Experiential Learning

The purpose of the project is to address the need for more advanced risk management skills in regards to the use futures and options markets by agricultural producers and other agribusinesses. With ever increasingly volatile commodity prices, such skills are imperative to the financial viability of these agribusinesses, the demise of which would prove detrimental to global food security. Using internet-based distance learning technologies, the availability of an experiential learning oriented course designed as a student-funded trading pool may be extended geographically to a target audience of baccalaureate agricultural degree students matriculating at accredited U.S. Universities. Currently, this type of course is offered only in the classroom at two U.S. institutions of higher learning due to barriers related to obtaining a letter of exemption from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission allowing a student trading pool. Project products include a series of three consecutively advanced and regularly offered online trading courses. The intended outcome/impact is an increase in the number and diversity of graduating baccalaureates possessing competencies in futures and options price risk management that support agribusiness profitability, and subsequently, global food security and may be assessed as described in the project’s evaluation plan.

Title: Inter-Institutional Interest in Developing an Online Commodity Merchandising Certificate Program

Authors:  Joe Parcell, University of Missouri; Jill Moreland, University of Missouri; David Shively, University of Missouri; Jewelwayne Cain, University of Missouri; Haluk Gedikoglu, Lincoln University; and Anna Henry University of Missouri

Abstract: A key motivator to develop collaborative programs is the presence of inadequate resources within a single institution.  As the field of agricultural economics has exploded into many subfields of study, teacher critical mass in traditional learning areas has eroded.  This has been especially true for the loss of commodity merchandising courses, and there is likely to be an enormous demand for commodity merchandisers due to the aging cohort now serving that role.  This research reports on methodology for assessing inter-institutional teacher interest in developing a joint, online commodity merchandising certificate program, within the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA) platform. We concluded the importance to explain the Great Plains IDEA collaboration platform, to assess the availability of courses at each institution, and to collect opinions on what resources each institution will have available in the upcoming 5- and 10-year intervals.  We also assessed whether teachers found the Great Plains IDEA as overstepping institutional boundaries, or as an opportunity to better serve student and industry needs.

An article regarding the project was published in North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Journal Volume 55 Number 3 in September 2011 titled “What to Teach Future Commodity Merchandisers: A Survey of Skills and Needs.”

HEC Grant Poster 2012Click here to view a PDF version of the 2012 HEC Grant Poster pictured above.

Click here for the 3295 Class Syllabus.

Click here for the FS14 Focus Group Discussion Summary.

Click here for a PDF sample of the Pre and Post Assessment.

Click here for a PDF file of the HEC Annual Performance Report Tables.

Click here for a PDF file of the Teaching Fact Sheet Write-up.

This material is based upon work supported by the United State Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Award No. 2011-38411-30562.