Guidelines for online learning in soil science: A synthesis of ideas from academics, students and employers


  • Lorna E. Jarrett
  • Damien Field
  • Tony Koppi
  • Peter Kopittke
  • Lyn Abbott
  • Cameron Grant
  • Alex McBratney
  • Neal Menzies
  • Tony Weatherley


As part of an ALTC-supported curriculum development project, we engaged teaching staff, employers, current students and recent graduates in the discipline of soil science to develop a set of guidelines for online learning in our discipline. During a one-day Forum, three experienced practitioners in online learning design in engineering, science and health presented and discussed their approaches with the forum participants. The forum attendees then developed guidelines for online learning in soil science based on their personal experiences together with the presentations. The resulting guidelines were compared with the literature and a very good match found in assessment, content, communication and feedback, motivation and groupwork. Two additional aspects that apply particularly to teaching soil science in Australia were identified, namely the importance of defining agreed outcomes that take into account regional differences across academic institutions and accommodating the broad range of prior knowledge that students of soil science bring to online courses.