Agricultural Management e-School

Iowa State
University

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the Agricultural Management Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. If your questions about our courses are not answered on this page, please use the question box on our registration pages.

Can I start a course at any time?
Yes. We recommend that you be realistic about the time you can allot to the course and register at a time of the year that allows you time to complete the course or courses you are interested in.

How long does it take to complete a course?
The Agricultural Management e-School courses are designed to take about 10 hours of study to complete. If you want to study intensely, a course can be completed in a week's time. We allow students to have access to their courses for 90 days.

What do you mean by a 90 day term?
Our first course, Advanced Grain Marketing, was offered during the January - March time period that best fit Iowa farmer's professional development schedule. As we diversified the student base to farmers outside of Iowa, landowners across the country, and professionals serving agriculture, we went to a year around offering of courses. We stayed with the 90 day term to provide a limitiation on time to access the course to allow sufficient time for completion.

What is Iowa FSA Certification?
The Financial Decision Making course is meets the mandatory borrower education requirements of the Iowa Farm Service Agency. An instruction sheet covers the additional work required in the course to earn the certification.

How are the courses structured?
Each course is divided into a series of instructional modules. The number of modules per course ranges from 5 to 12. The following instructional elements were proposed for each module. Not all the modules developed so far contain all of these elements, but this is the pattern we strive toward.

  • Title
  • Authors and reviewers
  • Overview and outline
  • Content
  • Summary of key points
  • Review questions and answers
  • Exercises and case studies
  • Completed examples
  • Related software
  • References for further study
  • Related websites and links
  • Glossary of key terms
  • Chat sessions and threaded discussions with course developers

Are the courses available to out-of-state students?
For some of our courses, over half of the students are out-of-state. You do not need to be an Iowan to take one of our courses. We have had students from over 70 Iowa counties and 16 other states take courses in the Agricultural Management e-School.

Is the course reading all done online or are there course materials provided?
Course materials can be read online or printed out and read offline.

Are college credit hours available?
Ames is designed for students seeking practical skill building opportunities in specific sets of tasks.

Students who wish to earn college credit can enroll in courses in the Master of Agriculture program offered by the ISU College of Agriculture. Fees for courses leading to a Masters of Agriculture degree have a $280/credit hour rate, a $40/semester computer fee, and delivery fees. The rate for AMES courses is $100.

To see what credit courses are currently available from ISU, go to the Life Learner page

What software is necessary?
The only software that is necessary is the browser software you are using to view this page. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free software package that is used in the course to deliver materials for the student to print out. Adobe Acrobat is the same software necessary to view any ISU Extension publication available in pdf format. Microsoft Excel is not required. It is a useful piece of software to access the spreadsheet decision tools used in Agricultural Management e-School courses. Microsoft Excel can be obtained from many resellers.

I'm wondering what benefits these courses would have for me, where I am not a producer, but an ag production specialist with a local cooperative.
If you would like a better understanding of the course content to allow you to better serve your customers, the courses would be appropriate. The AGM, Advanced Grain Marketing, course isn't going to put you on par with an experienced merchandiser, but it will help you to understand his lingo and better communicate with farmers regarding marketing issues. Likewise, the Farm Leasing Arrangements course can help you to interact in leasing discussions, Farmland Ownership in land purchase discussions, and Financial Decision Making in credit discussions.

Try the course that best suits you at the time and place that best suits you. If it isn't worth the money, let me know. You can have your money back if you are not satisfied.

Who supports AMES?
The Iowa State University Extension staff with primary responsibility are William Edwards, Tim Eggers, Ann Holste, and Julie O'Hara. The instructional support for AMES courses is provided by Iowa State University Extension field and campus agricultural economists.

Left to right: Tim Eggers, Julie O'Hara, Ann Holste, and William Edwards

Additional questions or comments on how to improve the AMES courses are welcome at any time.