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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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Roger A. Hinson, Carl E. Motsenbocker, and John V. Westra

This is a horticulture case study of the export market for melons (Cucumis melo) from Central America to the United States. Melons have provided growers an excellent production and marketing opportunity since the early 1980s. “Off-season” shipments have changed from a consumer novelty to a commodity. The case documents how this producer entered the industry and became a dominant firm using a cost leadership strategy that included adopting advanced production technology and generating large sales volume to take advantage of its opportunity. As the product moved through the cycle from new product to mature market, there were changes in behavior by competing firms, a slowdown in growth of the markets, and reduced profits. Other management practices such as creating profit centers, using employee incentives at all levels, and outsourcing transportation and brokerage services were used to supplement the cost leader strategy. The development of the market and of the firm is documented, providing the basis for discussion of management and marketing issues in courses at the university level in horticulture and agribusiness.

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Gregory E. Welbaum

A distance learning homepage at: was created to teach an introductory college-level course on vegetable crops to students at Virginia Tech. The course was created to serve students in the horticulture program at Virginia Beach, Va., students in the Commonwealth who cannot take classes on the Blacksburg campus, and students on the Blacksburg campus who could not schedule the classroom-based course. The course is not selfpaced, but directs students through 44 lessons on various topics including detailed descriptions of 28 different vegetables. The site is primarily in HTML format with archived student projects and old exams in PDF format. Audio clips are used to emphasis key information and to add a personal touch. There are >550 pictures and descriptions of vegetables and vegetable crop production linked to the website. Students can be examined using a computer testing system call Whizquiz that grades and corrects each exam. “Web Forum” software enables online discussion among students and the instructor. Discussion sessions have been successfully conducted between students and guests at distant locations. Links are provided to over 25 other websites with information on vegetable crops. The project was funded by a USDA/CSREES Higher Education Challenge Grant.

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Douglas C Needham

172 WORKSHOP 28 Multimedia Computer Applications for Horticulture Teaching and Extension

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Mark Rieger

At the University of Georgia, HORT 3020 (Introduction to Fruit Crops) is a two-credit survey of the botanical characteristics, taxonomy, and production practices of the world's major fruit crops. It is offered via traditional classroom instruction, and as a distance education (DE) course through the University System of Georgia Independent Study program. The DE version of the course is designed to be identical in content, final exam, and grading scale. However, due to the nature of independent study, the end-of-topic evaluations are open-book, written assignments in the DE course, whereas students in the classroom version have closed-book quizzes at the end of each topic. Student performance in the two versions of the course was compared over a 3-year period (May 1998 to May 2001) by analyzing scores on end-of-topic evaluations, final exams, and overall course grades. Students in the DE version had higher scores on end-of-topic evaluations in all 3 years, higher scores on a comprehensive final exam in 2 of 3 years, and consequently higher overall course grades than classroom students in all 3 years. Better performance of DE over classroom students may have been related to 1) qualitative differences in end-of-topic evaluations (written assignments versus quizzes), 2) differences in student demographics (nontraditional students in DE, traditional undergraduates in classroom), 3) the elective (DE) versus required (classroom) nature of the courses, or 4) differences in course duration (1 year for DE, 15 weeks for classroom). Equal or better performance of DE students suggests that survey courses such as Introduction to Fruit Crops can be offered via distance education without compromising learning outcomes.

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John E. Preece and Carl A. Huetteman

This exercise was developed for a plant propagation course to demonstrate, in a short time, the four stages of micropropagation, the effects of cytokinin concentrations, and the differences between adventitious and axillary shoots. Greenhouse-grown stock plants were brought into the laboratory, and 4- to 5-cm-long tips of runners were surface-dis-infested for 15 min in 0.5% NaClO with 1 ml of Tween 20/liter, followed by two 5-min rinses in sterile water. Working in the open laboratory near the bases of pairs of lit Bunsen burners, students placed either single-node or shoot tip explants (2 cm long, five replications) onto MS medium with 0, 1, or 10 μM BA. Cultures were in-cubated in parafilm-sealed culture tubes on open laboratory benches. Axillary shoots grew regardless of concentration of BA, and explants on medium with 10 μM BA produced the most callus and adventitious shoots. Microshoots were rooted and ac-climatized under mist in the greenhouse. This exercise can be performed in an open laboratory without the use of laminar flow hoods, specialized sterilizing equipment, or supplemental lighting.

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Mark P. Bridgen, Masood Z. Hadi, and Madeleine Spencer-Barreto

A laboratory exercise on direct and indirect organogenesis from leaf explants is presented for students of plant tissue culture or plant propagation. Torenia fournieri, the wishbone flower, is used for this laboratory exercise because the in vitro production of adventitious shoots from Torenia is easy to control, seeds are easy to obtain, and plants are easy to grow. Direct shoot organogenesis results from leaf explants without an intervening callus phase, and indirect shoot organogenesis is possible after 4 to 6 weeks of callus production from leaf explants. The basal medium for all forms of organogenesis contains Murashige and Skoog (MS) salts and vitamins, 30 g sucrose/liter, and 7 g agar/liter at pH 5.7. To obtain direct shoot organogenesis, leaf explants should be placed on the MS basal medium with 1.1 μM (0.25 mg·liter-1) 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) and 0.25 μM (0.05 mg·liter-1) indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). If leaf explants are placed on MS medium with 2.3 μM (0.5 mg·liter-1) 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), callus formation will occur. Callus can be subcultured onto a MS medium with 8.88 μM BAP (2.0 mg·liter-1) plus 2.5 μM IBA (0.5 mg·liter-1) for indirect shoot organogenesis to occur.

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Albert (Bud) H. Markhart III

Oral Session 29—Teaching Methods Moderator: Marihelen Kamp-Glass 21 July 2005, 8:00–9:45 a.m. Room 107

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Martin R. McGann and Robert D. Berghage

The Pennsylvania State University Medieval Garden (PSMG) showcases varieties of medieval plants used as ornamentals, food crops, medicinal ingredients, and for household purposes in a stylized setting representing a medieval garden. Since its installation, various colleges within the university as well as community groups have used the garden as an alternative classroom for learning activities, educational demonstrations, and events related to the medieval period. This article focuses on the initial development of the garden design and how the installation and continued use as a classroom has contributed to meeting educational goals for students in the landscape contracting program at the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Governor's School for Agricultural Sciences.

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Curt R. Rom

To enhance the opportunities for students to access information and the instructors of a large, general plant science class, “Virtual Classroom” concepts using computers resources were implemented. The Virtual Classroom uses three computer resources: 1) a closed subscription LISTSERV for the extramural class discussions, 2) electronic mail for homework assignment and submission, and 3) a World Wide Web Internet homepage for the course. In a large, introductory-level class, student–teacher interaction can be limited. The size of the class and the content may inhibit questioning and discussion among the class participants. The LISTSERV allowed for questions to be posed by students at their leisure and facilitated discussion among students and the instructor outside of the confines of the class meeting. The LISTSERV also allowed instructors to to respond to the students by referring questions to “experts” on a particular subject. Using e-mail for homework assignment and submission was useful for tracking when student read assignments and submitted completed assignments. Electronic assignment grading and returning was paperless and easy for instructors to maintain. The homepage provided students with a permanent syllabus, lecture outlines, homework assignment descriptions, and study aids. Additionally, from the homepage students were able to send e-mail to instructors and search library databases and other electronic databases. Experiences from the instructors using these computer resources will be presented and discussed.