In 1989, online education wasn't a household word, the internet was two years from being released, and the Apple Macintosh had less memory than ten photos on a smartphone.
That year, Harold Crawford, now an emeritus agricultural education and studies professor, and others planned innovative ways to provide Iowa State University classes to those off campus. Crawford even filled a motorhome with computers to bring the classroom to Iowans as he traveled throughout the state.
Six years later, t
he College of Agriculture and Life Sciences sought a new center focused on distance education. The Brenton family provided the initial gift to honor W. Harold and Etta Brenton, both 1920 graduates. The Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology Transfer opened its doors in 1995 in Curtiss Hall.
The Brenton Center lives up to Iowa State's mission of sharing knowledge well beyond campus.
Today, students from 329 Iowa communities, 48 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and 19 countries have registered for agriculture and life sciences classes online.
The center's quality online educational programs fit the real-time needs of many students, including nontraditional students who have full-time jobs and those who are geographically isolated
. The option of learning online also gives students control over their learning e
For Nick Hoffman from Sioux City, Iowa the opportunity to take online classes lead to a better job. He graduated in the fall of 2015 and received a masters degree in plant breeding.
"This has been a tremendous success for me to be able to effectively learn online," Hoffman said.
The Brenton Center offers master's degrees in agronomy, community development, agricultural education, plant breeding, and seed technology and business. Students can also earn graduate certificates in food safety and defense, occupational safety, and swine science.