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Paul Holford, Anthony Haigh and Robert Ellis

To improve the communication skills of students studying horticulture, collaboration between the subject lecturers and an academic skills consultant has led to the inclusion of a writing portfolio into the curriculum of Plant Science and Physiology, a core science component of the Bachelor of Horticultural Science program. The rationale for the portfolio was that, through writing, students would engage more closely with a subject's content and would gain a better understanding of its concepts. The initiatives introduced into the portfolio include the development of nine writing portfolio tasks and model answers, an appropriate grading tool and the integration of the writing tasks into other assessment tools. The focus on writing simultaneously improved students' awareness of the standard and type of writing expected at university, allowed them to develop their written expression, and deepened their understanding of plant science.

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Ellen M. Bauske, Gary R. Bachman, Lucy Bradley, Karen Jeannette, Alison Stoven O’Connor and Pamela J. Bennett

. Instructors are generally Cooperative Extension agents or specialists at land-grant universities. The contribution of EMG volunteers to extension programs is well documented ( Martin, 2009 ). Communication issues within the EMG program can be daunting. Often a

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Pauline Hurley-Kurtz

Since 1996, a number of instructors have contributed to the development of the Graphic communication studio and deserve recognition. They are E. Anderson, M. Bowe, and J. Meschter. Also, thanks to G. Whiting, B. Lamba, and L. Blum for

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Anish Malladi and Jacqueline K. Burns

Long-distance communication between roots and shoots is a common feature in plants. Alteration of root conditions by factors such as drought or flooding leads to physiological responses in the shoot that occur before changes in shoot water status

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Tim Rhodus

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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Lori J. Anderson, Bridget K. Behe and Kenneth C. Sanderson

Two surveys (one of 101 florists and one of 122 businesses) determined that florists spend little time or money recruiting commercial accounts. Poor communication among businesses and florists was a problem. Of the responding businesses, 91% were never contacted by their florists for any reason, and the methods florists did use for recruiting commercial accounts were incompatible with the means that businesses used to choose florists. Because 79% of businesses made some type of purchase from a florist during the year, florists could pursue commercial accounts as a way of increasing sales. When recruiting new accounts, florists should consider businesses' product preferences, peak gift-giving times, and purchasing preferences.

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Tamela D. Michaels and John D. Lea-Cox

Electronic information systems that take advantage of new technological developments on the Web are a key towards fulfilling the mission of the extension educator; i.e., to help individuals, families and communities put research-based knowledge to work in improving their lives. Webpages are one key to achieving this goal, but vertical searches using search engines are tedious and inefficient. There is a need for a) rapid and easy access to verifiable information databases and b) the coordination of good information resources that are already available on the Web in an horizontal format. NurseryWeb was developed as an open information resource within a frames environment that enables users to gather information about a variety of nursery-related material; e.g., cultural information, diagnostic criteria for disease and pest identification, data on integrated pest management and marketing data. In addition, a password-protected communication resource within the page provides nurserymen with conferencing and direct email connections to nursery extension specialists through WebChat, as well as providing time-sensitive data, alerts, and links to professional organizations. A number of critical issues remain unresolved—e.g., the integrity of information links, data and picture copyright issues, and software support. Nonetheless, the ease of use, availability of information in remote areas at relatively low cost, and 24-hr access assures that this type of information provision will become dominant in the future.

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James P. Syvertsen

, and other plant growth regulators (PGRs) affect root–shoot communication, growth and quality of individual plants and their populations. Examples of root–shoot communication include tree fruits, crop plants, succulents, native plants, and the model

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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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Richard W. Van Vranken and Winfred P. Cowgill Jr.

The rapid evolution of electronic technologies is providing researchers, educators, and consumers increasingly fast access to information. On the Internet (Net), electronic mail is a rapid, efficient, and economical medium for communication. Mail list management software (Listserv, Almanac, Majordomo, and Liststar) now allows users with interests in specific topics to address production and marketing issues across state and international boundaries by posting messages to a discussion group (DG) at one electronic address. Replies from anyone interested in responding may be sent to the entire DG, constituting a discussion, or returned directly to the originator of the message. Three commodity-oriented, horticultural DGs—Apple-Crop, Veg-Prod and Direct-Mkt—established over the last 30 months now provide on-line forums for >600 subscribers from 46 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 21 other countries. Twenty-seven percent to 31% of these DGs' subscribers responded to a survey evaluating the effectiveness of DGs as communication tools. Reponses showed that DGs were a valuable communication tool for reaching a broad resource pool rapidly and economically. Information requests, meeting announcements, and resource listings have dominated the activity of these DGs. Cooperative extension specialists and county agricultural agents represent most users (69%), followed by researchers (14%), farmers, and those with unlisted job descriptions (7% each). Ease of use, quickness (often within 24 hours), quality and quantity of replies, and the ability to glean timely information for files and newsletters were cited as the most important reasons for using these DGs.