College Of Knowledge Reborn As Online Education

RootZoneManagementCourseRaising the bar on production quality requires constant training. With the cost of travel to industry events increasing, however, it can be difficult for growers to keep their teams’ skills up to date. Fortunately, the internet provides opportunities for education without ever having to leave the greenhouse.

The Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Floriculture program, for example, has launched the first in a series of affordable (just $99), self-paced online courses. Material is based on the original face-to-face College of Knowledge courses offered in the 1990s and 2000s. These courses provide basic training to commercial floriculture growers in Michigan and beyond in the most efficient and lowest-cost way possible.

We asked Dr. Kristin Getter, a floriculture outreach specialist with Michigan State University, for more details about the new program and online education for growers.

Greenhouse Grower: Why repurpose the College of Knowledge material in online courses? Were growers asking for this?

Getter: Yes, growers had been asking about MSU offering the College of Knowledge classes again, but the classes were out of date (data shown in the course was from the 1990s) and it had become very expensive to offer the classes face-to-face because of the increase in travel costs. We repurposed the old classes by updating the information and offering them online.

Greenhouse Grower: Who is your target for these?

Getter: Our target is new growers with very little formal classroom training. Really, these are right for any new greenhouse employee that will be involved in the care of plants.

Greenhouse Grower: How do growers register for the course?

Getter: The course is hosted on a national extension website. To register, you must sign up for this course via MSU’s cashiers website. The course is $99. Once you pay for the course, the eMailed receipt will include instructions on how to access the course.

Greenhouse Grower: What has the response been so far? Are you seeing enrollment from outside Michigan?

Getter: Right now, most of our enrollment has been outside of Michigan. This past year, in addition to Michigan students, we’ve had enrollment from Iowa, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Greenhouse Grower: What courses are you offering?

Getter: The first course in the series is Floriculture Root Zone Management. The objective of this course is to provide the latest practical information on managing the root zone of container-grown greenhouse crops.

The course covers material on irrigation water, including water sources, water quality, water treatment, and irrigation timing and methodology; growing media, including the physical and chemical properties of media, as well as substrate components and amendments; and nutrition, including how to select fertilizers and how to monitor nutrition.

The course consists of many recorded mini-lectures, self-assessment quizzes and links for further information.

Greenhouse Grower: What other courses will be offered through the program and how often will you roll out new ones?

Getter: My goal is to introduce one per year. This year, I should be rolling out the module that covers temperature management. The 2015 module will cover light.

Greenhouse Grower: Convenience is obviously a plus but are there any drawbacks to the online format?

Getter: Convenience is a huge factor, as the student can take the course at his/her pace anytime of the day. The drawback to any self-directed online course is handling questions. If students don’t understand something, I can’t get questions answered immediately. But I do provide my contact information so they can eMail or call me if they have a question. I am not always immediately available to answer the eMail or phone call, but I certainly try to give quick responses.

Other Online Courses

Michigan State isn’t the only online resource for grower education these days. Two additional courses hosted on Campus.Extension.org include:

• The Introductory Employee Training Program for Greenhouse Crop Production. This course, offered by Texas A&M’s Dr. Charlie Hall, is a one-hour video that goes over the basics of working in a greenhouse, including safety.

• Small Scale Commercial Greenhouse Production is offered by Dr. Steven Newman from Colorado State. This course is aimed toward new greenhouse professionals who want to enhance their knowledge of starting and operating a commercial greenhouse enterprise.

Another alternative is Oregon State University’s online degree in General Horticulture — recommended for students already working in the horticultural industry, allowing them to build on existing knowledge in biology, plant science and soils. The program introduces the latest technology and trends in the field.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “College Of Knowledge Reborn As Online Education

More From Greenhouse Grower's GROW...
Dickman-Farms-Carve-and-Brew-Event

March 26, 2018

How Dickman Farms Used a New Event to Expand Its Customer Base

Last fall, Dickman Farms hosted “Carve & Brew,” a new event in which young adults were able to carve a pumpkin, taste craft brews from two local microbreweries, and relax with friends and neighbors.

Read More
Mason-Day-GrowIt-Feature

March 22, 2018

Why Your Efforts to Sell Plants Fall Short and What You Can Do About It

It’s time to look at outside industries for ideas and inspiration on what we can do to operate more efficiently in today’s economy.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-Dinner

March 20, 2018

Seed Your Future Dinner Celebrates Focus on New, Young Industry Voices

During a Seed Your Future Leadership Meeting Fundraiser dinner at Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania's Ag Secretary thanked the Seed Your Future initiative for its efforts to create awareness of horticulture and careers in horticulture.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dickman-Farms-Carve-and-Brew-Event

March 26, 2018

How Dickman Farms Used a New Event to Expand Its Custom…

Last fall, Dickman Farms hosted “Carve & Brew,” a new event in which young adults were able to carve a pumpkin, taste craft brews from two local microbreweries, and relax with friends and neighbors.

Read More
Mason-Day-GrowIt-Feature

March 22, 2018

Why Your Efforts to Sell Plants Fall Short and What You…

It’s time to look at outside industries for ideas and inspiration on what we can do to operate more efficiently in today’s economy.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-Dinner

March 20, 2018

Seed Your Future Dinner Celebrates Focus on New, Young …

During a Seed Your Future Leadership Meeting Fundraiser dinner at Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania's Ag Secretary thanked the Seed Your Future initiative for its efforts to create awareness of horticulture and careers in horticulture.

Read More
Tom-Demaline-Willoway-Nurseries-feature

March 1, 2018

7 Ways You Can Control Your Business Destiny With Lawma…

As business owners and industry leaders, your job description should include being active and engaged in our political system.

Read More
Steve Garvey, Dallas Johnson Greenhouses

February 25, 2018

How Two Leading Greenhouse Growers Are Committed to Qua…

Greenhouse Grower recently asked its two most recent Head Grower Excellence in Quality award winners about the steps they take to improve plant quality. Here’s what they had to say.

Read More
employee-reviewing-shipping-list

February 21, 2018

Four Ways to Get Your Staff to Care About Quality

It can be a challenge to convince your employees to care as much as you do about your business and the quality of products you are providing. Here are four suggestions for making this happen.

Read More
Company-Culture-at-AgBiome

January 22, 2018

Four Ways to Attract Employees With a New Approach to C…

AgBiome is a participative, self-managed organization where no one has a boss. Instead, employees self-assemble as teams around organizational issues that need to be tackled, and internal experts help drive important decisions.

Read More
CareerUp

December 27, 2017

How CareerUp Helps Young Professionals Level-Up

The mission of CareerUp is to equip young professionals with the skills to maximize their career potential.

Read More
Nathan-Nordstedt-in-the-Greenhouse-feature

December 26, 2017

Richard T. Meister Scholarship Winner Encourages Indust…

This year’s scholarship winner says young people need experiences that challenge them and allow for creativity and innovation.

Read More
GROW

December 21, 2017

Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative: How You Made…

To create a competitive advantage, you must consistently experiment with and learn from new ideas. Greenhouse Grower’s GROW initiative provides you with cutting-edge ideas and actionable advice that results in greater profits in everyone’s pocket.

Read More

December 15, 2017

Your AFE Donations Will Be Matched Between Now and the …

Between now and December 1, any donations made to the American Floral Endowment will be matched up to $20,000.

Read More
HortScholars

December 8, 2017

HortScholars Program Now Accepting Applications for 201…

Do you know any college students currently in a horticulture-related program? This unique program gives them a chance to connect with industry leaders and make new connections at Cultivate.

Read More
GROW-Summit-2017-Group-Photo

December 5, 2017

GROW Summit 2017 Tackles Marketing and Business Managem…

This year’s think-tank style event brought together leaders from across the green industry to deliberate on topics such as disruptive marketing, cost accounting, and Millennials, to name a few.

Read More
Photo-with-Endless-Summer-Hydrangea

November 27, 2017

Why It’s Important to Get to Know Consumers at th…

One way to learn about consumer behavior is to get boots on the ground and engage with them.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-feature

November 9, 2017

Dümmen Orange Throws Support Behind Seed Your Future In…

Dümmen Orange has announced it will pledge $450,000 over the next three years to Seed Your Future, the non-profit organization whose mission is to promote horticulture in the U.S. and inspire people to pursue careers working with plants.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Thanks to the 2018 GROW Sponsors

There are a number of industry organizations that help make Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative a success.

Read More
Marshall Dirks, Proven Winners

October 28, 2017

5 Rules for Creating a Lifetime of Outdoor Garden Memor…

Many customers are time starved. Their most important asset is time, not money, so be realistic about the investment of both when they are buying plants.

Read More
Living Umbrellas

October 25, 2017

Why Living Umbrellas May Have a Bright Future

Sometimes innovation strikes by chance. Such was the case with David Tilley, developer of the “Living Umbrella.”

Read More