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  • Author or Editor: George E. Fitzpatrick x
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As the horticulture industry enters the 21st century, advances in horticulture science will continue to be more rapid and frequent creating the need for more innovative approaches in information delivery. Moreover, decentralization continues to be a widespread trend. Land-grant universities have a long tradition of providing outreach, but with the development of new telecommunication technologies, larger audiences now can be reached. Many universities throughout the world have developed distance education programs through the use of modern telecommunication technologies. However, the University of Florida has responded to the needs of place-bound students by developing off-campus resident Bachelor of Science (BS) degree programs in horticulture at three locations in the state. These off-campus programs combine on-site instruction augmented with distance education courses to giveplace-bound students a flexible, efficient, and interactive alternative to degree programs offered at the main campus.

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Although composting has been practiced for thousands of years, it was not until the 20th century that controlled scientific studies were published illustrating the benefits of compost use in crop production. These studies helped to spur increased interest in composting and compost use, and gave way to the development of commercial composting facilities that supply finished compost products to horticultural producers. Increasing composting activity and compost use encouraged the formation in the late 20th century of trade organizations, such as the U.S. Composting Council and similar organizations in other countries, that support research and applications work to determine ways to improve quality control of commercial compost products.

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Florida is one of the nation's leading states in citrus, foliage, vegetable, and ornamental crop production. The Univ. of Florida is the only public institution in the state of Florida that offers a bachelors degree in horticulture and /or environmental horticulture. The main campus in Gainesville is centrally located ≈400 to 500 miles from either end of the state. Changing population demographics within Florida have emphasized the necessity of developing programs to reach non-traditional students. Students who are place bound due to work or other responsibilities represent an increasing part of the potential market. The Univ. of Florida, recognizing the specialized needs of non-traditional students, established Bachelors of Science degree programs in environmental horticulture at the Fort Lauderdale and Milton research and education centers. The centers teach the same core curriculum being taught in Gainesville, but the centers also teach additional courses specific to their geographic location to allow for a tailored program. The off-campus facilities have teaching faculty at the centers to teach the courses and also use satellite technology to down link courses from Gainesville. The development of off-campus programs in Fort Lauderdale and Milton allow the Univ. of Florida to improve the effectiveness of educational programming to reach place-bound students.

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