Web-based case studies help students develop career skills

Dec 29, 2008
This is a small pondless water feature design. Photo by M. D. Vaden of Oregon

A survey of employers in the landscape industry revealed the importance of arming landscaping and horticulture students with technical knowledge, practical application, and problem-solving skills. Teaching students the skills necessary to solve complex landscape management decisions is crucial to their career success.

With the rapid advancement of technology over the past two decades, tools are now available to present students with virtual case studies via the Internet. These case studies contain a variety of components, including scripts, photographs, web page links, audio, and video. The purpose of these studies is to give students practical experience in solving many different scenarios, integrating their understanding of plant science, environmental and physical site constraints, and the human impact on built and natural landscapes.

In an article published in the July-September 2008 issue of HortTechnology, authors Ann Marie VanDerZanden, David Sandrock, and David Kopsell presented the results of their study that measured student attitudes and perceptions of online learning case studies. Students at three universities (Iowa State University, Oregon State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville) completed an assignment that involved summarizing information about a scenario, diagnosing a problem, and making a recommendation to the homeowner on how best to manage the situation.

After completing the scenario, students were asked to complete a 20-question survey evaluating the case study. Overall, students reacted positively, saying that they felt comfortable using the web-based format. "They felt it was an effective way to deliver information," researchers said.

While there was a significant investment of time and money in developing this case study, the framework is now in place and additional problem-solving scenarios are being created. As a result of the positive response by students, these case-study scenarios will be used in future courses.

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: horttech.ashspublications.org/… nt/abstract/18/3/520 .

Source: American Society for Horticultural Science

Explore further: Bitter coffee today? Try changing the colour of your cup

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mystery of dwarf galaxy could be ejected black hole

Nov 19, 2014

An international team of researchers analyzing decades of observations from many facilities—including the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakala and NASA's Swift satellite—has ...

How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings

Sep 30, 2014

Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went ...

Recommended for you

James Watson's Nobel Prize to be auctioned

23 hours ago

Missed the chance to bid on Francis Crick's Nobel Prize when it was auctioned off last year for $2.27 million? No worries, you'll have another chance to own a piece of science history on Dec. 4, when James D. Watson's 1962 ...

Engineers develop gift guide for parents

Nov 21, 2014

Faculty and staff in Purdue University's College of Engineering have come up with a holiday gift guide that can help engage children in engineering concepts.

Former Brown dean whose group won Nobel Prize dies

Nov 20, 2014

David Greer, a doctor who co-founded a group that won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for working to prevent nuclear war and who helped transform the medical school at Brown University, has died. He was 89.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.