The Floratech Dilemma: A Case Study for Potted Plant Production Specialists

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.

This paper presents a case study for use as an active learning tool with students in a floriculture potted plant production class. Students work together in small groups (three to four) to pose answers to a dilemma. With this case study, students quickly learn the names of their colleagues and work together outside-of-class to solve the assignment. Each student role-plays being hired on as a new potted plant production specialist. A memorandum from the Board of Directors is delivered on their first day of work at Floratech, a company specializing in potted plants. Floratech is a finisher company, purchasing plugs (vegetative or seed-propagated crops) from plug producers and rooting stations, and selling their final products to both wholesale and retail markets. Objectives of this case study are to determine 1) the students' fluency in terminology for potted plant production, 2) ideal production time/labor inputs for the Floratech potted crops, and 3) limiting factor(s) preventing each crop from reaching this goal. As the students progress through the course material, they refer to the memorandum for clarification of unknown terms. Unresolved questions are raised during the semester (in the classroom and during laboratory tours) to other players interacting in the memorandum, i.e., Floratech staff (growers, sales people, management), its suppliers (rooting stations, plug producers, distributors, breeders, producers, operations, quality control), and customers (wholesale, retail). This case study was tested with undergraduate students enrolled in HORT 4051, Floriculture Production and Management I (Potted Plants) at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, during Fall Semester 1999.

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