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Along with a hoe and a rake, the computer is fast becoming an indispensable garden implement. A case in point is LongwoodLIVE (Learning and Instructional Virtual Environment), an online teaching tool launched in June 2009.
“We’ve implemented it for all of the Professional Gardener courses,” says Susan Caldwell, Instructional Designer, “and have selected twenty Continuing Education courses to try it as a pilot program. We’ll evaluate what works well and what the students and instructors like. As we refine the system, we plan to add more adult education and K-12 classes to LongwoodLIVE.”
Caldwell, who has a background in both horticulture and higher education, explains that the platform is based on a learning management system provided by Desire2Learn Inc. The product was selected for its robust features and support. Access is limited to those who have registered for a class.
Reaction to LongwoodLIVE so far has been very positive. “The instructors have enthusiastically adopted the program,” Caldwell says. “It helps them organize material and make it available to students, and lets them make updates or add supplemental information easily.”
“It has also been an easy transition for the students,” she adds. “They can use the system to download handouts, review lectures, access video and audio clips, and participate in online discussions. In some of the Professional Gardener classes, students can submit assignments, take tests, and get their grades online.”
Even people who are not as fluent with computers benefit from LongwoodLIVE. “There’s a lot of added value,” says Caldwell. “Even if they go online just to look at pictures of plants, they get more out of the class.”
Longwood is partnering with the National Gardening Association to develop a National Teacher Institute for garden-based learning. This summer’s participants will learn how to put together a gardening curriculum supplemented with online resources. Longwood will follow this up with offerings for K-12 classes later in the year.
“Eventually we hope to offer courses that can be taken completely online,” Caldwell says. “It would be a wonderful way to extend Longwood’s reach.”
“Online learning is just one method used by Longwood to meet its strategic goal of expanding learning opportunities and sharing intellectual capital with the world,” says Education Department Head Doug Needham.
Visit http://www.longwoodgardens.org/LongwoodLive.html for general information, or http://www.longwoodgardens.org/ProfessionalDevelopmentOpportunities.html for information about the Teacher Institute.
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Meet the arborists and gardeners that care for our trees and flowers throughout Spring Blooms, and see demonstrations throughout our Conservatory and outdoor gardens.
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Get ready for an evening of oohs and ahhs, as Longwood presents spectacular Fireworks & Fountains shows guaranteed to make your summer memorable.
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Registration is now open for our 2013 Continuing Education courses!
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