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The 2011 ASHS Annual Conference

Application of Computer Based Technologies for Turfgrass and Landscape Industry Extension

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Kona Ballroom
Marcus Jones, Horticulture, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
The exchange of information continues to move towards computer based technologies as internet access and connection speeds increase.   One goal in using these technologies in Extension and educational outreach programs is to reach audiences who tend to glean much of their information from online sources.  Additionally, computer based technologies allow industry professionals the flexibility to access information when and where they have time.  Two computer oriented Extension programs were developed to provide information to professionals in the turfgrass and landscape industries.  An informational turfgrass blog ( <>  <> ) was developed in 2009. The goal of iaTURF is to provide golf course superintendents in Iowa and the Midwest with a convenient way to communicate and collaborate with peers, industry professionals, and educators.  The blog has multiple contributors including university professors, industry representatives and vendors, golf course superintendents, and students.  Topics covered include a wide range of subjects related to managing turfgrass and other industry related issues and happenings.  The iaTURF blog is integrated with various social media outlets to make the content available in a broad range of formats.  Over 100 articles were posted in 2010 and data indicated that iaTURF received over 18,000 visits.  Also in 2009 a series of 20 online training modules were developed for Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association professionals to aid in preparation for the Iowa Certified Nursery Professional exam and to be used for new employee training. The module topics include: plant identification; How Plants Work: Growth and Development; Rooting Environment and Fertilization; Selection, Installation and Establishment of Landscape Plants; Turfgrass Establishment and Management; Management of Turfgrass Diseases and Insects; Introduction to Plant Diseases and Insects; Diagnosing Plant Problems; Managing Plant Diseases and Insects; Garden Center Management; Landscape Design; and New Employee Training and Professionalism. All modules except the plant identification modules contain a list of objectives, an image rich PowerPoint presentation with accompanying audio which is searchable by topic and has printable notes, self-test exercises, and online quizzes with immediate feedback to help learners test their understanding of the content. Response to the modules has been positive. Participants who used the modules to prepare for the exams 2009-2011 felt they were an effective way to deliver content (4.45 out of 5) and reported they were comfortable using a web-based format to learn (4.89 out of 5).
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