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J. Benton Storey

Education

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Kenneth W. Mudge and Kelly Hennigan

The role of cooperative extension in providing information to amateur and professional horticulturists is being profoundly altered by the availability of vast amounts of horticultural resources on the World Wide Web and other electronic media. Advances in computer-related instructional technologies including the Internet, have coincided with, and to some extent triggered, a burgeoning demand for non-traditional continuing education in practically all fields of knowledge, including landscape horticulture. Although there are numerous Web sites offering a wide range of gardening and related information, there are relatively few opportunities for structured learning in the form of on-line distance learning courses or instructional modules. In Fall 1999, we conducted a survey of the membership of the New York State Nursery/Landscape Association to determine priority-training needs that might be met by computer-mediated distance learning. One-hundred-seven companies, representing horticulture-based businesses throughout New York State, completed the surveys. Results from the survey indicated that 83% of those responding were interested in taking one or more computer-based distance learning course(s), that 67% were willing to provide financial support for continuing education of their employees, and that 95% have access to a personal computer. We have also collected data indicating subject matter preferences, interest in full-course and short-course offerings, levels of computer and Internet experience, and more. It is apparent from the findings in this study that the cooperative extension has a great opportunity to use the World Wide Web as a component of its role as an information provider. This research will contribute to designing effective approaches for teaching hands-on horticultural skills at a distance, thereby expanding the cooperative extension's ability to reach its intended audiences.

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J.L. Green

HortBase, a global electronic information system to support horticultural decisions in classroom, distance education, lifelong learning, and Extension, incorporates three innovative concepts: 1) Three-dimensional team creation of individual electronic information files (subject, communications, and information science authors collaborating from start to finish to create the file). Team-creation respects, utilizes, and develops professional strengths and resources of each team member. 2) Nationwide, or even worldwide, distribution of the workload and costs of creation, review, revision, and distribution of the individual electronic information files rather than redundant individual efforts and expenditures, enables us to do more as a group and to specialize individually. 3) National peer review by each file creator's professional society (ASHS, ACE, and ASIS respectively) enhances information quality, continued professional development of the authors, and wider acceptance and use of the information. Capabilities of electronic information systems facilitate, indeed require, this new approach to information development and delivery. For additional information, http://forages.css.orst.edu/HortBase/.

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C.B. McKenney, D.L. Auld, M.J. Cepica, and J.B. Storey

100 ORAL SESSION 20 Abstr. 565–571) Cross-commodity: Undergraduate Education/Master Gardeners Tuesday, 25 July, 2:00–4:00 p.m

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J. L. Green, J. Matylonek, A. Duncan, and E. Liss

HortBase, a global electronic information system for classroom, distance education, lifelong learning and Extension, incorporates three innovative concepts: 1) Three-dimensional team-creation of the electronic information files (subject, communications, and information science authors working together from start to finish to create the file). Team-creation respects, uses, and develops the professional strengths of each of the three team members. 2) National peer review by each file creator's professional society (ASHS, ACE, and ASIS, respectively) not only enhances information quality and continued professional development of the authors, but also creates wider acceptance and use of the information. 3) Nationwide, or even worldwide, distribution of the workload and costs of creation, review, revision, and distribution of the electronic information, rather than individual efforts-expenditures within each state, will minimize redundancy and will enable us to do more as a group and to specialize individually. Capabilities of electronic information systems facilitate, indeed require, this new approach to information development and delivery.

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Karen Stoelzle Midden, Paul Henry, and Amy Boren

Online courses are easily accessible and have the potential to attract and recruit a diversity of students. The instructors [also the principal investigators (PIs)] of an online certificate program in landscape horticulture have completed the first of a 3-year project in an effort to provide landscape horticulture courses, including an option for a certificate, to traditional and nontraditional students. The certification, consisting of 20 credit hours, will be the first of its type in Illinois offered by an institution of higher education. The program is aimed toward traditional college students who may need additional college credit, and nontraditional students who are pursuing certification out of interest in career goals or needing continuing education. The Chicago Botanic Garden, a cooperator in this project, has been a driving force for creation of this program and feels that there is a substantial demand among its clientele. It is being funded by the SIUC Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor Distance Learning Grant. Year one of this project focused on review and revision of curriculum material of six existing courses taught by the PIs. The PIs are working closely with the university's instructional support for the courses to be delivered by WebCT. To date, the “Appreciation of Landscape Design” course has received the most emphasis in the conversion. This poster session will summarize the project to date and projected benefits of this online program.

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Karen L. Panter

Interest in horticulture in Wyoming increases each year. The vast size of the state, coupled with its low population, make travel to individual sites around the state difficult. Distance education and communication are keys to a successful horticulture Extension education program. Every summer since 2000, the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service has sponsored a series of horticulture question and answer sessions. These sessions are carried out using the Wyoming compressed video system, linking campus-based specialists with Extension educators, Master Gardeners, industry, and occasionally the public, around the state. The number of sites linked with campus has varied from six to 11, depending on the year. The number of sessions held each summer has also varied, from the current six to a high of nine in 2000. Each session is 50 minutes long. The objective of these sessions is to allow personnel off-campus to show samples, ask questions, and get assistance from campus-based specialists in diagnosing various plant problems. Evaluations are done annually to determine several things: if the programs should be run again the next year, which days of the week and time of the day are best, if attendees are utilizing the information learned in the sessions, and if they feel more comfortable with their own diagnoses after the sessions. Responses vary with year, but typically 100% say the programs should continue, and greater than 75% use the information they learn and are more comfortable with their responses and their abilities to solve plant problems.

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E. B. Poling

Education

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Michael A. Arnold, Tim D. Davis, and David W. Reed

A group of 53 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada offering degrees in horticulture, or closely related plant science degrees, was surveyed to determine various characteristics associated with the degree programs offered, demographics of students and faculty, and selected procedures and practices associated with administration of these graduate programs. Total response rate was 94%, yielding 85% usable completed surveys. Very few programs (0-3 per degree type) were offered via distance education and on average only 4.1% to 4.5% of resident instruction program students participated in distance education courses. Domestic students averaged 64% to 75% of enrollment. Students were 69% to 73% white. Asian students were the predominant minority group at 12% to 16% of enrollment, followed by African Americans (3% to 8%) and Hispanics (1% to 4%). Most institutions provided out-of-state tuition waivers (75%), and often in-state-tuition waivers (61%), to those students on assistantships or fellowships. Typical commitments to students were 3 years for a PhD and 2 years for a master's degree program. Research assistantships were the dominant form of assistance at all institutions (38% to 53% of students), while teaching assistantships contributed significant secondary funding (7% to 13%). With the exception of mean maximum fellowships, mean maximum assistantships ($11,499-$13,999) at non-1862 Morrill Act universities (NMAU) averaged near the mean minimums ($13,042-$14,566) for the corresponding assistantship types at 1862 Morrill Act universities (MAU). Requirements for teaching experience ranged from 41% of PhD programs to 18% of non-thesis master's degree programs. Typical departments contained 29 faculty members, of which 44% were full professors, 27% associate professors, 19% assistant professors, 6% junior or senior lecturers, and 3% were in other classifications. Traditional 12-month appointments (65.9% of faculty) were predominant at MAU. With the exception of junior lecturer positions, mean salaries at MAU averaged $9125, $6869, $8325, and $28,505 more for professor, associate professor, assistant professor, and senior lecturer, respectively, than at NMAU. This study provides useful information for departments undergoing external review or revision of graduate programs.

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Robert R. Tripepi

32 ORAL SESSION 5 (Abstr. 456–463) Cross-commodity: Education Monday, 24 July, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon