K-State plant pathologists develop online teaching modules used globally

Jul 14, 2009

Managing plant diseases that threaten the food supply and economy is a challenge for agriculturalists around the world.

Sparsely stocked libraries, scarce and expensive software, and even a lack of materials in students' native languages are barriers to training plant pathologists in resource-poor regions.

But the work of a Kansas State University professor and her colleagues is bridging that gap. One project is making online teaching modules available to the developing world, while an offshoot project established a statistics workshop offered in early July in Bolivia.

Karen Garrett, K-State associate professor of plant pathology, and Lorena Gomez, a master's student in at K-State, and their Bolivian collaborators received the American Phytopathological Society's 2009 Global Experience Award for a workshop on statistics in plant disease epidemiology and agriculture. The award also went to their workshop collaborators, Antonio Gandarillas of the Bolivia-based Fundacion PROINPA and Jorge Cusicanqui Giles of Universidad Mayor de San Andres in La Paz, Bolivia.

Through the workshop, the researchers further developed online teaching modules for students in Bolivia by adding new material and translating materials into Spanish.

The workshop is part of a larger joint project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development's and Natural Resources Management Collaborative Research Support Program. The project includes a multidisciplinary team of scientists in the United States, Bolivia and Peru, led by Corinne Valdivia of the University of Missouri. This project works with farmers to increase their capacity to adapt to change and build resilient livelihood systems in the Andean Highlands of South America.

Garrett, her colleagues and students at K-State are developing online training modules that are free to anyone with Internet access. Garrett said so far more than 30,000 visitors from more than 100 countries have accessed these modules. Because these training modules are free, Garrett said that they are particularly valuable to students in remote areas with fewer local resources.

The modules are designed to teach principles of modeling and statistics that help scientists and agriculturists understand disease epidemics. Garrett said that this type of modeling could help policymakers understand how climate change can affect a particular plant disease, prompting a change in the strategies countries use to deal with the disease.

The first modules were published in 2007 and then in 2008 in the journal the Plant Health Instructor. The training modules are available at: www.apsnet.org/education/Advan… Modules/default.html .

Source: Kansas State University (news : web)

Explore further: New research finds that world-class sprinters attack the ground to maximize impact forces and speed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russia plans more ISS modules

Nov 10, 2007

Roskosmos chief Anatoly Perminov says the Russian space agency will build three new modules for the International Space Station by 2011.

NSF funds first nanoscale center for learning and teaching

Oct 01, 2004

With a five-year, $15,000,000 grant to Northwestern University, the National Science Foundation is funding the nation's first Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NCLT). The center, under ...

Whitefly spreads emerging plant viruses

Jan 18, 2007

A tiny whitefly is responsible for spreading a group of plant viruses that cause devastating disease on food, fiber, and ornamental crops, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

Recommended for you

Walking fish reveal how our ancestors evolved onto land

22 minutes ago

About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods – today's amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and ...

The roots of human altruism

2 hours ago

Scientists have long been searching for the factor that determines why humans often behave so selflessly. It was known that humans share this tendency with species of small Latin American primates of the ...

User comments : 0