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2014 ASHS Annual Conference

Using Online Learning Modules as a Tool for Delivering Complex Information to SCRI Stakeholders

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Ballroom A/B/C (Rosen Plaza Hotel)
Matt Chappell, Ph.D - Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Paul Thomas, Ph.D Professor, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
John Lea-Cox, Ph.D Professor, University of Maryland, College Park
Marc van Iersel, Ph.D Professor, Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Lauren Crawford, Decagon Devices, Inc., Pullman, WA
Bruk Belayneh, University of Maryland, College Park
John Majsztrik, University of Maryland, College Park
William Bauerle, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Taryn Bauerle, Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithica, NY
Dennis King, Ph. D., University of Maryland, Solomons, MD
David Kohanbash, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Erik Lichtenberg, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Andrew Ristvey, Wye Research and Education Center, University of Maryland, Queen Anne, MD
As a Coordinated Agricultural Specialty Crops Research Initiative Project, the Managing Irrigation and Nutrition via Distributed Sensing (MINDS) team has focused for four-plus years on delivering a commercial wireless sensor network capable of supporting the intensive production system requirements for field nurseries, container nurseries, greenhouse operations and green roof systems. The goals of this project are (1) to provide a more integrative and mechanistic understanding of plant water requirements, spanning from micro-scale (e.g. plant level) to the macro-scale (e.g. whole production site) for irrigation and nutrient management and (2) to quantify private and public economic benefits of this technology. The project is integrated across various scales of production including small and large nursery, greenhouse, and green roof systems/operations. The complexity of stakeholders can cause outreach efforts to become disjointed and it is critical to our, or any successful SCRI project, to have the ability to deliver information obtained from a large complex grant to a diverse set of stakeholders, while minimizing redundancy and maximizing impact. It is also important to provide information that can be either long-lasting or easily updated with current information. The approach taken by the MINDS team has been to create a single online, self-guided “Knowledge Center” website ( that provides specific information using a number of discrete learning modules to our target audiences. These audiences include: (1) Owners (or decision-makers), who want to find out exactly what benefits a sensor network might provide, and some examples of return on investment with these systems. (2) Irrigation Managers (or practitioners), who want to find out what it takes to install and maintain sensor networks. (3) Consultants and students, who want to learn how to use the software tools that are available, and interpret the data for devising new irrigation monitoring and control strategies. Concepts presented in learning modules are presented in a manner that facilitates self-guided learning opportunities, starting with basic concepts and progressing to very complex topics. Also included are a series of case studies that document project-related work that has been done at grower-cooperators. This poster will reflect our efforts to date in planning, constructing and launching online learning modules related to the MINDS project to serve as an example of a successful SCRI stakeholder engagement device.