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Cirad

Public awareness of organic agriculture: creation of the 1st MOOC on organic farming in Europe

Marliac G., Bellon S., Nesme T., Peigne J., David G., Deguine J.P., Sautereau N., Balard E.. 2021. In : Culture, philosophy, spirituality and education forum: book of abstracts. Rennes : IFOAM, p. 109-111. Organic World Congress 2021. 20, 2021-09-08/2021-09-10, Rennes (France).

Given the many sources of information available on organic agriculture (OA), it is difficult for the public to build an opinion. The first, francophone MOOC on organic farming and food (MOOC BIO) was built to provide updated information on the development status and challenges of OA and to allow as many people as possible to build an objective and informed opinion on OA. For 8 weeks, a broad range of themes (regulation, stakeholders, history, production techniques, marketing systems and territorial development) were addressed. Almost 20,000 students have participated to the MOOC, with large international coverage, illustrating the great interest paid to OA. In addition, the organization of events around the MOOC has broadened the target audience. Through a partnership with OA stakeholders in Senegal we even reached an international dimension. For wider dissemination, translation into others languages is a perspective. Background: The development and media coverage of organic farming has resulted in the wide dissemination of information on organic farming and food. Anyone can learn about organic farming by browsing the wide internet. However, the diversity in nature and quality related to this information and also controversies between researchers (See for instance the debate after the publication In Nature Searchinger et al., 2018) may lead to some confusion and misinformation for the general public. Organic farming stakeholders, citizens and consumers need to form a critical opinion on some of the issues raised by the OA: what is the right price for organic products? Are organic products better for human and environmental health? In the digital age, the MOOC BIO (Massive Open Online Course on OA) aims to support this public in building informed opinion on organic agriculture. To our knowledge, this is the first MOOC dedicated to organic agriculture, started in 2018. Core messages and conclusions: The main messages are: - Two MOOC sessions have already unfolded in 2018 and 2019, and attracted almost 20,000 participants coming from more than 100 countries. This underlines the interest that OA represents for learners, citizens, consumers and organic farming actors. - The MOOC addresses seven dimensions of organic agriculture, namely: regulation, stakeholders, history, production techniques, marketing systems linked to consumption and territorial development. The deepening of controversial cross-cutting issues (OA and biodiversity; OA and prices; OA and human health; OA and water), based on selected resources and promoting exchanges between registered participants (thanks to forums and collective synthesis work) enriched the participants' positioning. The learners were also led to develop a reflexive approach on the evolution of their representations of OA, between the beginning and the end of the MOOC training. - The cross-disciplinary of this MOOC was made possible thanks to the diversity of the authors' fields of expertise (Figure1). It has led to the creation of a network around organic farming in higher education in France - The construction of an informed opinion on learners' organic farming was built thanks to the original structure of the MOOC: a more transmitted part (although punctuated by varied activities) and another part where knowledge is co-constructed by the participants (Figure 2). - This online training also includes meetings in France (between MOOC participants and organic farming actors) via surveys that participants carried out or via events organized by MOOC authors. - The dissemination of the knowledge developed in the MOOC has also reached a wider audience through events organised by the MOOC's designers: Interventions with high school students (¿Fête de la science¿ event), the resources produced have also been used in face-to-face training for future agricultural engineers in France. - International collaborations (with actors of agroecology in Senegal and with the CIRAD) enable us to propose resource...

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