Aquaponics course and Summer school

Opportunity to take an e-learning Aquaponics course for last year undergraduates or Masters students

Aquaponics, which integrates aquaculture and hydroponics to produce fish, vegetables and herbs, is considered to be part of the solution to providing healthy local food, and is particularly relevant in the design of sustainable cities. Many designers are now including aquaponics in their urban agriculture schemes.

AQU@TEACH is the first aquaponics course to be developed specifically for Higher Education students. Devised in collaboration between the University of Greenwich, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland), the Technical University of Madrid (Spain), the University of Ljubljana and the Biotechnical Centre Naklo (Slovenia), the course covers the basics of aquaponics with a focus on transferable and entrepreneurial skills. Five students from each of the participating institutions will be selected to study this exciting new course which combines e-learning with hands-on practical work, and which will culminate with an entrepreneurial skills Summer School in Slovenia in July 2019.

1          Timetable

1.1      AQU@TEACH Moodle curriculum

The online course involves 150 hours of student’s workload over 24 weeks, corresponding to an average of 6.25 hours per week. Students must start the course in the week beginning 4 February 2019 and will need to have completed the following modules by 31 March 2019:

  • Module 1 – Aquaponic technology – 8 hours
  • Module 2 – Fish feeding and growth – 10 hours
  • Module 3 – Nutrient water balance – 5 hours
  • Module 4 – Hydroponics – 13 hours
  • Module 5 – Monitoring of parameters – 8 hours
  • Module 6 – Scientific research methods – 10 hours

In April and May 2019 students will take part in a practical experiment which will be run concurrently at the University of Greenwich, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, the Technical University of Madrid, and Biotechnical Centre Naklo. The aim of the experiment is to investigate whether different types of aquaponic system produce different results. Using the same fish stocking density, the same plants and the same planting density, the students at each institution will together measure various parameters  such as water temperature, pH, oxygen, ammonia, nitrate, phosphate, potassium, fish weight, and plant biomass, and will publish a weekly update on their results on the AQU@TEACH website and project social media profiles. One student at each institution will take responsibility for investigating one (or more) parameter(s) in detail, and will use social media tools to discuss their results with the students in the other institutions responsible for the same parameter(s). During this period students will also need to complete the following Moodle modules:

  • Module 7 – Aquaculture – 12 hours
  • Module 8 – Fish anatomy, health and welfare – 8 hours
  • Module 9 – Plant varieties – 10 hours
  • Module 10 – Integrated pest management – 8 hours
  • Module 11 – Food safety – 12 hours

The following modules can be completed any time between 4 February and 30 June 2019:

  • Module 12 – Design and build – 16 hours
  • Module 13 – Urban agriculture – 10 hours
  • Module 14 – Vertical aquaponics – 8 hours
  • Module 15 – Social aspects of aquaponics – 12 hours

1.2      The Entrepreneurial Skills Summer School

The Summer School will be held at Biotechnical Centre Naklo in Slovenia from 7 to 13 July 2019. The entrepreneurial skills curriculum will involve 60 hours of student’s workload, made up of 40 contact hours with trainers and aquaponics entrepreneurs from the UK, Switzerland, Spain and Slovenia during the Summer School, and 20 hours for the assessment after the Summer School (see 3.2). Topics taught during the Summer School will include startup methodologies, Business Model Canvas, funding pitches, capital and financing.

              Each student will be awarded a grant of 550 EUR as a contribution to their travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. Accommodation and subsistence costs are estimated to cost around 60 EUR/day.

2          Prerequisites

There are no knowledge prerequisites, though students without any previous scientific knowledge will find that they may need to do some extracurricular background reading. Students wishing to participate in the course must be able to demonstrate clear motivation and a commitment to undertake the additional workload in addition to their compulsory MLA assignments.

3          Assessment

3.1      AQU@TEACH Moodle course

70% of the marks will be awarded on the basis of the module quizzes, and 30% on the basis of a Mahara e-portfolio. The e-portfolio should show active engagement with the teaching/learning tools in the Moodle course, and should also include a research report documenting the methodology and results of the experiment. The deadline for submission of the e-portfolio is 30 June 2019.

3.2      Entrepreneurial Skills Summer School

              After completion of the entrepreneurial skills Summer School, students will create a business and marketing plan. The deadline for submission of the entrepreneurial skills assignment is 31 July 2019.


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El pasado 8 de noviembre se celebró la reunión inicial del proyecto Aquateach, con miembros desde cuatro países, incluido España, Suiza, Reino Unido y Eslovenia. Cada participante presentó sus respectivas instituciones y hubo tiempo para trabajar sobre los diferentes objetivos del proyecto, más una visita a la piscifactoría de la Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid).