November 6, 2002 | By: Laura Skillman
LEXINGTON, KY.

A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture poultry course reaches from the Lexington campus across the commonwealth to provide information to traditional students at varying locations as well as those working in the poultry industry.

The course will be offered again this spring and introduces students to the principles of poultry biology and their applications to modern poultry production. Austin Cantor, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science, is the primary instructor.

Poultry production has grown substantially in the past decade with it ranking as the No. 1 food commodity produced in Kentucky today.

Cantor said the course is designed for animal science majors, non-majors interested in poultry, community college students and people working in agriculture production and Extension.  The course is taught live via interactive television and is web-assisted.

In the spring 2002 semester, the course was taught on the Lexington campus and at Western Kentucky University and Morehead State University through Distance Learning programs. Since it began in 1995, the course also has been taught across the state at various community colleges and other locations. “We’ve had flock supervisors, hatchery managers, broiler growers and other employees from several of the major poultry companies take the course,” Cantor said. 

“Some of the other non-traditional students have come from allied industries as well as county Extension agents, state government workers and others just interested in the course.”

UK is probably a pioneer in this area, Cantor said. He is not aware of any other university providing a poultry course through Distance Learning.

Cantor said a key factor in the course is being able to interact with students at the distant locations and for them to be able to interact with him.

Providing a course through interactive TV takes a great deal of cooperation and coordination. For example, classrooms with interactive television capability have to be available at the various locations at the same time one is available in Lexington. Cantor said it takes the Department of Animal Sciences, UK’s Agricultural Communications Distance Learning Program, UK Distance Learning Programs, Integrated Learning Technologies and the various sites throughout the state to make the course possible.

But, it is just what the university should be doing, he said.

“This goes beyond just Distance Learning in that we are offering a service to the other universities,” Cantor said. “One of the goals of higher education reform was to reduce duplication and here we are using one facility to provide a course at several universities and increasing cooperation among institutions.”

Cantor likes having some of the non-traditional students who work in the industry in the course. They provide real life situations and perspectives that can broaden the educational level for all those taking the course, he said.

Locations for the Spring 2003 semester are yet to be determined. The course is tentatively scheduled from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. ET on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through May 7. Interested students can check with their university to see if the course is offered, or contact UK Distance Learning at 800-828-0439 or 859-257-3377. Information can also be found at the UK Distance Learning web site, www.uky.edu/Distance.

Non-traditional students, such as those in the industry, can register through UK Distance Learning. Locations could be added if there is a request from the industry to provide them.

For more information, contact Cantor at 859-257-7531 or acantor@uky.edu.

Contact: 

Austin Cantor, (859) 257-7531