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A Short C​ourse in Plant Pathology for Middle-School Students Through Remote Learning | OPRO Meets Renata Belisario, Jacob Ball, Laura Tew, and Lisa Vaillancourt

Renata Belisario, Jacob Ball, Laura Tew, and Lisa Vaillancourt, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky.

Science outreach activity: A short course in plant pathology for middle-school students through remote learning.

Type of event: An online course.

Intended audience: Middle-school students. This course was specifically created for an eighth-grade Vocational Agriculture class.​

Description of the activity: The course includes three asynchronous online modules with multiple levels of organization, independent and interactive activities, and a combination of written and verbal instructions, plus video exemplars to encourage a dynamic learning process. The goal of this course was to make plant pathology-based educational activities accessible to middle-school students. The course materials could be adapted for either in-person or remote learning for all age levels.​

Flow chart with the ti​meline and due dates for each assignment.​​​​
Materials needed for this activity:

​What are the challenges you experienced during this activity and how will you modify or improve future offerings?

  • Time was limited for completion of activities. In the future, we will adjust deadlines to allow more time for ​completion of assignments, distribute assignments across multiple weeks, and schedule block(s) of time for guided practice sessions.
  • Some students copied and pasted photographs from the Internet. In the future, we will emphasize the purpose and importance of using original sources in students' work and require the pictures to include the students' hands holding the diseased leaf or placement of a pen beside the specimen.
  • Students were not familiar with some of the technology that was used. In the future, we could create tutorials to help the students with this.

Bitmoji Classroom embedded in Canvas with directions, a video, and a welcoming audio for Module 1: Plant Disease Detective.​​

How many times has this activity been hosted? Once.

In total, how many audience members were in attendance? Nineteen middle-school students and two teachers.

How was the impact of this outreach activity evaluated? Students completed pre- and post-course surveys to evaluate the impact of the activity. The teachers and volunteers who participated in the course were also asked to complete the surveys.

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