CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University's Extended Campus (Ecampus) and Extension Service are launching a new online version of OSU's Master Gardener basic training to accommodate gardening enthusiasts in need of a flexible schedule.
"OSU Master Gardener Online" will debut this Sept. 8. This Web-based course, costing $400, will offer the Master Gardener basic training and the opportunity to earn a Certificate of Home Horticulture, all from the convenience of a personal computer.
In January 2009, OSU will add another option the Master Gardener Online course plus an integrated hands-on training and volunteering experience with local OSU Extension-based Master Gardener programs. This option will cost $300, allowing participants to complete the 40 to 70 hours of volunteer service required to become a certified OSU Master Gardener.
Certified OSU Master Gardeners are highly trained volunteers who share the art and science of sustainable gardening as well as OSU's resources in home horticulture with the citizens of Oregon.
Gail Langellotto, OSU Extension's urban and community horticulture specialist and statewide coordinator of the OSU Master Gardener Program, says the new online program will be "a comprehensive and interactive experience."
"Participants will become actively engaged in the course," Langellotto said. "By completing assignments and interacting with the instructor and peers in an online environment, students will have an opportunity to learn about proper gardening techniques and sustainable gardening practices at a time and in a format that suits their schedule."
Topics included in the new online Master Gardener basic training course will include: basic botany and entomology; integrated pest management and pesticide safety; soils, fertilizers and composting; ornamental, herbaceous plants and woody plants; vegetable, indoor and container gardening; sustainable landscaping; and plant pathology.
Anita Nina Azarenko, head of the OSU Department of Horticulture, said she hopes the new online option will appeal to those who have never considered the program before.
"We are planning to provide a high-quality and contemporary gardening program to brand new individuals who find themselves unable to attend the traditional training programs, are place-bound and unable to participate or who prefer the online learning style," Azarenko said. "The online Master Gardener course is a great opportunity to learn the fundamentals of sustainable gardening and landscaping from your home."
OSU is expanding the reach of this popular statewide program as part of its Land Grant mission to extend university knowledge beyond traditional boundaries.
"The traditional format of the Master Gardener course makes it difficult for some to commit to the training required of Master Gardener volunteers," said Dave King, interim associate provost of Ecampus. "OSU Ecampus has the proven track record with online learners to open the door to a broader audience throughout Oregon."
To find registration information and to be added to the Master Gardener Online mailing list, visit http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/workforce/master-gardener-online/ For information about other online degrees and courses, contact OSU Extended Campus at 800-667-1465 or visit ecampus.oregonstate.edu
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