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Robert W. McMahon, Richard K. Lindquist, and Harry A. Hoitink

Student involvement in two research projects at a 2-year agricultural college is described. The students assisted in the process of data collection, tabulation, and the preparation of publications. From participating in these research projects, the students earned academic credit and learned the concepts and processes of scientific methodology. Several student shills, including observation, making judgements, and cooperation among peers, were enhanced through hands-on experience. The research proved to be a very enjoyable learning experience for all of the participants.

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John E. Preece

Two nongraded techniques are described that assess student expectations and learning in horticulture classes. These involve anonymous, in-class student responses that can encourage and enhance interaction, communication, and learning without being a burden to the instructor. During the first class meeting, students were given 5 minutes to write their course objectives onto filing cards. By summarizing their objectives, reviewing them with the class at the beginning of the next period, and comparing their objectives with mine, I was able to react to student interests and needs in a constructive manner. About once per week at the end of a lecture, students were given 3 minutes to write the “muddiest point” of that lecture. This enabled me to clarify points orally, in writing, or by specific reading assignments. If the instructor responds in a timely manner, these assessment techniques will be taken seriously by the students. Such techniques can increase interest, understanding, and the perception that students can have a positive influence on the quality of their instruction.

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Lois Berg Stack

Master Gardener programs were conducted through 10 of Maine's 16 county offices in 1993. In an effort to reduce the number of identical presentations given by the limited number of instructors, 5 of the 10 sessions were conducted via interactive television (ITV), while the remaining 5 sessions were held locally. Participants (n=215) were surveyed about their learning experience in fall 1993. Data compare the local ITV audience vs. 7 distant audiences viewing sessions in real time vs. 2 audiences viewing taped sessions at a later date, on test scores of material presented, and on attitudes about the program. Data also summarize the types of projects on which Master Gardener volunteer hours were applied, and participants' attitudes about how volunteer programs could be made more effective.

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J. Benton Storey

The Trans Texas Video Conference Network (TTVN) has been linked to all Texas A&M Univ. campuses and most of the Regional Research and Extension Centers. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has funded an aggressive project of establishing TTVN class rooms in many departments across the College Station campus, including The Horticultural Science Dept. in 1997. The first two Hort courses taught were HORT 422 Citrus and Subtropical Fruits in Fall 1996 and HORT 418 Nut Culture in Spring 1997. This extended the class room 400 miles south to Weslaco, 300 miles north to Texarkana and Dallas, and 700 miles west to El Paso. Students at each site had video and audio interaction with the professor and with each other. Advantages included the availability of college credit courses to areas where this subject matter did not previously exist, which helps fulfill the Land-grant University Mission. Quality was maintained through lecture and lab outlines on Aggie Horticulture, the department's Web home page, term papers written to ASHS serial publicationspecifications, and rigorous examinations monitored by site facilitators. Lecture presentations were presented via Power Point, which took about twice as long to prepare than traditional overhead transparencies. Administrative problems remain, but will be solved when the requested Distance Education Registration Category is initiated so that subvention credit can be shared. The lecture portion of the graduate course, HORT 601 Nutrition of Horticultural Plants, will be taught in the fall semester 1997 at eight sites throughout the state.

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Adrienne Ploss, B. Rosie Lerner, and Michael N. Dana

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public entities to be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities, including public gardens. However, managers of such gardens are not likely to be familiar with the language of ADA or with what steps they must take to be in compliance. This study served to summarize the requirements of ADA as they pertain to a small public garden. In addition, the Purdue Univ. Horticulture Gardens (PUHG) were evaluated to determine the current level of compliance with ADA and to identify areas in need of attention. The result was an action plan, not only useful for PUHG, but one that can be adapted by other public gardens.

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Denise D. Sharp, David L. Clement, Raymond V. Bosmans, John Westrope, and Mary Kay Malinoski

In 1990, the Maryland CES Home and Garden Information Center initiated an 800 horticulture line manned 25 hours per week, offering taped messages 7 days a week, 24 hours per day. Of a total of 45,682 calls, 23,902 calls were answered by operators. To reduce operator hours, tapes on seasonal topics were grouped at the entrance level of the phone system. In 1991, gypsy moth and turf renovation were key topics demanding repetitive operator time. In 1991, 2,090 gypsy moth callers were assisted tapes, while 289 were assisted by operators. In 1991, 2178 turf renovation callers were assisted by tapes, while 256 were assisted by operators. Tape length and programming are critical to the success of this technique.

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Constance L. Falk, Pauline Pao, and Christopher S. Cramer*

In January 2002, an organic vegetable garden on the New Mexico State Univ. (NMSU) main campus was initiated to expose students to organic production practices and agricultural business management. The project named, OASIS (Organic Agriculture Students Inspiring Sustainability), is funded by a USDA Hispanic Serving Institution Grant and operated as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture. Students enroll in an organic vegetable production class during spring and fall semesters to help manage and work on the project. The CSA model of farming involves the sale of shares to members who receive weekly allotments of the farm's output. The objectives of the project are to provide students with a multi-disciplinary experiential educational opportunity, to investigate the feasibility of small scale organic drip irrigated farming in the Chihuahuan desert, to demonstrate the CSA model to the local community, to trial vegetable varieties, and to provide a site where faculty can conduct research or student laboratory exercises. This is the first organic vegetable garden on the NMSU main campus, the first organic vegetable production class, and the first CSA venture in southern New Mexico. The project has grown about 230 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the first two years of production, and has grossed at total of $32,000 in revenues from both years on 2/3 of an acre of land. In the first year, 32 members purchased 18.5 full share equivalents, and in 2003, 69 members purchased 39.5 full share equivalents.

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Carl Motsenbocker and Sandra Allain

An organic gardening class was developed to provide nonhorticulture students an opportunity to become acquainted with horticultural science and the basics of gardening organically. The course was developed as a 3-hour (1 hour lecture, 2 hours lab), two-credit course taught in the fall semester using an organic gardening textbook. A major component of the lab is the development and maintenance of a small individual garden plot during the semester. Students grow their own plant materials, plant, fertilize, and monitor pests, and harvest at the end of the semester. The organic gardening class was taught for 7 years and evolved into having a mandatory service-learning component that supports service projects in the local community. Projects included working with the local farmers' market, supporting school projects such as growing plants, school grounds beautification, gardening, or mulching, and gleaning product from research and garden plots for the local food bank. The poster will provide information on the class syllabus and materials, record of service projects, and reflections of the students during and at the end of the class.