Online Schools??

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by babs4u, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. babs4u

    babs4u Member

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    I was thinking of acheiving either certification or a degree in horticulture. And the CC here only has 1 class of each subject that is needed, but the hours of the classes dont fit my schedule. So I was looking around for an online school but Im sketchy of them. Would anyone here be willing to steer me in the right direction towards a REPUTABLE online horticulture school, if there are any.
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I think there are a few other threads on the subject -- the main problem with online learning is that horticulture is so darn practical and hands-on that it would be difficult to instruct via the web (so you are right to be cautious).
     
  3. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    Don't let the reputation of the school suck you in.

    I looked at some sample lessons at U. Waterloo. The course was 20 modules. You could try 3 modules on line. I did one. It took me 15 minutes to read the material, 5 minutes to answer the 10 very simple multiple choice questions.

    As I recall, they wanted several hundred bucks for the course. I was underwhelmed.
    I would expect that a module would be at least the equivalent of several lectures and a lab or project. It should take 6-10 hours to complete a module of a 20 module course.

    I figure that my money is better spend buying hort books on Amazon.

    Self directed education is a lot harder. It's hard to figure out where to begin. It's harder to know where you are weak.

    What I would like to see are combo courses: Say a 6 week module you do at home, then 2-3 days of intense lab/practical experience. In some cases you would have self directed labs. E.g. you can get a 10-200 power USB microscope that connects to your computer for ~150 bucks. There's an awful lot of lab work that can be done with a milk crate of yogurt tubs, and a pocket of seeds.


    Were I running an online hort program:

    Course 1: Plant photography. Since a lot of your work is going to be submitted on line, you HAVE to be able to take good pictures. It is NOT easy to take clear pictures of trees that show distinguishing marks.

    Course 2: General Taxonomy. At the end of this course you should be able to walk through a diverse park in your region and identify 90% of trees down to genus.

    Course 3: Pests.

    Course 4: Planting, and transplanting. Mostly a lab course.

    Course 5: Chemical handling & safety.

    Course 6: Pesticide use.

    Course 7: Fertilizer use.

    Course 8: Pruning

    Option courses

    * Composting

    * Greenhouse operation.

    * Garden centre operation

    * Nursery operation.

    * Edible product handling

    * Marketing

    * Landscape design.
     
  4. babs4u

    babs4u Member

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    Well maybe the cheapest way for me is to just attend the CC here. they charge 26$ a unit, then I have to buy the books. Its not so bad I guess. My next question is if it would be worth it to get my AD in Science in horticulture? Are there enough opportunities here in Bakersfield, California for someone with this degree? All I ever see in terms of careers here is for the nursing proffession. And those programs are so impacted its crazy!!. I just want to do something that I think I will enjoy learning about. And thats the science of plants. I dont want to be a landscape designer though, and thats one of the courses I would have to take. Can someone explain the types of jobs that would be available to me if I was to get my associate in science degree in horticulture? Particularly for here in bakersfield , california. Because I would not be able to move.
     
  5. pierrot

    pierrot Active Member 10 Years

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    Hello

    what you have described

    "Were I running an online hort program:

    Course 1: Plant photography. Since a lot of your work is going to be submitted on line, you HAVE to be able to take good pictures. It is NOT easy to take clear pictures of trees that show distinguishing marks.

    Course 2: General Taxonomy. At the end of this course you should be able to walk through a diverse park in your region and identify 90% of trees down to genus.

    Course 3: Pests....."

    is available through the University of Guelph in Ontario as a part of the distance education program

    http://www.horticulturecertificates.com/

    I know of a couple of people that have participated and have said it was worth it for them at least
     
  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I would assume (perhaps I'm naive) that community colleges provide programs with some relation to the local community, so there should be some horticultural opportunities available.

    Since you're in the information-gathering phase, my suggestion would be to set up a few informational interviews to determine local opportunities, perhaps one with the local City Parks Superintendent, one with an instructor in the enviro horticulture program, and one with someone working as a private member in the industry (perhaps someone who is an ISA Certified Arborist, as you'll know she/he has gone through some level of training).
     
  7. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    My grandmother said that if you find something you love to do, you can probably find a way to make at least a meagre living at it.

    That said: Go to the local job boards and search "horticulture" Find out whose hiring, and what the job descriptions are. Pick a rainy day, or some form of non busy day (does in rain in Bakersfield?) go visiting, and talk to the managers. Find out what they look for, find out what a hort degree is

    Here we have a large public garden that is owned by the University -- Devonian Gardens. They accept volunteers. This puts you in contact with some pros.

    Alternately, get an entry level job with a garden centre or landscape company. Find out if you like the work.
     
  8. roneill

    roneill Active Member 10 Years

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    I have to agree with Daniel, horticulture is a very hands-on field. Having said that though, there are some great publications available and many of the most inspiring and knowledgeable gardeners I know are largely self-taught. Personally I would recommend one available through the Oregon State University called Sustainable Gardening: The Oregon-Washington Master Gardener Handbook. It was one of the books that was used in my horticulture program and I use it almost as much as I use my A-Z encyclopedia. Definitely worth the $30 plus shipping.
     
  9. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    What instructors shared real-time in class from their experience was something that online couldn't touch. The only online I've done were for some arborist certification CEU's.

    So that gave a small taste of online learning.

    As an add-on, it was fine, especially since options were limited at that time at nearby colleges.

    So I'd say use online for horticulture as a means of last resort, like to fill gaps that's impossible to get at a local college, or similar.
     
  10. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Hands on vs. Online? I'd say yes to both. Have you ever purchased a computer program and read the manual? At first (for most semi-luddites like me) the written word is hard to interpret, hard to judge relevance. Then you use it for a while and it all starts to make sense.

    Same with the garden/forest/greenhouse/etc. Your hands on experience will illuminate the online/text materials and the written words can help you interpret what you are looking at "in the field".

    This forum helped me more than you could imagine with my grapevines as I tried to find answers for all the questions posed on-line and at the same time nursed several hundred cuttings thru rooting, potting, setting out and now growing. I recall a query with a photo of a somewhat bumpy and deformed grapevine leaf; research led me to the erineum mite ( http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/hort/news/hortmatt/2004/12hrt04a1.htm ) and an"ah-ha!" moment some years later when I actually had one in my hand.

    Any successful educational endeavour will combine as many sources as possible: on-line, public and personal library (still growing), fieldwork, mentoring, and more. For experience an entry level job might be ideal but also consider volunteering, a local garden club or farmers institute, or wwoofing. http://www.wwoofusa.org/Farms?LOC=CA

    Ralph
     
  11. Kansas11

    Kansas11 Member

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    So glad I came across this thread & forum! I have been wondering the same thing,hoping to be able to get a sitter for my son for a class or two a week. A nearby CC has what looks like the programs suggested in this thread, hoping to begin next fall. I'm a 40yr old mom of 4, really wanting to obtain some sort of degree in horticulture,& put my green thumb to use.
     
  12. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Bakersfield and Kansas,
    Check out your local Ag college and see if there is a Master Gardeners Training Group near you that you could talk to. (Bakersfield - yours is UC Davis) Or call your local County Agent.
    Depending on who's running the program you can get some good training through them. It is a certificate not a degree, but it's a start and would give you a leg-up for a job at one of the box store garden departments or a nursery.
    Ours here in Skagit County, WA is part computer plus two days a week in class (hands-on) for about six weeks.
    Barb
     
  13. Kansas11

    Kansas11 Member

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    Thanks Barb,
    Looks like the one near me is from Sept-Nov, when I am hoping to start fall classes. The local CC has a Horticulture certificate program, as well as an A.A.S. in hort.
    Looks like a few of the classes are online, so hoping to be able to find the time.
     
  14. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Good luck Kansas - you can do anything if you put your mind to it! Barb
     

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