Jul 10, 2012

First Day of Web 2.0 Training Workshop

The Web 2.0 Learning workshop organized by The Technical Centre for agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture (FOA-University of Mauritius) and the Food and Agricultural Council (FARC) was officially launched by Dr. the Hon. Rajeshwar Jeetah, Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology on 9th July 2012 at the R.Burrenchobay Lecture Theatre, University of Mauritius, Reduit. Present at the launching ceremony were 
  • Prof. Y. Jaufeerally-Fakim, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, 
  • Prof. H.C.S Rughooputh, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius,  
  • Prof. S.Jugessur, Pro-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius, 
  • Mr. J.Ramkissoon, Director General of the Food and Agricultural Research Council
Deans of other Faculties of the University of Mauritius, academic staffs of the Faculty of agriculture, Director of Agricultural organizations, NGOs, the private sector and students were also present at the ceremony.
The Dean of FOA addressing the audience
The ceremony started at 09:15 with the welcome note of the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Fakim, who explained about the importance of web 2.0 tools in Agriculture today and why we should adopt these tools. 
In his speech, Prof. H.C.S Rughooputh, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius, highlighted that the training on web 2.0 is being organised at the right moment since Mauritius will soon be benefiting better internet connectivity with the establishment of the LION2 submarine cable system in Kenya. Through the web 2.0 training, the Vice-Chancellor believes that the participants can make the best from this opportunity and contribute to Agricultural Research and Development.
The Vice-Chancellor addressing the audience
Prof. H. Jugessur, the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius said that it is now time for us to go back to the soil and forget about white-collar jobs. According to him, we are seeing fewer youth being engaged in agriculture and hence should encourage kitchen gardens etc. for the sustainability of the sector. He also mentioned that the Agricultural research and Extension Unit (AREU) and other Agricultural stakeholders should adapt to change and use open source and web 2.0 tools to collaborate, share information and transfer our knowledge to farmers in the field.
The Pro-Chancellor of UoM addressing the audience
The Director General of FARC, Mr. J.Ramkissoon, gave an over-view of the activities related to web 2.0 tools that have been supported by the organization for past years. He mentioned about how the Mauritius Agricultural Information specialists Network (MAISNET) was established, and encouraged all stakeholders present to join the network and work in collaboration.
The Director of FARC addressing the audience
In his speech, Dr. the Hon. R.Jeetah was direct to the point: We have a problem of excessive use of chemicals (fertilisers and pesticides) in the country and the food we are consuming is not safe for our health. "It is the responsibility of each and everyone of us to critically look at what we are doing", said the Minister. According to him, the University has an important role to play in bringing positive change in our society and he officially declared that his Ministry is going to make 100 Arpent of land (situated at Pamplemousses and Montagne Blanche) available for the University to conduct Research for a more sustainable Agriculture. He also emphasized that research needs to be multi-disciplinary and different sectors (Agriculture, health, education etc.) should collaborate and work together. He declared the workshop open and requested the participants to make the most of this web 2.0 learning opportunity in making positive change.
The Minister addressing the audience
Mr. K.Boodhoo, lecturer and Head of Department at the Faculty of Agriculture delivered a short presentation on web 2.0 tools and how they can be used for Agricultural Research and Development. The minister then launched a Blog post on the Faculty of Agriculture Blog. The media coverage of the launching ceremony can be viewed in the video below: 

There were 25 participants selected for the training on web 2.0 for development and they were from different organizations and fields: Research, Extension, Fisheries, Forestry, private sector, agriculture graduates among others.
Workshop participants
The training started with an ice-breaker session whereby the participants had to talk to the person sitting next to him/her for 5 minutes and then introduce that person. 
The trainers introduced the democracy wall, which was in the corridor next to the room, whereby the participants had to share their ideas/opinions/thoughts on the training based on the following:
  • I learnt
  • I discovered
  • I suggest
  • I felt
  • I noticed
Participants were provided with meta cards and were required to write on the above and share their views on the democracy wall twice a day.
Participants sharing their opinions on the democracy wall
The training on Day 1 was based on the following:
  • Introduction to Web 2.0 for Dev
  • Selective access to information using Google as search engine for advanced search
  • Alerts and RSS (Google Alerts, Google Reader, iGoogle)
Before each session, there was a video projected to introduce the topic. Then the trainer would ask the participants some questions about who is using this tool and how they can benefit from it. The general observation was that apart from sending emails and have a Facebook account, very few participants use other web 2.0 tools.
The trainers in action
For each session, the trainers explained what the tool is about, what is the objective of using it, how does it function, giving examples and after demonstration, participants had time to practice different exercises.
After each session, participants were provided with meta cards (2 colours) and they had to write on the following and pin it on the wall:
  • Do you Think you can make use of Web 2.0 Tools? If so, How? (Yellow Cards)
  • What are your concerns (Pink Cards)
    Before starting a new session, the trainers went through the meta cards and discussed on the issues raised before moving to the next session.
    Participants pinning the meta cards after each session
    According to the comments made by the participants, Day 1 was interesting and they discovered many things that would help them in their daily activities!
    All Tweets for the launching ceremony and the training can be found with #web2mru
    Please find in the Slideshow below the pictures of Day 1:

    1 comment:

    Dashini said...

    An enriching experience!