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  • Author or Editor: Nicholas R. Bloedow x
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Virtual plant walk maps were developed for an ornamental plant identification (ID) course, with the goal of providing an additional study resource to potentially enhance student learning. The maps provided students an opportunity to revisit plants covered in lecture and laboratory sections at their own convenience, using either a computer or mobile device. Each map plotted the locations of the plants from the corresponding list and provided photographs of specimens, plant family, common and scientific names, and plant type information. At the end of the course, a survey was given to collect information about student use and perceptions of the virtual plant walk maps for two fall semesters (n = 87). Survey results indicated 63% of the students used the virtual plant walk maps as a study resource. Students who used the maps reported accessing the maps an average of 3.2 times between receiving the maps and taking the plant ID quiz in laboratory. Students mainly used the maps to study the most current plant list and accessed previous plant list maps to a lesser extent. About 67% of students who used the virtual maps, used the maps to visually review the plants online only, although 31% of students used the maps for both visual review and to physically retrace the plant walk to view the live specimens. Of the students who did not use the maps, most found other study resources/methods more useful or they forgot about the maps as a resource. When asked to rate usefulness of the maps on a scale from slightly useful (1) to very useful (3), 43% of students indicated that the virtual maps study tool was very useful, 25% indicated the maps were useful, and 8% indicated that the maps were slightly useful. A significant dependence between student use frequency and student usefulness ratings of virtual plant walk maps was observed. As students’ use of the virtual maps increased, they perceived the maps to be more useful to their studies in preparing for ID quizzes. No differences between plant ID quiz scores were associated with virtual plant walk map use, learning style, or use by learning style. Our survey indicated that students used the virtual plant walk maps as a resource and perceived the maps as a useful tool in preparation for ID quizzes.

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