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Report on agropedia and Open Agri Training Workshop, GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology Pantnagar, Uttarakhand

Introduction

A training workshop was jointly organized by the NAIP-IIT Kanpur team and Directorate of Extension Education, GBPUA&T, Pantnagar on 19 February 2010. The main objective of this training workshop was to create awareness about the agropedia portal and 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 candidates were registered earlier but, fifty three participants were present throughout the workshop. Participants mainly included Ph.D. students from different disciplines like Agronomy, Agricultural Extension and Communication, Genetics and Plant Breeding, Soil Science, Agro meteorology, Vegetable Science, Home Science, Food Technology, Fisheries Science, Bio-Chemistry, Micro-Biology etc. and they all together composed a unique agriculture intelligentsia. All the participants looked very enthusiastic and even contributed some contents to the agrowiki, agroblog and agroforum. The IIT Kanpur team was composed of four experts Dr. Vimlesh Yadav, Dr. Sharwan Shukla, Mr. Jaivir Singh Yadav and Mr. Deepak (Graphic Designer) and from GBPUAT team : Dr. Dipali T. Pandey, Dr. Kanchan Nainwal, Dr. G.P.Singh, Dr. Akansha Gupta and Ms. Kiran Yadav were the co-trainers.

 

Presentation Session

The presentation and training session was commenced by the inaugural speech of Dr. Y.P.S.Dabas the Director of Agricultural Extension & Communication and also the PI of the project. Dr. Dabas briefed about the NAIP project and the purpose of the training programme. The presentation and training session was conducted in the committee room of the Directorate of Extension Education, GBPUAT Pantanagar. The workshop was started with the presentation on agropedia conducted by Dr. Vimlesh Yadav. In this session Dr. Vimlesh Yadav explained about the vision and aspirations of agropedia portal. He clearly defined the concept of semantic web application, and drew the distinction between agropedia and other websites on Indian agriculture.

This was followed by the presentation on Open Agri portal with the questions like: What is the need of a platform like 'Open Agri 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. In the middle of the session, Ms Kiran Yadav made the programme more interesting by questioning the participants. 

 


Training Sessions

Training session was primarily focused to train the participants to use the agropedia website. It was a 'Know What' session where the objectives were to make the users familiar with the contents and features of the website so that one can able to click on the right link and on the webpage in order to quickly and easily access the right information. During the training sessions the participants saw the 'knowledge models' of various crops created by the NAIP partners.  Then to the Extension Material which consists of 'library' where one 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, the features of web pages titled 'agroblog', 'agrowiki', 'forum', 'agrochat' and 'users discussion' were demonstrated and explained. Here the participants were trained 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. Then all the students were divided into four groups and those groups were assigned a task to make a concept map of Potato. 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 Dr. VimleshYadav where functionalities of "Open Agri"- An Agricultural Research Repository were elaborated as in how to search content, how to upload documents and how to tag and also efficiently elaborating the difference between agropedia and openagri and other agricultural sites.

 

 

 Lab Exercise

After the training session, lab exercises were conducted and all the participants were asked to create their login and go through the agropedia website thoroughly. All the team members were present to assist the participants throughout the session and make them familiar with the functionalities of the website. All the participants were very enthusiastic while practicing in the new methods of doing things. Most of the participants were satisfied with what was provided to them so far.

Issues

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

1.    Upload the agricultural knowledge in easy manner so that ultimate user (Farmer) would be benefitted.

2.    To include other crops of agricultural importance.

3.    Certificate/Grading for content providers in Library (agropedia) and Open Agri.

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. At the end of the day Dr. Dabas asked about their experiences about the training and portal and requested them to participate actively. Training ends with a group photo session.