Learning horticultural practices has traditionally been a hands-on process. Students interact with the plants, soils and tools to both learn and affirm their understanding of concepts covered. Expanding the offering of this course to online delivery was necessary to meet the demands of this popular course for college students both within and outside the horticulture program. Identifying solutions for affording students a hands-on understanding of concepts without being physically in the environment with the teaching professor, Lee Ivy, was the primary challenge for this project.
Additionally, students were challenged in understanding the interrelationship of the five processes that occur within plants: photosynthesis, respiration, absorption, transpiration and translocation (PRATT).
The course is designed around a home gardenscape and delivered in the Learning Management System, Moodle. An gardenscape image visible at the top of the course webpage when students log in, develops as students progress through the course to display additions based on content completed. It serves as a visual reward for successful completion of material. For example, the image would begin with a plot of land and a house and students would add to the environment with vegetables, fruit trees, a compost bin, a potting shed, etc. throughout the course as they proceed through the material.
A 3D interactive environment was created in Unity 3D, a game engine, for students to apply knowledge learned and simulate plant growth under different soil conditions.
An interactive animation was developed for students to explore the interrelatedness of the PRATT processes. Preview PRATT Interactive:
Approximately 85 short location videos were shot for each topic area. Most were between 2-5 minutes each. This was supplemented with textual content.
Pruning Tools: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOpI2AcvDek
Pruning Cuts: Heading back, Thinning, Shearing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMacCXjaA_c
Pruning Cuts: Shearing and Renovation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlWEPdz9K4U
Pruning Cuts: Removing Large Limbs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR0GXD4j7Io
Pruning Cuts: Natural Shapes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1MnTqAknho