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Erin Silva and Connie Falk

Oral Session 6—Teaching Methods/Human Issues 1 27 July 2006, 4:00–5:45 p.m. Nottoway Moderator: Ann Marie VanDerZanden

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Amy N. Wright, Jeff L. Sibley, Luther Waters, Dave Williams and Joe Eakes

Oral Session 6—Teaching Methods/Human Issues 1 27 July 2006, 4:00–5:45 p.m. Nottoway Moderator: Ann Marie VanDerZanden

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Allen Owings, Ginger Fortson, Edward Bush and Jeff Kuehny

Oral Session 6—Teaching Methods/Human Issues 1 27 July 2006, 4:00–5:45 p.m. Nottoway Moderator: Ann Marie VanDerZanden

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Ishwarbhai C. Patel and Milton N. Okai

This study revealed that cooperative extension education usually requires a combination of communication channels or teaching methods. One channel or method supplements and complements another. It is the cumulative effect on people of repeated exposure to an innovation that results in action. The differential adoption behavior of the gardeners in relation to 10 gardening technologies suggests that the adoption of one technology does not depend on another. Adoption of a gardening technology is a major consequence of communication. Furthermore, the relative influence of sources and channels decreased with the increase in the number of technologies adopted.

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Perrin J. Carpenter and Mary Hockenberry Meyer

A yearlong community education project was conducted in Edina, Minn., to teach residents about low-input lawn care techniques. Informational articles, a World Wide Web (Web) page, public seminar, and demonstration sites were the four major strategies employed by the project. Each of these teaching methods had a specific objective for influencing the lawn care knowledge and practices of Edina residents. Feedback from surveys at the completion of the project showed that printed articles had the highest familiarity. Based on these results, recommendations are given for other communities to implement low-input lawn care education programs.

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Jeff L. Sibley, D. Joseph Eakes, J. David Williams and Harry G. Ponder

The unprecedented, yet sustained, growth of undergraduate enrollment in the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University can be attributed to many factors, including an increased industry demand for horticulture graduates nationwide. Perhaps the basis of some of Auburn's growth, while appearing to be unique, may be of value in other programs. This paper chronicles the growth of the Auburn Department of Horticulture undergraduate program and highlights some of the traditional teaching methods employed within the department as well as some unique methods that contribute to the program. The paper offers ideas and practices that may be beneficial to other horticulture programs and may encourage teaching faculty at other institutions to publish similar departmental profiles that may prove beneficial to colleagues.

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C.D. Klemmer, T.M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek

Science achievement of third, fourth, and fifth grade elementary students was studied using a sample of 647 students from seven elementary schools in Temple, Texas. Students in the experimental group participated in school gardening activities as part of their science curriculum in addition to using traditional classroom-based methods. In contrast, students in the control group were taught science using traditional classroom-based methods only. Students in the experimental group scored significantly higher on the science achievement test compared to the students in the control group. No statistical significance was found between girls and boys in the experimental group, indicating that gardening was equally effective at teaching science for both genders. After separating the data into the grade levels, the garden curriculum was more effective as a teaching method in raising science achievement scores for boys in third and fifth grades, and for girls in the fifth grade compared to traditional classroom-based methods alone.

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Cynthia B. McKenney and Ellen B. Peffley

Teaching at a distance has many rewards and challenges inherent in its delivery. Interactive video conferencing has the advantages of having audio and visual contact with students during a set class period while having the disadvantages of scheduling multiple locations and keeping the equipment functioning at peak performance. Likewise, using a web platform such as WebCT provides a framework with excellent options to develop a course that is both audio and visually rich. This solution also presents its own difficulties as required textbooks change and the platform version may be upgraded. In this presentation, the advantages and disadvantages of both formats will be reviewed. In addition, helpful hints for blending these two teaching methods together to create a custom course will be discussed.

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Jayne M. Zajicek and Jennifer C. Bradley

Floral Design (HORT 203) is an increasingly popular course offered at Texas A&M Univ. HORT 203 is offered as a university core curriculum humanities elective and, thus, enrolls many nonhorticulture majors, averaging 95 students per semester. HORT 203 is taught in a large lecture room that does not always lend itself to teaching a hands-on, visual design course. To increase student understanding of the materials, traditional 35-mm slides and overhead transparencies are being replaced by visual computer technology. Colorful, scanned-in images of floral designs are created in Microsoft PowerPoint and incorporated into computer presentations and color transparencies that supplement each instructional presentation. In addition, the Internet is incorporated in the course by providing students with instructors' and lab assistants' e-mail addresses, individual lab section pages, slides for plant identification, reading assignments, as well as classroom lectures. The technologies used for HORT 203 enhance student understanding and ease of teaching while providing a visual alternative to traditional teaching methods. The technologies used for HORT 203 will be discussed and demonstrated including a tour of home-pages, lectures, and plant id lists.

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Catherine Lavis

This study explored students' cognitive complexity as defined by William Perry (1970) as influenced by teaching methods promoting active involvement at a higher level of interchange than traditional lecture. Two components of this research are: 1) an understanding of Perry's theory to serve as a guide for curricula development incorporating activities to influence intellectual growth by considering the student's current Perry positions in order to encourage upward movement according to Perry's Scheme; and 2) to investigate the reliability of using the student's Learning Environment Preference Inventory (LEP) (Moore, 1987) as a tool to understand the student's cognitive growth. The qualitative portion of this research examined cognitive complexity using the LEP instrument. LEP would give instructors an approximate idea of how to construct their courses to deliver information encouraging higher-order thinking. It is a mistake to assume students in upper division courses are all operating in upper Perry positions. It is difficult to make significant gains in intellectual development during one semester, but it is particularly challenging if instructors are unaware of where students are initially in respect to cognitive complexity. The utilization of a reliable instrument may also help explain some perplexing incidents that occur in classrooms. Instructors can be comforted knowing that what frequently transpires in a class might be motivated more by where students are in their cognitive development than by what is said or done by the instructor.