Search for Excellence in Consumer or Commercial Horticulture

Heidi M Lindberg
Greenhouse Extension Educator
Michigan State University Extension
MSUE West Michigan

Lindberg, H.M.*1, Runkle, E.*2, Cloyd, R.*3
1 Greenhouse Extension Educator, Michigan State University Extension, West Olive, MI, 49460
2 Professor of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48824
3 Professor of Entomology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506

The College of Knowledge Online courses are pre-recorded, non-credit courses intended for greenhouse growers as professional development. The courses include approximately 4-hours of videos and voice-over PowerPoint presentations, supplemental reading, quizzes, and tests. There are currently two courses in the Series, College of Knowledge Online: “Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting” and “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers.” Students in each of the courses take a pre- and post-test to determine knowledge gain and take a post-course evaluation upon completing the course. Long-term impacts are evaluated using a 6-month post-course online survey using SurveyMonkey. “Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting” was released in September 2015 and has had three sessions (Fall 2015, Summer 2016, Fall 2016). A total of 140 greenhouse growers who represented 35.5 million square feet of greenhouse production took the course. The students were from 20 countries, 28 U.S. states, and 14 Michigan counties. Ninety-six students finished the course with an average pre-course grade of 73% and an average post-course grade of 92%. According to the long-term impacts survey, 57% of growers made a change in their facility, which encompasses 1.8 million square feet of production space (n=18). In addition, 71% of growers were more confident in their lighting strategy (n=18). “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers” was released in Fall of 2016 and has been offered for one session (Fall 2016). A total of 133 growers from 9 countries, 24 U.S. states, and 12 Michigan counties, who represented 52.5 million square feet of greenhouse production, enrolled in the course. The average pre-test score was 67% and the average post-test score was 93% (n=114). According to the post-course survey, eighty-one percent of the respondents to the course evaluation reported that they would make a change in their pest management practices as a result of the knowledge gained from the course and 86% reported that it would help protect the crop from pest damage (n=105). Long-term impacts of “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers” will be evaluated in the summer of 2017.