Student Perspectives on a New Online Biomass Production Module for Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources and Technology

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In 2007, a Virtual Education Center for Biorenewable Resources was initiated that offered three online courses, one being Biorenewable Resources and Tech¬nology (BRT) 501 – Fundamentals of BRT. The objective was to assess student perceptions on two delivery methods, course assessments, module material, and student learning. Twenty students completed the survey of qualitative aspects of student experiences in BRT 501. The biomass production module brought non-farm students closer to the knowledge level of farm students as demonstrated by students’ self-assessed knowl¬edge and their BRT 501 assessment scores. Students desired a stronger connection with the course instructor and peers, whether electronically or in-person. This may reflect a relationship between student-instructor connectedness and grade point average (GPA). Market signals to students in the form of scholarship GPA min¬imums and employer interview requirements as well as higher GPA leading to better jobs with higher incomes may influence student interest in connectedness to the instructor.