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Interdisciplinary Instruction: Novel Laboratory Activities for Agronomy and Agricultural Systems

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800395.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800395)
Authors:   A. J. Lindsey, A. J. Mann
Keywords:   Experiential Learning, Education, Technology, Undergraduate


Active participation in science courses has been shown by multiple researchers to increase student learning. However, in courses dealing with field-scale agricultural production, connecting hands-on activities during the autumn and winter can be challenging in the Midwest due to the seasonality of production. A new course at Ohio State University was introduced fall semester 2017, Horticulture and Crop Science 3100 - Introduction to Agronomy, and required the development of new hands-on laboratory activities. Two specific laboratory activities, one focusing on harvesting systems and one focusing on planting systems, were implemented using an interdisciplinary relationship between the departments of Horticulture and Crop Science (HCS) and Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE), and industry-support through the use of equipment such as weigh wagons, moisture testers, and planter meter calibration stands. Upon completion of these experiential learning lab activities, students were surveyed regarding the efficacy of experiences. Survey results showed 100% of responding students reported gaining skills related to calculating soybean yield and comparing yield estimates to harvested values. Additionally, students agreed that they gained appreciation for planter meter evaluation and gained skills related to measuring planter meter performance (average score of 4.8/5.0, where 1.0 = strongly disagree and 5.0 = strongly agree). One student remarked “I better understand the impacts that speed, [vacuum] pressure, and target population have on the consistency of the planter unit.” This presentation will disseminate methodologies and materials from the interdisciplinary relationship to other educational professionals to enhance student learning in the agricultural industry.

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