Web-based instruction is growing at a rapid rate, but the ability to effectively teach lab skills in a web-based format may be a barrier to the development of distance education courses in turfgrass management. We conducted a study to compare the effectiveness of web-based versus traditional instruction for teaching turfgrass identification (ID). An introductory horticultural science class with four lab sections and a total enrollment of 88 students was the study
setting. Quiz scores showed no difference in ability to identify live specimens of six turfgrass species between students receiving web-based versus traditional instruction. However, students receiving traditional instruction performed better on knowledgebased questions, in which they were asked to name which species corresponded to a written set of ID characteristics. Results suggested that web-based students’ performance on knowledge-based questions may be improved by finding ways to increase their interaction with the content. Student performance on
live-specimen ID or knowledge-based questions was not correlated with time spent studying, or students’ perceived importance of turfgrass identification, but it was correlated with confidence level. Our results show that web-based formats can be as effective as traditional methods in teaching students to ID live turfgrass samples.
web-based instruction, traditional teaching, turfgrass identification