Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 8:30 AM

Models to Complement Grasslands Curriculum.

Marvin Hall1, R.B. Radhakrishna1, Kenneth J. Moore2, Allan J. Ciha2, Jeffrey J. Volenec3, Craig C. Sheaffer4, Richard H. Leep5, Mary H. Weidenhoeft2, Kenneth A. Albrecht6, and Steve K. Barnhart2. (1) 116 AG Sciences & Industry Bldg., Pennsylvania State Univ., Pennsylvania State Univ., Dept of Crop and Soil Sciences, University Park, PA 16802-3504, (2) Iowa State Univ., Dep. of Agronomy, Ames, IA 50011-1010, (3) Purdue Univ., Agron. Dep., Lilly Hall of Life Sciences, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054, (4) Univ. of Minnesota, Dep. of Agron. and Plt. Sci, 1991 Upper Buford Cir., St. Paul, MN 55108, (5) Michigan State Univ., Dep. of Crops and Soil Sci., East Lansing, MI 48824, (6) Univ. of Wisconsin, Agron. Dep., 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1597

Educational research has shown that different learning styles of students often requires alternative instructional methodologies. Lecture format is good for disseminating information or to create interest but it is not effective at stimulating analysis or synthesis of material. Courses that utilize models (physical, conceptual and/or quantitative) in the curriculum have the potential to capture benefits of the “learner-controlled” environment while retaining benefits of the traditional classroom environment. Using computer-based models in the curriculum (hybrid curriculum) retains high-quality student-faculty interaction, while enhancing learning outcomes, and is becoming an increasingly popular option. In addition, web-based or computer-based instruction allows students to determine the pace and amount of instruction that can be assimilated at a given time. Students with control over the amount and rate of instructional material out performed students lacking such control. The creation and use of interactive, computer-based teaching modules for similar courses at universities across the country will allow each student to be “taught” by the “best” teacher and have access to these modules for future reference. The concept is much like a course text book, but with interactive teaching modules instead of non-interactive text. The computer-based teaching module would also improve learning and retention by capitalizing on different learning styles of students.