Registration for two greenhouse-related summer sessions in the Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s College of Knowledge is now open. Between now and May 31, growers can sign up for the “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers Course” and/or the “Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting Course.” Participants in the courses have from June 1 through Aug. 31, 2017, to complete them.
Biological Control of Greenhouse Growers Course
A total of 133 people have taken the Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers course from 24 U.S. states and nine countries. In the most recent session, which ended in January 2017, 81% of respondents intended to make a change in their pest management practices as a result of the course.
MSU Extension and Kansas State University Extension are offering the biological control course together. The course is intended for greenhouse growers and others interested in learning about the fundamental concepts of biological control, and the challenges and opportunities associated with a biological control pest management program. The content of the course covers introductory materials to more advanced concepts such as using banker plants.
The course includes four hours of pre-recorded lectures divided into six units on topics on biological control systems. The first two units of the course cover an overview of the challenges and opportunities of biological control, how biological control systems work, factors to consider when developing your program, the methodology of scouting, the commercially available biological control agents sold in the U.S., and benchmark release rates and facts useful to those releasing biological control agents in the greenhouse.
Units three and four discuss the four most common banker plant systems, and the importance of quality control of all biological control agents. The last two units address the integration of pesticides (including fungicides) with biological control agents and provide registrants with examples of biological control programs implemented by wholesale spring bedding plant growers and greenhouse vegetable growers.
The course is taught on the eXtension campus by Heidi Wollaeger, Greenhouse and Nursery Extension Educator with MSU Extension. Raymond Cloyd of Kansas State University Extension co-authored the course and provides supplemental video content.
Individuals enrolled in the self-paced course will take a pre-test and a final exam to assess their progress on the topics associated with the course. Self-assessment quizzes will engage individuals with the material. The course also provides links to additional resources on pertinent biological control topics.
Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting Course
A total of 140 people have taken the Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting course from 28 U.S. states and 20 countries. In the most recent session, which ended in January 2017, 100% of course participants said they would recommend the course to another individual. As a result of the course, 73% of people intended to make a crop production change.
This non-credit, pre-recorded online course on greenhouse and horticultural lighting is intended for greenhouse and ornamental plant growers and others interested in learning about the fundamental concepts about how plants respond to light quality, quantity, and duration. Participants enrolled in this self-paced course will take a pre-test and a final exam to gauge their learning of the topics. Self-assessment quizzes will engage students with the material throughout the course. The course also provides links to 36 trade articles published on pertinent lighting topics.
For the summer 2017 session, there are four scholarships available for those interested in either of these course but do not have the financial means to take it. Greenhouse growers interested in the scholarship will be able to apply for it upon registering by writing a short paragraph about why you should be awarded this scholarship and how you plan to use the information in your business or professional endeavors. The applicants and winners will be kept confidential. The cost of the course will be reduced to $39.99 for scholarship winners.