knowledge. Our effort resulted into increased curiosity of agriculture scientists towards creating knowledge models and web participation. The training illuminated the minds of the participants with the potentials of information and communication technology and its contribution in the field of agriculture.