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Margaret McMahon

Student-centered learning means having students actively engaged in many aspects of a course to promote learning. Allowing students to participate in syllabus development is a method that involves students in the course and, in the process, assume responsibility for much of their learning. Students can help set course objectives, decide what is the evaluation criteria and who evaluates, determine and deliver some of the course content, and approve the code of conduct for the class. By helping with the aforementioned areas, students can see the relevance of the course to their needs and interests. They tend to take a greater interest in the course and participate more actively in the class. The process of student involvement in syllabus development requires several steps and utilizes techniques that are presented in the following paper.

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Robert J. Joly and W.R. Woodson

The principles of plant physiology are best learned in an environment where students are directly engaged in the process of scientific inquiry. Working from this assumption, we have developed a two-stage approach to laboratory instruction that fosters student-directed research within an undergraduate plant physiology course. During the first 10 weeks of a 16-week semester, students develop competency in measuring physiological variables by using an array of standard analytical techniques. A core set of 10 laboratory experiments provides structured instruction and teaches the principles of modern physiological analyses. During week 11, students observe a demonstration of a plant response, where the underlying cause of the phenomenon is not evident. Working together in groups of three or four, students hypothesize on the physiological mechanisms that may be involved. After submitting a statement of hypothesis and a plan of study, each group then requests the necessary instrumentation, plant material and greenhouse and/or growth chamber space to conduct their experiments. Results of their experimentation are presented during week 15 in both written and oral formats. The approach appears to help students to integrate and connect learnings from earlier in the semester to solve a defined problem. Further, students learn how to judge the reliability of experimental results and to evaluate whether conclusions drawn are justified by the data.

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Michael E. Reinert and Dan T. Stearns

ePortfolios are gaining popularity in academic communities worldwide. Purposes of ePortfolios include: converting student work from paper to digital format, thereby allowing it to be centrally organized, searchable, and transportable throughout their academic lives and careers; promoting student centered learning and reflection; improving advising; and career planning and resume building. Pennsylvania State University is investing in the use of ePortfolios in course work throughout the university system. To facilitate these efforts, the university provides all students and faculty with 500 MB of hosted web space to create and share their portfolios. One of the courses using ePortfolios is Horticulture 120, Computer Applications for Landscape Contracting, in the Landscape Contracting program. Outcomes of implementing ePortfolios include increased availability of student work to potential employers, enhanced recruiting through displays of student work, and enabled reflection on completed work. Students showed improved quality in project work because their projects would be publicly available through the Internet to potential employers, faculty, family, and other students.

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Chad T. Miller

I course the previous semester. A significant focus for the plant identification courses at KSU has been to implement diverse learning activities, including student-centered learning and active learning methods to encourage student engagement and

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Ann Marie VanDerZanden

contribution to cognitive development J. Agr. Educ. 41 114 122 Moss, L.E. Seitz, W.D. Anton, W.R.Q. Anton, T.E. 2002 Learning styles, student centered learning technique and student performances in agricultural economics North Amer. Colleges Teachers J. 46 34

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Kristin R. Campbell, Sandra B. Wilson, P. Christopher Wilson, and Zhenli He

students and faculty worldwide to practice plant identification online. Interactive identification quiz In an effort to incorporate asynchronous student-centered learning exercises into a native landscaping course (ORH3815/5815C), an interactive plant

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Tigon Woline and Ann Marie VanDerZanden

prepared to solve ill-structured problems because they rarely are required to do so during their education or training. Recognizing the need for students to develop competencies in problem-solving, current trends in pedagogy emphasize student-centered