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Pioneering Permaculture students praise course, plan for capstone projects

Published:30 January 2017

1. CQUni student DeeAnn Bauer and a student from India, Manjit Kochar, show off their certificates from The Food Forest. 2. Students celebrating after having received their Permaculture Design Certificates. 3. CQUni Discipline Leader Dr Keri Chiveralls, CQUni lecturer Dr Amie Anastasi, The Food Forest owners Graham and Anne-Marie Brookman and CQUni Permaculture students. 4. Design Circle Kul Kul Farm. 5. Students get their hands dirty during the Permaculture In Practice unit at The Kul Kul Farm in Bali, Indonesia.

The first year of CQUniversity's new Graduate Certificate in Permaculture Design has sparked plenty of positive feedback from students, who are now finalising a diverse range of 'capstone projects'.

Permaculture students in the first cohort have endorsed the course and unit design, involving a combination of online materials, expert guest lecturers, online collaborative tutorials, residential schools and coordination dedicated to empowering students to apply their learning through their final capstone projects.

In 2017, a new residential school will be introduced early in the course, enabling students to meet each other and their CQUniversity lecturers much earlier in their journey.

"Ours is a strong pedagogical model designed to inspire!" says Discipline Leader for Permaculture Design and Sustainability, Dr Keri Chiveralls.

Student feedback has been used for continuous improvements to the course content and the online user interface and online meeting software have also been improved.

Student comments have included:

"It is a very valuable course and all involved should be commended."

"The course coordinator chose excellent readings that facilitated my learning. She was also always open to answer questions or concerns for the reading materials and assessment as well as facilitating and supporting discussion amongst our peers."

"Super dedicated Lecturer!"

"The range of different reading/study materials is well presented through Moodle and the interesting guest speakers at the weekly tutorials kept the course fresh and alive."

"The readings and tutorials are interesting and challenging. The variety and calibre of speakers was also very good. The coordinator's knowledge in regards to academic permaculture theory is quite extensive."

"Important step for tertiary and permacultural integration. Good hearing from David Holmgren and other elders. Most of all, empowering and exciting getting a platform to build cool projects from."

Capstone projects enable students to apply what they have learned to a specific idea.

Projects to be presented by the CQUniversity students range from conventional permaculture designs for food production through to the application of permaculture ethics and principles to projects in existing disciplines like the ‘perma-psychology’ project, and permaculture education projects.

The projects also include development of proposals for new start-up businesses like ‘Companion Planting’ (a sustainable/regenerative pet memorial service involving pet burial via container gardening) and 'The Food Print Experience' (a food van that sells delicious permaculture food while also providing educational permaculture workshops).

The capstones will be presented at The Joinery in Adelaide on 19 April as part of a showcase of Permaculture Design.

This showcase event will also feature presentation of an Honorary Doctorate to David Holmgren, who is recognised as co-originator of the permaculture concept.

Applications for Permaculture courses are now open and close on 20 February. You can visit this link to apply.