A Generous 28-week Pace
750+ Instructional Lessons
Blackboard-style instructional presentations, rich animations, detailed PDFs, Knowledge Checks, Learning Objectives, Activities, Brief Overviews, and Key Takeaways: A set of these will be released weekly, as per the curriculum schedule. Study them, ask questions 24/7, then prepare for the weekly video question & answer session.
Weekly Q&A with Geoff
After watching the core video lessons (blackboard and supplemental animations), you’ll have a chance to ask Geoff follow-up questions; all sessions will be recorded and made available to you in your student portal. For your benefit, we've included recordings from the previous course, featuring several hundred Q&A.
Daily Help from
You’re never alone: A team of fantastic teaching assistants (TAs) facilitate lively discussion, offer insights, and provide timely, helpful answers to your questions. Each of our TAs have been rigorously vetted and are passionate about permaculture.
Official Permaculture Design Certificate
Upon completing the course and the final project, you’ll receive the official PDC certificate -- the same certificate that Bill bestowed on Geoff more than 30 years ago, and that Geoff has presented to over 15,000 qualified students in the decades since.
A First for Permaculture: Digital Accreditation
We are honored to be the first permaculture institute anywhere in the world to issue digital certificates that are cryptographically secured by blockchain. 1-click social media sharing (LinkedIn, Facebook + dozens more) is built in, as is "anytime printing" in ultra-high resolution.
We often hear the phrase, “show, don’t tell,” and our digital, cloud-based portfolio feature helps you do just that. On your PDC certificate website is an area to showcase your course projects: photos of your garden or farm, your course design sketches, or related videos that you’ve shot. This is another “first” in online permaculture instruction, one that we are encouraging other instructors to adopt.
24/7 Community Town Hall
A sleek, modern discussion area powered by industry-leader Disqus far exceeds outdated commenting tools; a clean and easy-to-use platform fosters meaningful interactions with course teaching assistants, Geoff, and your peers (professionals, aid workers, NGO staff, etc.). In our last course, this platform facilitated over 6000 pages (!!!) of comments, so we know it works :)
Private Facebook Group
A dedicated members-only Facebook Group gives our student community an additional forum for vibrant interactions. While the Disqus area focuses on questions and comments around course material, the FB group widens the net to a more expansive set of topics. The diversity and talent of our student body will fuel friendships and working relationships that last well beyond the course.
Student-Centered Instructional Design
We believe that learning involves not just a presentation of information, but a transfer of knowledge, perspective, and skills. To facilitate this, we go quantum leaps beyond just having you watch videos. Our instructional design team have added Knowledge Checks, Learning Objectives, Activities, Brief Overviews, and Key Takeaways throughout the course.
Interactive Permaculture Activities
Our instructional design team has created 42 interactive and action-oriented mini-activities that will help you put the concepts and information you’re learning to use right away. By the time you get to the Final Design Exercise (FDE), you’ll have built — bit by bit, piece by piece — the knowledge and skill-set to tackle the FDE with total confidence.
Video Projects That Build Community
Question: What’s better than just doing projects? Answer: Sharing them with your classmates! We’ve partnered with one of the most innovative video platforms online to help you share with your peers how you’re using activities to connect concepts to real-world scenarios — all in just a couple of clicks using your laptop or phone camera.
The digital PDC certificates are a “first” in the permaculture community, but why stop there? We’ve taken this one step further by creating a comprehensive directory of everyone who has earned their PDC 2.0 certificate from Geoff. NGOs, people looking for permaculture consultants, prospective employers — anyone wanting to quickly find qualified PDC graduates of his online course can now do so in a single place by viewing our Credential Directory.
Why wait for prospective employers to find you when in addition to this you can find them? Our credentialing partners have connected with almost 65,000 database sources to match PDC graduates with relevant employment and consulting opportunities. Though the project is still in beta and currently limited to the US market, it is already being updated monthly. All graduates of our program are invited to view these opportunities at their convenience.
The Final Design Exercise (FDE) required in most PDC classes unites all the knowledge and insights learned during the course. But it is rigorous, intensive, and demanding. To help with this, we re-imagined the process from the ground-up to help innovate the “FDE Flow” — an approach and platform that nudges you toward a completed project, step-by-step. And for inspiration, we’ve added exemplar samples from previous PDC graduates.
Attentive Student Support
Chat and email support from our dedicated Student Care team is just a click away, and an always-accessible Knowledge Base provides instant answers for commonly-asked admin and technical questions.
During the course, 5 weeks will be set aside for catching-up and reviewing course material. These breaks will be spaced out. During these weeks, Geoff will continue doing video Q&As, and TAs will be on hand to answer questions.
After the 28 course weeks are over, you will have continued access through December 31st, 2019 to all the videos, recorded Q&As, animations, and PDFs. Watch, listen, and read as many times as you’d like.
"In the early 1970s, it dawned on me that no one had ever applied design to agriculture. When I realized it, the hairs went up on the back of my neck. It was so strange. We’d had agriculture for 7,000 years, and we’d been losing for 7,000 years — everything was turning into desert. So I wondered, can we build systems that obey ecological principles?"
The Final Design Exercise (FDE) is a staple of PDC courses throughout the world, serving as a capstone project that unites everything learned during the course. However, after teaching for 30+ years, Geoff noticed that the standard approach to the FDE left a number of students confused, frustrated, and even intimidated. The form of the FDE was clashing with its substance.
The FDE Flow is our answer to this: a breakthrough approach that takes students by the hand and teaches how to think like a permaculturist, while detailing a step-by-step framework to capture and give expression to this thinking. Remarkably simple yet flexible, recent graduates have raved that the FDE Flow will be part of their permaculture toolkit for years to come.
We are honored to be the first permaculture institute anywhere in the world to issue digital certificates that are cryptographically secured via blockchain, making them instantly verifiable by prospective employers, universities, and other academic institutes. 1-click sharing (LinkedIn, Facebook + dozens more) is built in, as is "anytime access" to a hard-copy version. An extensive list of skills learned, a comprehensive community directory, and a “digital portfolio” that enables you to add photos, design sketches, and documents to your PDC hub page advance things a quantum leap forward from a paper-only certificate.
I’ve detailed some of the main course elements above: over 750 pieces of instructional materials, weekly questions & answer sessions with me (recorded and made available for everyone), a 24/7 digital community town hall, daily access to the teaching assistants, special animations and illustrations to help convey some of the more difficult principles, and ultimately, the PDC certificate itself.
You can enroll anytime from February, 2019 through April 30th, 2019. The structure of this course is a bit unique and is what allows this flexible enrollment window: We’ve taken the best elements of a self-paced course and merged those with the most advantageous elements of a schedule-based course.
Here’s what this practically means: Like a self-paced course, you can enroll and then start anytime of your choosing as long as you do so within the first 3 months of the enrollment period. You can then work as quickly as you’d like to complete the course materials by the end of August 2019, and then the Final Design Exercise by the last day of the course access (January 31st, 2020).
At the same time, we’ve put together a suggested schedule that you may choose to follow in order to feel that you are moving along at (roughly) the same pace as hundreds of others in the class. Some weeks you may choose to slow down, others to speed up. No matter how fast or slow you go, you will always find other classmates that are working on the same materials that you are.
You can in principle complete all the course materials in 10-12 weeks; the fact that we’ve actually spread out the publication of the materials across 28 weeks, means that you can start the class well into the 2nd and even 3rd month AFTER enrollment opens and still do just fine. OR you can start at the beginning and take a moderate pace throughout the class. As long as you enroll before April 30th, 2019, the course is flexible enough to accommodate your unique needs.
If you have any additional questions about this, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to provide additional guidance about your specific circumstances.
Once the course formally begins, we will release approximately 12-18 content modules every Friday. These instructional modules make up the heart of the course. We suggest that you use the subsequent 3-4 days to view the modules and post any questions you have under the relevant video. Our certified teaching assistants will monitor questions and answer these on a daily basis. Any questions that are particularly difficult, have wide appeal, or are especially interesting, Geoff will handle directly. He will note these questions, answer them all, record the Q&A and put these in your student dashboard. This cycle of spending half the week watching videos and asking questions, and the second half viewing the answers and posting any follow-up, will repeat for the duration of the course, i.e. 28 weeks. The upshot is that you will have support on both a daily basis (via the teaching assistants, Geoff, and the private Facebook community of your peers), as well as a weekly basis (via the video-based Q&A with Geoff, directly).
The online PDC is completely self-paced. In terms of estimated weekly commitment: to watch the videos twice through, listening to the Q&A, and interacting with members of the online community can all be done in anywhere from 2.5 to 6 hours per week, depending on how engaged you choose to be. So far, the overwhelming majority of our student community (software developers, professors, farmers, architects, students, retirees, and more) has been able to keep pace with the PDC while balancing their professional, family and travel commitments. The 28-week window, the 5 weeks of rest and catch-up, along with full-year access, provides more than enough flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of schedules and needs.
The face-to-face PDC is a full-time intensive that is taught over two weeks. Some who have taught an online PDC have tried to do it in as little as 8-12 weeks, but invariably students ask for more time. Based on Geoff’s 30+ years of experience, and having done it both online and offline, we’ve decided to pace the course at 28 weeks. We believe that anything much shorter than this is simply too fast for most people. Moving at this pace allows the material to really sink in and lays a solid foundation for all future permaculture work. The material is voluminous, dense, and takes time to absorb; for this reason, we’re confident that the ideal learning sweet-spot is 28 weeks, with 5 one-week rest/catch-up periods peppered throughout.
After the 28 weeks of the course come to an end, we will grant you continued access to all the course materials, videos, PDFs, animations, and other instructional materials through January 31st, 2020. This gives you about a year’s worth of access to all the course materials. If additional time is needed, just let us know and we’ll do all we can to help.
Yes: Your heart, attention, and any internet-enabled device (computer, iPad, phone, etc.) Chrome and Safari work splendidly well, as does Firefox once you clear your cache and update your browser and plug-ins. No farm, land, bulldozer, shovels or anything else of the sort needed :) If all you have is a windowsill, a little passion, and some imagination, you’re ready to get started.
That’s really up to you :) If all of this sounds like a good fit, scroll to one of the enrollment buttons and click away. If on the other hand you just want to ask a couple of questions before jumping in, please click on the little red circle on the bottom right of your screen and we'll do our best to answer your question(s).