Ag-Telecom Final Report Award No: 3.19/98
A. J. Turgeon, PI
The original goal of the project
was to involve a group of four geographically dispersed turfgrass scientists and educators in the improvement and
expansion of a set of web-accessible learning resources to ensure that these
resources adequately covered the broad range of climatic, edaphic,
economic, and cultural conditions existing within the North American continent,
and the entire scope of knowledge and applications currently encompassed by
turfgrass science and technology. Thus, cooperators
from four academic institutions (
Clarification loops break down difficult concepts into its components and cover each in a more simplified fashion than that contained within the module's main path. And preparation loops provide prerequisite material that must be mastered before a student can thoroughly understand the material contained within the module's main path. This portion of the project also involved dividing each module into sections dealing with specific subtopics, then inserting multiple-choice questions before each section to assess a student's prior knowledge of the material. Where students are able to answer all questions (usually two to four in number) correctly, they are given the option to bypass the section and proceed to the next portion of the module. Each section is composed of one or more instructional units (graphic, narrative text, and navigation icons for moving on to the next [or last] unit in the sequence) plus one or more loops. The loops are accessible by clicking on anchors (hyperlinked words or symbols) located on the main-path instructional units by which the student can navigate through a series of units organized as a loop. All of the instructional modules have been reorganized with the inclusion of loops (mostly elaboration loops) and questions.
A third phase was added involving the development of a keyword-accessible Case Library. This was done in cooperation with the United States Golf Association (USGA) Green Section. The Library currently contains 40 "historical" cases, composed of descriptions of problems or problematic situations, actions taken to address them, and results obtained from those actions. It also contains a provision for field practitioners to submit new cases to the Library. And some of the cases in the Library have been hyperlinked to selected instructional modules to create a "just-in-time instructional resources." By taking advantage of such a resource, a field practitioner with a problem can access the Library to discover what others have done in response to similar problems, to establish cause-and-effect relationships between actions taken and results obtained, and to learn the underlying basic concepts (from the modules) that explain those relationships. We are currently working cooperatively with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) to advertise the Case Library and encourage superintendents from around the world to submit cases. We will then employ a process for evaluating, editing, hyperlinking (to appropriate instructional modules), and inserting the new cases into the Library.
The final phase of the project was the assessment of these learning resources by the broader community of academic colleagues. This was conducted with members of the Education Committee, Division C-5 (Turfgrass Management), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), who evaluated these resources and is currently promoting their use throughout the turfgrass industry.
All goals were accomplaished
and, as indicated previously, additional ones were added.
The URL where all of these educational resources can be accessed is: http://www.cas.psu.edu/docs/casdept/Turf/Education/Turgeon/directory.html
At this site, all of the instructional modules, lessons, decision cases and the case database (library) are accessible.
The financial resources consumed throughout the project were used to pay the wages of support staff and to handle expenses of the project leader and the cooperators from the four academic institutions. There were no cost overruns or unexpected costs.