Developing a Cyberserve Course

in HortScience
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  • 1 1Dept. of Horticulture, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA 24061
  • 2 2Service Learning Program, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA 24061

Through a CyberServe Grant, a WWW Home Page and student/community listserve were established as core communication tools for a special study taught Spring 1997, Hort 4984, Horticulture and the Community: Professional Growth through Volunteering. It incorporated the Blacksburg Electronic Village to easily put student volunteers and the community programs they worked with in direct contact with each other, allowing an exchange of ideas that made them equal partners in their endeavors. It provided direct access to valuable information to understand the principles and philosophy behind programming efforts for both students and community sites where they volunteered. It also was a recruiting tool to involve other students and the Horticulture Club in service-learning projects because students in the class could post “help” notices to entice classmates to participate in defined projects. It provided students with knowledge and experience in the role of the Internet in enhancing the quality of life in their communities. Information installed on the site included reading materials on Horticultural Therapy, children's gardening, community gardening, science education through gardening, and volunteering in these areas; community site descriptions and slides, program activities, goals of program participants, and materials from the program (i.e., selected first-grade drawings of their garden); students participating in the class and information about them; goals, objectives, and management information on the course; and links to relevant information from around the world to put the activities of the students in an international framework.

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