et al., 2006 ; Smith et al., 2013 ). Academic programs have been criticized for failing to develop advanced, hands-on skills in graduates ( Campbell, 1998 ; National Research Council, 2009 ). Cooperative learning integrates traditional classroom
Brian J. Pearson, Kimberly Moore, and James Barrett
Elsa Sánchez and Richard Craig
Cooperative learning activities are designed by the course instructor for students to complete in groups using information and materials provided by the instructor ( Ventimiglia, 1994 ). Using a variety of cooperative activities in teaching
U.K. Schuch and G.R. Nonnecke
Iowa State Univ. is committed to improve student learning and supports faculty and staff through Project LEA/RN (Learning Enhancement Action/Resource Network) workshops and continuous training. Project LEA/RN teaches cooperative learning techniques that are known to improve student interest in the subject, allow active participation, improve understanding and retention of the material, and encourage learning inside and outside the classroom. Three learning techniques that have been used successfully in our lecture and laboratory classes ranging from 20 to 100 students per class are: turn to your partner (TTYP), note-taking pairs (NTP), and jigsaw. In TTYP, the instructor asks a question and students formulate an answer individually, then share the answer with a partner, listen to the partner's answer, and finally create a new answer through discussion. NTP can be used after new material has been presented. A student compares notes with their partner, both add/correct their notes, share key points with a partner, and carefully listen to the partner's keypoints. In the jigsaw exercise, students who had the same assignment compare information they have prepared with each other and then with the entire class. In all exercises students are made accountable by the instructor who calls randomly on individuals to share their answers with the class. Examples of how to use these techniques and the interpersonal skills acquired and practiced during these exercises will be discussed.
Douglas C. Needham and Steven Dobbs
Twenty-three students of HORT 2212: Herbaceous Ornamental Plants divided into five teams, each selecting one of the ground beds at the television studio gardens of Oklahoma Gardening to design with the aid of MacDraw II and Macintosh computers. The team approach promoted cooperative learning, where those who were skilled in design worked cooperatively with those individuals more skilled at developing the theme gardens' cultural pamphlets. This project encouraged individual students to develop various communication skills to support their team's thematic garden-visual, in the form of a CAD plot of the garden design; written, in the form of a garden pamphlet; and telecommunication, in the form of Oklahoma Gardening television segments.
The students and OBGA Ambassadors started the seeds and, then, planted the gardens, resulting in a very practical experience. This design and installation project not only prepared students for the cooperative efforts that they are likely to encounter in the ornamental horticulture and landscape design and maintenance industries, but also imparted pride in their work, which was viewed by over 150,000 television viewers and visitors weekly.
Anita Nina Azarenko
A situation-based or modified case study approach to learning has been adopted in an upper division fruit production course that is taught at Oregon State University in the Department of Horticulture. A new case study, which will have a high probability of generating discussion on key pomological themes, is developed each term. On the first meeting day of class, students identify relevant themes in the case study. A modified jigsaw cooperative learning strategy is then used to cover the relevant subject matter throughout the term. While using this strategy, groups of two to three students become experts on a theme and are responsible for sharing their knowledge with their peers. The instructor mentors the experts by reviewing assignments created by them, checking answers to assignments, and administering quizzes on the themes. About midterm, larger groups of six to seven students begin their preparation of an oral presentation and written synthesis of the goals and possible pathways for achieving the targets of the primary stakeholders (i.e., orchardists, field representatives, extension faculty, etc.) that are presented in the case study. The groups make their presentations to the stakeholders at the end of the term. Students are required to prepare an individual written report. This learning approach links theory with practice, gives students practice in extensively analyzing a situation, enables students to become conversant in and knowledgeable of basic pomology, builds positive relationships between fellow students, and provides multiple experiences for communicating information and student's discoveries.
Neil O. Anderson
In production classes, students often commence the class by learning complicated crop-specific production cycles. Rarely are they afforded the opportunity of spending several class periods to first understand the major differences between commercial crops for production time, labor input, and market share. A cooperative learning exercise was created for the first week of lectures in potted plant production class (Hort 4051) at the Univ. of Minnesota (n = 18 students). Students were assigned to working groups for discussion and synthesis of the assignment. One week later, each group turned in their recommendations and one lecture session was devoted to in-class discussion of their answers. The exercise was in the form of a memo from a commercial company, Floratech, addressed to the students as the newly hired potted plant production specialists. In the memo, a graphical summary was presented of 13 major and minor potted crops, contrasting total production time, labor input, and market share for each crop. As production specialists, the student's primary task was to interact with all staff (other students role-playing various positions within the company) to answer the following question: “What is the most realistic, cost-effective location on the graph that Floratech should aim to move all crops?” Group discussions, both within and outside of class, focused on the noticeable trends depicted by the graph and the limiting factors that prevented crops from moving to the ideal location. Growers and breeders were quizzed on what factors kept each crop in the specific locations on the graph. The majority of student chose the midpoint of the graph as the best location. The exercise successfully peaked student's awareness of crop differences and the limiting production factors. Throughout the semester, students referred back to this graph to pinpoint the location for each crop covered.
Ursula K. Schuch
A two-part exercise was developed as part of the horticulture curriculum at Iowa State University to familiarize students with the American Standard for Nursery Stock (ASNS), and to allow them to practice and apply the ASNS with a variety of categories and types of ornamental plants. The first part of the exercise requires students to determine, according to ASNS standards, appropriate root ball/container size for plants to be moved from an existing immature landscape. During the second part, students evaluate whether root ball or container size of plants in a nursery is appropriate for the plant shoot dimensions. The exercise was designed for students to work in informal groups in a cooperative learning environment.
Brian W. Trader and Kent D. Kobayashi
immediate feedback assessment technique, and a fruit and vegetable culture course emphasizing student collaboration and teamwork. The three workshop articles “Cooperative learning to enhance horticulture skills and raise funds for professional development
project. The project included six sites in New York and Pennsylvania, consisting of rural, suburban, and urban settings; children at those sites ranged in age between 3 and 18 years. Cooperative learning activities strengthen teaching effectiveness
Elsa Sánchez and Richard Craig
cited Bull, N.H. Clausen, J.C. 2000 Structured group learning in undergraduate and graduate courses J. Natural Resources Life Sci. Educ. 29 46 50 Caprio, M.W. 1993 Cooperative learning—the jewel among motivational-teaching techniques J. College Sci