Teaching Crop Diagnosis in a Virtual Field Environment.
Lee Schweitzer, Purdue Univ.-Agronomy Dept., 915 W State St., 915 W State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054, United States of America
The teaching of field crop diagnostic skills during the academic year in a campus environment presents a challenge for crops teachers. In most cases summer annual cropping seasons do not coincide well with the academic year. Even where the academic year and cropping season overlap it is difficult to present a comprehensive in-field array of crop developmental stages and injury symptoms for use as a learning environment. Summer crop diagnostic courses and field internships can provide students with valuable field diagnostic experience but these opportunities are generally limited in scope to present only a fraction of the disease, nutrient deficiency, insect, herbicide injury and other damage factors which may affect crop growth and development in a given season. To address this challenge, crop growth, development, and diagnostic photography and videography have been integrated into digital resources for the teaching of field crop diagnostics. These tools have been used effectively in Cropping Systems and other courses as well as for continuing education and professional outreach. A demonstration of these resources and insights regarding their use in teaching will be presented.