414 Biotechnology in Agriculture: A Multimedia Approach to Problem-based Learning and Distance Learning

in HortScience
Authors:
S.L. Kitto1Plant & Soil Sciences, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303; 2Animal & Food Science;3 Food & Resource Economics;4 Information Technologies; and5 Institutional Research & Planning, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303

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L. Griffiths1Plant & Soil Sciences, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303; 2Animal & Food Science;3 Food & Resource Economics;4 Information Technologies; and5 Institutional Research & Planning, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303

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J. Pesek1Plant & Soil Sciences, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303; 2Animal & Food Science;3 Food & Resource Economics;4 Information Technologies; and5 Institutional Research & Planning, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303

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E. Mackenzie1Plant & Soil Sciences, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303; 2Animal & Food Science;3 Food & Resource Economics;4 Information Technologies; and5 Institutional Research & Planning, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303

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K. Bauer1Plant & Soil Sciences, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303; 2Animal & Food Science;3 Food & Resource Economics;4 Information Technologies; and5 Institutional Research & Planning, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303

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In 1997, we added distance students to a traditional, classroom-taught biotechnology course. To reach distance students, we used a multimedia approach: lectures via videotapes and problem-based learning exercises (PBL) via the Internet. About a third of the course was taught using PBL. The major challenge of the course was to teach the PBL segments to distance and traditional students working in groups. We explored ways to use multimedia technology that would allow distance students to participate in the PBL segments of the course. To assess the effectiveness of the methods used in this project, we compared the distance students with traditional students using measures of perceived and actual knowledge of biotechnology. The student–student interactive PBL segments were challenging because the traditional students were working in “real time” and the distance students were working in “distance time.” Distance students did as well as in the course as traditional students; however, management of groups composed of distance and traditional students was challenging. PBL could probably be used more effectively and successfully with student groups composed solely of distance students.

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