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Plants, Pathogens, and People: Extending the Classroom to the Web


by Bertram C Bruce, Heather Dowd, Darin M. Eastburn & Cleora J. D'Arcy — 2005

Plants, Pathogens, and People is a Web site promoting agricultural awareness via multimedia lectures about plant diseases and online lab activities in which students investigate phenomena. The use of the site in large-enrollment classes for 6-plus years affords a well-documented case of Web-enhanced instruction. Qualitative and quantitative data on student perceptions of the site, their learning, and the relation of the Web site to the course as a whole provide insights into both the benefits and the challenges of Web-based teaching and learning. Students rate the site as an enhancement to their learning, but there are differential responses to various components of the site, which provide a fuller picture of how students see Web-based learning relating to their overall educational experience.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 8, 2005, p. 1730-1753
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12094, Date Accessed: 4/18/2014 8:38:24 PM

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About the Author
  • Bertram Bruce
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    E-mail Author
    BERTRAM BRUCE is a professor of library and information science, curriculum and instruction, bioengineering, and writing studies, as well as in the Center for East Asian & Pacific Studies, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research and teaching on inquiry-based learning has led to the development of educational resources, such as the Inquiry Page, Biology Student Workbench, Quill, Statistics Workshop, and Discoveries, a series of CD-ROM-based multimedia environments. He has written several books, including Network-Based Classrooms: Promises and Realities, Electronic Quills: A Situated Evaluation of Using Computers for Writing in Classrooms, and Literacy in the Information Age: Inquiries into Meaning Making with New Technologies, based on his monthly Technology Department in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. He teaches graduate students in library and information science and the capstone course in the information technology studies undergraduate minor.
  • Heather Dowd
    Hinsdale South High School
    HEATHER DOWD is a physics teacher at Hinsdale South High School in Darien, Illinois. She teaches Conceptual Physics and AP Physics. Heather completed her master’s degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in curriculum and instruction in science education. She has been a part of the Plants, Pathogens, and People development team and the Inquiry Page development team.
  • Darin Eastburn
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    DARIN EASTBURN is an associate professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1988 as an extension specialist in diseases of vegetable crops. In 1999, he accepted a research/teaching position, and his research now focuses on soil-borne fungi, primarily those that cause diseases of soybeans. Current research projects include the evaluation of cultural and host factors in the development of sudden death syndrome of soybeans, the effects of mycoviruses on pathogen virulence, and the effects of the process of transitioning to organic agriculture on the development of disease suppressive soils. He teaches a graduate course on plant pathogenic fungi, a graduate course on professionalism and ethics in the agricultural sciences, and an undergraduate general education course on the social impacts of plant diseases. He is currently the editor of APSnet Features, a monthly on-line feature for the American Phytopathological Society. His recent publications include “PPP: Plants, Pathogens, and People. A Website to Improve Student Awareness of Agriculture” (with C. J. D’Arcy and B. C. Bruce, The Plant Health Instructor, 2002), “Illustrated Glossary of Plant Pathology (with C. J. D’Arcy and G. L. Schumann, The Plant Health Instructor, 2001), and Dutch Elm Disease and the American Elm: The Risks and Benefits of Monoculture (Videotape, APS Press, 2000).
  • Cleora D'Arcy
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    CLEORA D’ARCY is a professor of crop sciences and assistant dean for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her teaching responsibilities include courses on plant pathology and on ethics and professionalism in science for both undergraduates and graduate students. She coteaches a course on teaching for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and new faculty. Her research program focuses on plant viruses and the diseases they cause. She is also a part-time administrator in the College of ACES, working with undergraduate students, programs and issues.
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