This document will help you understand what is expected from you with each unit and gives instructions for submission of course assignments.

Course Overview

This online course provides an opportunity for you to build your knowledge about permaculture and ecological design. Permaculture gardens, farms, backyards, and other systems balance the provision of human needs with improvement of local ecosystem health. Participants will explore the content through videos, readings, and activities and complete portions of design for a site of their choosing. 

Course Format

Each week there will be lessons and corresponding assignments which will be submitted via the Moodle interface or through email to the course instructor Michael Burns <>.

We anticipate you will need to dedicate 10 to 15 hours per week to the lessons and assignments in this course. Each step builds upon the next. Keeping up with the exercises and writing each week will ensure your successful completion without creating an onerous backlog of work while maximizing the learning potential.

However, it is understood that not every working person's life is easily scheduled across one week. If you know you will not make a deadline, please send a quick note to Michael Burns to check in and give an estimate of when you will finish. The class ends on February 20 and access to Moodle class materials closes around March 13th. 

You'll also find optional assignments and additional resources to view for some of the lessons at the bottom of the topics menu.

Please take the time to read through each of the introductory pieces you'll see on Moodle for this week. Students who take the time to learn Moodle's features during this first week seem to enjoy the course more.

What you can expect from each unit

There are 6 units in this course, plus an introductory unit. Each unit is designed to last one week, requiring 10 to 15 hours of effort per week.

In each unit, you'll find a number of different documents. The documents are arranged in the order in which you should review them.

  • The first documents in each are the Presentations for the week. The presentation(s) introduce content, new terms and techniques. Please review each presentation carefully before attempting the activities for that week. Post your question or email the instructor if some concept or explanation is not clear to you.
  • Presentations are followed by Readings. Readings aim to clarify the concepts and provide some illustrations to aid your understanding of the material.
  • Activities will provide opportunities for further exploration and application of content. Please review all presentations and readings before attempting the activities. Post your question or email the instructor if instructions for activities are unclear or you are having trouble submitting assignments. Please complete and submit to the course instructor the required assignments before the stated deadline which will typically be 11:55 pm each Thursday.
  • After the activities some weeks, you'll find a Reflective Writing assignment meant for you to pause and reflect on some aspect of your learning.
  • Lastly, each unit has a Student Forum . This provides an opportunity for you to interact with fellow students; one thoughtful posting per week is required. Conversing with students at the same stage can offer new insight as you learn. Once you open the forum, you'll have the opportunity to either Reply to a fellow student's comments by clicking on the title of their discussion and then hitting "Reply" at the bottom left of their comment, or you can begin an entirely new discussion by selecting the box 'Add a new discussion topic'. The forums can become a significant source of ideas and inspiration hen you and other class participants actively engage with each other in the forums.

Simple instructions for submitting your assignments

You will submit your assignments and to some degree, this will be a product of the kind of hardware you have available to you. You may use either a scanner or a digital camera; a scanner is preferable since it will preserve the original format of your work much better than a camera will. We do understand that size can be an issue with a scanner, so if you have a piece of work larger than your scanner, you may take a digital photo of it and indicate the scale to the instructor via an email. Newer mobile devices do have excellent cameras and there are apps for improved document scanning. 

The instructions for scanning documents vary depending on the type of scanner you're using, but some generic instructions are given below:

  1. Make sure your scanner is turned on and is properly installed into your computer using the software that came with it.
  2. Find and open the scanning program on your computer .
  3. Load your piece of work face down on the scanner bed so that it is aligned with the arrows corresponding to a document of its size.
  4. After closing the scanner door, you will scan your document. You may see an icon that you can click to scan simply, or you may have to select File>Import>Twain (or whatever the name of your scanner is) if you are using Adobe Photoshop.
  5. If you have an option such as Scan To, you want to select an image file. Please scan all images as either .jpg, .pdf or .tiff files so that the instructor will be able to open them. You'll also want to use the Save As option to give your file a name. Please name the file with your initials, followed by the Unit number, followed by the number of the exercise. For example, if Jane Doe were submitting Exercise 2 from Unit 4, she would save the image file as jd_4_2.jpg or jd_4_2.tiff. Please save your own copy of each, in a folder labeled with this course on your computer, as well as sending a copy via the Upload function of Moodle under that exercise to the instructor.


- You may want to scan your images as grayscale rather than color or black and white, since gray-scale is better at picking up mid-tones from your pencil, and the other two options might overlook some of your important pencil marks in a search for bolder lines or color.

- You may also want to resize your document so it takes less time to upload. Ideally, it is best if the instructor doesn't have to scroll through your document to see the whole thing at once. Try to save it in dimensions that can be printed on a single side of standard 8.5 x 11 computer paper so the instructor can view it on a page.

Last modified: Monday, December 16, 2019, 11:38 AM