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  • Author or Editor: Tim Rhodus x
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Study Abroad programs are designed to provide a variety of learning opportunities for students. Experiencing firsthand the culture, environment, and/or industry is often described as the most memorable benefit by those who study for a quarter or semester in another country. Unfortunately, it is difficult to share this learning experience with classmates and family members who are back at home. One solution that has been implemented with the College's Study Abroad program at The Ohio State Univ., is to design a web site that chronicles the experiences and activities of students while they are abroad. In addition to the photos and stories being contributed from abroad, classmates and other individuals from the home institution can submit questions and participate in threaded discussions with those abroad. For example, students at home can post questions regarding an upcoming tour location and utilize the responses and photos for a class they are attending. Finally, being able to review experiences from previous trips is an outstanding strategy for promoting the program to new students. Online experiences from the Dominican Republic and England programs are available at: http://cfaes.ohio-state.edu/studyabroad.

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Effective communication of horticultural information over long distances requires the ability to present and receive not only text-based information but also images, sounds, and live-action video. Until recently, the Internet enabled users to communicate in each of these four modes, but not simultaneously. However, as a result of the World-Wide Web (WWW) project and the creation of NCSA Mosaic software, Internet users are able to access and deliver practically any form of communication, as long as it can be digitized. Information from around the world on literally thousands of subjects is now available 24 hours a day. Opportunities to communicate with the general public, primary and secondary science students, or practicing horticulturists are no longer limited by publication delays, travel distances, or media limitations.

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Capstone courses generally target students who are nearing completion of their studies, are designed to build on skills acquired in earlier courses, and emphasize realistic situations and challenges that exist in the “real world”. Specific learning goals and course objectives are found to vary across disciplines but most capstone courses provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate a range of professional competencies and communication skills. By incorporating computer simulations, case studies, or research projects, students are better able to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, a learning goal frequently adopted following curriculum review. The goals and organization of “Quality, Ethics, and the Global Environment,” the capstone course in Horticulture at The Ohio State University will be compared to other capstone courses.

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Preparing newsletters for distribution over the World Wide Web generally requires one to learn HTML (hypertext markup language), purchase an HTML editor, or convert existing wordprocessing documents through a utility program. As an alternative, an input form was developed for county agents that facilitates the direct publishing of their weekly Buckeye Yard and Garden On-line newsletter over the Internet. Using FileMaker Pro 3.0 for Macintosh and the ROFM acgi script for WebSTAR, agents cut and paste text from their word processing file into specific input boxes on the screen and then submit it to the server located in Columbus. Their newsletter articles are then made available to anyone on the Web through a searchable database that allows for searching by date or title. Preparation of the input form and corresponding search form creates two distinct advantages: county agents do not have to spend time learning about HTML coding and all their newsletters are indexed in a searchable database with no additional effort by the site manager. Modification of this procedure has been done to facilitate the creation of online term projects for students and a directory for horticultural internships.

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Horticulture Teaching Resources is a web site at The Ohio State Univ. designed to provide high school and higher education horticulture educators free-access to curriculum resource materials. The information has been structured to facilitate the instruction of basic concepts in plant biology, propagation, nutrition, and plant materials. A searchable database interface is used to access color photos, lab exercises, and test questions. Users of the system can also provide URL addresses to their own resources for inclusion in the database. (http://hortwww-2.ag.ohio-state.edu/hvp/htr/htr.html)

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More and more of the Department's academic and outreach communications on the Internet involve the use of digital photos. While enhancing visual appeal and conveying information that cannot be communicated via text is an obvious benefit, it is critical that digital collections be efficiently and effectively managed at the client level (personal workstation) and also the server level. To assist faculty and staff who routinely publish on the web and those who contribute to the Ohio State Univ.'s WebGarden online image database, a new client application was developed to assist in viewing and organizing digital photos on their workstation. Based on FileMaker Pro database software, a standalone program name DPM (Digital Photo Manager) was developed that runs without the user having to have FileMaker software installed on their system. DPM allows the user to scan a folder of digital photos, create thumbnails, add appropriate captions and cataloging information, and even display a full-screen slideshow. When the user is ready to publish on the web, they upload their file into a portion of the department website managed by Gallery software, a free PHP-based application that integrates with various web server programs and handles any number of user-specific digital albums. Following this, a website was developed that allows the user to select a photo from their online album, add 1-3 lines of captioning, and enter their name for a photo credit. The website automatically applies a standard background, creates four different sizes of the image, renames the files into a standard naming convention used for all images on the server, saves each file into a specific folder, and provides the user with the URL address for the digital files.

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Capstone courses generally target undergraduate students who are nearing completion of their studies. They are designed to build on skills acquired in earlier courses and emphasize situations and challenges that exist in the real world. Specific learning goals and course objectives vary across disciplines and institutions, but most capstone courses provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate a range of professional competencies and communication skills. By incorporating computer simulations, case studies, or research projects, students are better able to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, a learning goal frequently adopted following curriculum review. A brief overview of the development, current popularity, and widespread offering of university capstone courses is presented. The goals and organization of `Quality, Ethics, and the Global Environment,” the capstone course in the horticulture major at Ohio State Univ., is compared to other capstone courses.

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This article examines opportunities for enhanced information access and dissemination available to professional horticulturists using the Internet. The intent, however, is not to provide a comprehensive cataloging of where and how to find various databases or sources for multimedia educational resources. While some of these resources are reviewed, the goals of this article are to provide a background of the Internet environment and to examine the communication impacts of the Internet on horticultural researchers and educators. Our view is that computer-aided communication is an opportunity challenge, which should be confronted by individual horticulturists and the discipline as a whole. Examples of these new resources that can have a positive impact on the accomplishment of work responsibilities of horticultural professionals are discussed.

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Based on a survey of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), membership need was identified for an online peer review system to validate innovation and recognize excellence in science-based teaching and extension scholarship for promotion and tenure purposes. This system would also provide a clearinghouse for instructional materials of merit for use in classrooms, laboratories, and outreach education, which fall outside the parameters of the three academic journals of ASHS. It was determined HortTechnology already provided a valued outlet for peer review of manuscript style teaching and extension scholarship; however, a need was identified for a mechanism to provide peer review of instructional materials which did not conform to a traditional manuscript format. Herein we describe the process that led to the development and launch of HortIM™, a new peer review system for teaching and extension instructional materials. An online peer review process for juried assessment of instructional materials such as articles, bulletins, case studies, fact sheets, instructional videos, teaching modules, and laboratory exercises was developed. A beta test of initial solicited materials in each category was piloted resulting in an initial database of these scholarly materials. This activity culminated in an initial opening of the system for submissions in Fall 2016. This article documents the development of HortIM™, including the submission and review process.

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