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  • Author or Editor: Caula A. Beyl x
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In the past, a seminar course was considered effective if the students were trained in oral presentation techniques. Two things have changed since then: 1) the growing popularity of the poster as a form of research communication and 2) new technologies such as the use of computers and LCD projection systems. Familiarity with these techniques then becomes a highly desirable part of a seminar course designed to satisfy today's needs. At Alabama A&M Univ., the undergraduate and graduate seminar courses require students not only to present an oral seminar but to participate in a public poster presentation once each semester. The entire department participates in viewing the posters, questioning the students and assigning scores. This allows students to participate in a simulated professional meeting environment and learn how to interact with other professionals concerning their posters. The seminar course also includes topics such as parts of a seminar, multimedia presentations, computer usage, developing a time sense, dealing with fear of public speaking, public speaking do's and do not's, impromptu talks, handling questions, and poster techniques. Graduate students serve as moderators for the oral seminar sessions thus gaining additional experience. An essential part of the course is peer grading and evaluation. Peer involvement in the process acts to promote a high standard for oral seminars and posters.

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Computer-aided design (CAD) is rapidly becoming an indispensable tool for landscape architects and designers. This has created the need for a simple-to-use, inexpensive, and readily available configuration for introducing computer-aided design on a limited budget to landscape students. This introduction to computer-aided landscape design can be accomplished easily and accurately using the 512K Macintosh computer and the software package MacDraw. Techniques are reported for shading, layering, and customizing plant and groundcover symbols, allowing a personal touch that is lacking in some more-advanced CAD packages. Computer-generated pages can be collaged to make full-sized landscape drawings, which are then copied onto reproduction vellum. In this manner, the design capability is not limited by the size of the minter. This design configuration is currently in use and was used to generate the design and the symbol illustrated.

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In addition to being an essential part of the continuous cycle of improvement, program assessment helps provide for documented accountability, improved learning content, and enhanced pedagogy. The process of using descriptions of the ideal graduate, program descriptive material, faculty and student input, and overlapping course outcomes to develop meaningful program learning outcomes is described. Both direct and indirect assessment methods can be used to determine if the program is meeting its desired learning outcomes as well as using classroom-embedded assessment, capstone experiences, collective portfolios, standardized tests, pre- and post-tests, exit interviews, and various surveys. A program matrix can be used to track where various program learning outcomes are being addressed within individual courses. This article describes a fundamental first approach to assessing and documenting program learning.

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The Aquifoliaceae and Magnoliaceae families play an important role in seasonal holiday arrangements. For florists, floral designers, and seasonal gift shop owners, there is a great need to find cut foliage species suitable for use in floral displays. Foliage cuttings that retain their appearance, stay green, and do not drop leaves or berries are desired characteristics for greenery used in these displays. Because of their attractive foliage, the following species were chosen: Ilex × attenuata, Ilex vomitoria, Ilex cornuta `Rotunda', Ilex cornuta `Burfordii', Ilex opaca, Osmanthus heterophyllus, Ilex latifolia, and Magnolia grandiflora. For each species, cuttings were taken, fresh weights for these cuttings were obtained, and chlorophyll levels were measured. Measurements forweight and chlorophyll levels were then taken once a day for 5 days. After the five daily measurements, the measurements were taken once a week for 3 weeks. Based upon slow rate of water lost, chlorophyll retention, and visual rating of appearance, the two most suitable species were Osmanthus heterophyllus and Ilex latifolia. The Ilex vomitoria was unsuitable because of the tendency to drop leaves. The Ilex opaca was also unsuitable because of leaf drop and unattractive leaf curling.

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Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba), is valued for its fruit, its ornamental quality, and for its use in reforestation. Jujube is considered to be very difficult to root. Five strains of Agrobacterium rhizogenes were tested on eight cultivars of jujube for the induction of roots. Strains of A. rhizogenes used were A4, TR105, AR WT, MT232, and 50. Cultivars of jujube included `Sherwood', `Sugar Cane', `So', `Li', `Silver Hill', `Tiger Tooth', `Lang', and `Contorta'. `Sugar Cane' had the lowest callus rating of the cultivars and `Li' the highest of the cultivars, followed closely by `Tiger Tooth'. `Sugar Cane' consistently had the lowest number of primary and secondary roots, and did not have any tertiary roots. `Li' consistently had the highest number of primary, secondary, and tertiary roots of the cultivars, followed by `Lang'. `Li' had more, longer roots than any of the other cultivars, followed by `Contorta'. `Li' had the best root grade rating of the cultivars. The highest percentage of rooting occurred in `Li' and `Contorta'. `Sugar Cane' had the lowest percentage of rooting. There was no significant effect of strain on any of the rooting parameters measured. Overall, `Li' rooted the best of the cultivars tested in response to Agrobacterium rhizogenes. `Sugar Cane' performed the worst.

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A greenhouse study was established to evaluate the effect of different levels of root restriction on morphology, hydraulic conductivity, root length, and t-zeatin and dihydrozeatin riboside levels in exudate in peach trees. One-year-old `Redhaven' peach on `Lovell' rootstock were grown for 18 weeks in containers with volumes ranging from 1.93 to 11.55 liters. Plants grown in the most restricted containers (1.93 to 3.85 L) had roots that were smaller and exhibited fewer primary and secondary branches with less average length. Final leaf, stem, root fresh and dry weight and root length were reduced in the highly restricted versus the less restricted treatments (7.7 and 11.55 L). Root hydraulic conductivity (Lp) was not affected by container volume. There was less dihydrozeatin riboside and trans-zeatin in exudate of the most restricted plants versus the less restricted ones. Cytokinin levels continued to decrease over the time course of treatment. Shootroot ratio was not altered by the container volume suggesting a coordination of root and shoot growth modulated by the container size.

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To determine if biological efficiency of shiitake mushrooms was affected by the density of spawn inoculation, white oak logs about 31 inches (0.79 m) long were cut from trees harvested 14 Apr. and inoculated 6 May 2003 with strain WR46 of Lentinula edodes using four rates of inoculation. The number of holes drilled and inoculated with spawn was determined by multiplying the weight of each log by 0.5, 1, 2, or 3. A 15-pound log (6.8 kg) inoculated at “3” times the weight would have 45 holes drilled and inoculated. Each rate of inoculation treatment was replicated three times with three subsamples per replication. After six harvests over a 21-month period, the biological efficiency (BE) of the logs increased by 1.94% per additional hole per pound (0.45 kg). This increase in BE would result in $1.15 in additional returns per log with a cost of only $0.15 more per log due to increased spawn use, resulting in a net profit, excluding increased labor and wax costs, of $1.00 per log.

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Paclobutrazol (PBZ), a triazole growth retardant known to harden various species to stress, was incorporated into the in vitro rooting medium of Prunus serotina var. virens at rates of 0.00, 0.15, 0.30, and 0.60 mg/L with and without 1.0 mg/L indolebutyric acid (IBA). PBZ significantly reduced shoot growth in vitro but increased/improved the quality and coloration. Although not significant, the roots appeared shorter, thicker, more numerous, and percentage was higher. The percent water loss from detached leaves of in vitro plantlets was significantly reduced by PBZ and IBA, Four weeks after transfer to the greenhouse, survival was significantly improved by PBZ, IBA, and the combination. The incorporation of PBZ in vitro better enables plantlets of Prunus serotina var. virens to withstand the stresses associated with acclimatization and offers the potential to benefit other more difficult-to-acclimatize plant species.

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To characterize their fruit production potential under north Alabama conditions, one-year old plants of six species of Aclinidia were established in 1988 in a replicated planting at the Pomology Research Orchard in Huntsville, AL. Several of the Actinidia species fruited for the first time in 1991 including: A. deliciosa, A. arguta `Ananasnaja', A. arguta × melanandra, A. melanandra, A. arguta cordifolia, and A. polygama. Beginning in early August and continuing until late September fruit length, fruit width, % soluble solids, fruit firmness, and fresh weight were evaluated at ten day intervals. Total number of fruit produced and the number dropped were counted initially. Preliminary subjective taste evaluations were done throughout the time period. There was substantial fruit drop, particularly on A. melanandra. Values for mean percent soluble solids measured in late September for A. arguta `Ananasnaja' ranged from 7.3-11.0%. Fruit drop was a problem for A. melanandra with slightly over 50% of the fruit having dropped by early August. A. arguta `Ananasnaja' produced the most abundant initial fruit crop and had the most desirable fruit from the standpoint of flavor.

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