By Ellen Bombella, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service
Ken Moore led the development of a distance education program in agronomy 19 years ago and this year he received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Distance Education in Teaching Award for his hard work.
There have been a lot of changes in technology since Moore started the program. One of the first roadblocks was the students' ability to access the internet. When the program began in 1998, it was very expensive for students to use the internet and online courses were not common.
"It was expensive for students to get access to the internet, so we developed all of our course materials on compact discs or CDs, so they just needed the internet for the communications part to interact with the instructor and with other students," said Moore, a professor in agronomy.
Another big challenge was creating content for the courses. When the first students enrolled, there were only three courses available. For the first three years, Moore and his colleagues worked to just one semester ahead to develop the following semester's courses.
"That was an extraordinary thing," Moore said. "To develop 37 credits of course materials over a three-year period is a big deal."
Despite different challenges, the program has been a great success.
"Failure was never an option for us," Moore said. "There have been lots of critical moments along the way where it could have failed but it didn't."
"I feel really fortunate to have been a part of this. The faculty that have embraced this program are people who are dedicated to teaching and helping students learn," Moore said. "The students in the program are phenomenal people because they have so much going on in their lives yet they still manage to pull this off. It's been rewarding to help people like that."
Moore stepped down as the director of the program in January.
Moore received his bachelor's degree in 1979 from Arizona State University. He received his master's degree in 1981 and his Ph.D in 1983 in agronomy from Purdue University.
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will present awards to faculty and staff on March 8 at its Spring-Semester Convocation and Awards Program in the Memorial Union.