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Douglas C. Sanders and Dennis J. Osborne

Many potential students, because of distance from the University campus and/or job requirements, cannot take traditional courses on-campus. This group of learners is place-bound—a group of learners who may be employed full-time, most-likely married with job responsibilities and/or other situations demanding most of their attention. These persons are the very definition of nontraditional, and their educational needs demand non-traditional pedagogy. Their maturity and self-directedness eliminate many concerns often voiced about extending support and evaluation inherent in maintaining quality for and among students adopting Distance Education (DE). In North Carolina, the audience is large and demands that the University reach out to them. Cooperative Extension's more than 120 Horticultural Crops Extension Agents (field faculty) and over 300 other field faculty whose interests include horticultural topics constitute students identifiable as likely enrollments for credit taking hours off-campus. Distance Education can overcome these problems in several ways. First, high demand, low-seat-available classes can offer additional enrollment for credit if open to Distance students. Second, courses can be offered asynchronously or with alternative delivery. Finally, courses offered collaboratively among institutions generate a level of interest and enthusiasm that may not exist for home-grown courses. Such efforts as these are creating a Distance Education program in NCSU's Horticultural Science Department.

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Douglas C. Sanders, Dennis J. Osborne and Luz Reyes

Land-grant institutions throughout the US face declining resources in general. Particularly reduced is institutional ability to offer core graduate and upper level undergraduate courses in production agriculture and agricultural science. For example, while North Carolina (NC) State University is still able to offer a wide range of upper-division production courses in Horticulture, many sister institutions are facing restrictions on offerings in Fruit and Vegetable Production and Floriculture courses. New areas such as Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming also justify course offerings but few resources exist to create and teach such courses. At NC State, distance education (DE) is able to begin overcoming these problems in several ways. First, high demand, low-seat-available classes such as Postharvest Physiology can offer additional enrollment for credit if open to DE students. Second, courses offered asynchronously or with alternative delivery strategies (such as the videotapes distributed in this course) students having course/time conflicts in a semester can enroll simultaneously in two campus time-conflicted courses, completing both successfully. The framework for the Postharvest course now being taught via DE and how it came to gain institutional support will be discussed in this paper.

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Dennis J. Osborne, Douglas C. Sanders, Donn R. Ward and James W. Rushing

This paper summarizes the results of a multi-state, multi-institutional partnership delivering a targeted train-the-trainer program. The program provided good agricultural practices (GAPs) and good manufacturing practices (GMPs) based training to southeastern U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable (produce) growers and packers. Twelve southern U.S. states cooperated in this project between 2001 and 2004. In the work 150 trainers introduced nearly 20,000 persons to GAPs principles, including over 2,000 Spanish-speaking workers and a similar number of limited resource/specialty crop/grower/packer/buyer audience members. Actual numbers of persons reached was nearly 20,000, a number arrived at by counting signed-in registrations for events. Cost per person for outreach was about $6.00 per person, including travel expenses. In cooperation with the federal Risk Management Agency, a training component about risk in fresh produce operations was developed. This unit was delivered to historically underserved audiences, small farms and roadside markets, and other non-traditional audiences. This training continues today.

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Dennis J. Osborne, Douglas C. Sanders, Donn R. Ward and James W. Rushing

This paper summarizes the management framework of a multi-state, multi-institutional partnership delivering a targeted train-the-trainer program. The program provided Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)-based training to southeastern U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable (produce) growers and packers. Twelve southern U.S. states cooperated in this project: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The 2000–04 work was funded by United States Department of Agriculture – Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (USDA–CSREES) National Food Safety Initiative grants. This project developed materials, pilot tested them, refined them for use by a regional group of specialized agents, assisted the agents in delivering the new programming and evaluated the results.

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Dennis J. Osborne*, Douglas C. Sanders, Leigh Jay Hicks and Donna Petherbridge

The software package Macromedia Dreamweaver™ and learning management system WebCT™ are becoming de facto standards used to develop university distance education courses. NC State Univ. adopted these tools as part of its extensive support program for creating new distance courses, transforming existing classroom presentations into distance courses or upgrading existing distance courses. While production tools are becoming standardized, a “standard” course framework does not exist because most faculty believe that “no other course is like mine”. However, initial course placement online and course maintenance thereafter would be facilitated if a standardized course framework could be adopted and widely implemented. We developed such a framework, readily adaptable to many courses, by using the Libraries feature in Dreamweaver™ to create a model for easy navigation and standard course formatting for distance courses. Library items can be easily changed for use in different courses, and the entire framework can then be uploaded into WebCT™ for delivery to students. The model is used for several graduate level horticulture courses at NC State Univ.. Using this framework will allow any faculty member to easily fit his or her course into a replicable framework.

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Dennis J. Osborne, Douglas C. Sanders, Donn R. Ward and James W. Rushing

Between 2000 and 2004, a 12-state consortium in the southeastern United States used a “train-the-trainer” effort to introduce good agricultural practices (GAPs) to the region's fresh produce growers, packers, and consumers. Supported by the National Food Safety Initiative, the consortium created and implemented training by using a program and supporting materials specifically applicable to conditions and commodities in southern states. Because several factors distinguish the southeastern U.S. fresh produce industry from that of other regions in the U.S., a region-specific training program addressing distinguishing factors was needed. Distinguishing factors include: 1) southeastern U.S. producers are typically grower-packers, with some notable exceptions in Florida and Texas; 2) most such producer entities are seasonal, have their own packinghouse operation, are small-scale in that they pick what they grow and pack and often use migrant and seasonal labor; 3) modern worker training, sanitary practice, and facilities and supervisory expertise are either somewhat limited or completely lacking; and 4) the use of seasonal and migrant labor dictates the use of Spanish language interpreters and training. To meet fresh produce food safety training needs for the region, project leaders created a 329-page training program and associated PowerPoint presentation-containing compact disc, nine four-page crop-specific brochures relating GAPs to crop “groups,” a Spanish language handwashing video and a new model recall program for the fresh produce industry. The leveraging effect of this train-the-trainer effort ultimately reached nearly 20,000 people in this multi-disciplinary, multi-state, integrated project, thus expanding and reinforcing regional cooperative extension efforts.

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Dennis J. Osborne, Douglas C. Sanders, Donn R. Ward and James W. Rushing

This paper summarizes the management framework, organizing plan, and results of a multi-state, multi-institutional partnership delivering a targeted “train-the-trainer” program addressing food chain security in the southeastern U.S. The partnership provided good agricultural practices (GAPs) and good manufacturing practices (GMPs) –based training to fresh fruit and vegetable (produce) growers and packers throughout the region. Twelve southern states cooperated in this project: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. This 2000–04 work was funded by National Food Safety Initiative grants. Although proposed long before events of 11 Sept. 2001, the project and its results are increasingly relevant since that time. This is because consumer expectations regarding the nation's food supply now include a new security consciousness addressed in this project.

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Dennis J. Osborne, Douglas C. Sanders, Donn R. Ward and James W. Rushing

This paper summarizes the management framework of a multi-state, multi-institutional partnership delivering a targeted “train-the-trainer” program. Procedures associated with assuring on-schedule deliverables and budget compliance will be reviewed. The program provided Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)-based training to southeastern U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable (produce) growers and packers. Twelve southern U.S. states cooperated in this project: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The 2000–04 work was funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture–Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (USDA–CSREES) National Food Safety Initiative grants. This project developed materials, pilot-tested them, refined them for use by a regional group of specialized agents, assisted the agents in delivering the new programming, and evaluated the results.

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Douglas C. Sanders, Dennis J. Osborne, Mary M. Peet, John M. Dole and Julia L. Kornegay

Many potential students, because of distance from the university campus and/or job requirements, cannot take traditional courses on-campus. This group of learners is “place-bound”—a group of learners who may be employed full-time, most likely married with job responsibilities and/or other situations demanding most of their attention. The Horticultural Science Department and Graduate School at N.C. State University are addressing place-bound limitations in several ways, including the creation and offering of a Graduate Certificate Program in Horticultural Science via distance education (DE). By using DE, high demand, low-seat-available classes can offer additional enrollment for credit. Second, courses can be offered asynchronously or with alternative delivery methods. Also, courses offered collaboratively among institutions can generate a level of interest and enthusiasm that may not exist for “home-grown” courses. Such efforts as these promise to help meet continuing education demands of “non-traditional” students. These include Cooperative Extension's more than 120 Horticultural Crops Extension Agents (“field faculty”) and over 300 other field faculty whose interests include horticultural topics.