Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bringing the world of agriculture to the classroom

Date:
April 12, 2010
Source:
American Society of Agronomy
Summary:
Educators have incorporated case studies into a course on world agriculture issues. The results demonstrate the benefits of case studios in improving higher order learning and motivating students.

What do obesity trends in China, barriers to export markets facing small farmers in Kenya, or alternative soil conservation strategies in Peru have in common? They are case studies on global food and agriculture issues, and represent the world's interdependence on food and populations issues. Students attending colleges expect to build experiences of a broad and diverse world, but lecture-based passive learning is not the best way to teach higher order thinking, motivate students, or inspire changes in attitude.

Colorado State University instructors Patrick F. Byrne and Marc A. Johnson, along with teaching assistant Bethany F. Econopouly integrated case studies from Cornell University into "World Interdependence: Food and Population," a three credit course that attracts a wide variety of majors and interests, from freshman to seniors. The results were published in the 2010 Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, published by the American Society of Agronomy.

Although the course covers global agricultural issues, students had a wide range of experience with international and agricultural experience. The purpose of the case study portion of the course was to increase student engagement and interest with the subject matter and to promote higher level learning. The case studies would also create a link between the classroom and issues involving human health and nutrition, food production, poverty alleviation, and natural resource management in developing countries.

Students signed up for a case study with two to three other students. Each case study contained background information, stakeholder positions and a discussion of policy options. Before giving their 20 minute presentation to the entire fifty-four-student class, they were recommended to rehearse it for one of the instructors. Student groups who took advantage of the rehearsal option showed substantial improvement.

The majority of students agreed that they learned a lot about the case study topic from their own presentation that their presentation skills improved. While most agreed that the case study feature should be kept in the course, 40% of the class felt that the time devoted to case studies would have been better spent on other activities, such as guest lectures, class discussions, and videos. Student performance on case-study questions was lower than lecture questions, but the authors suggest that the multiple choice format are not the most effective tool for evaluating higher-order learning.

One notable presentation on "Food Security, Nutrition, and Health in Costa Rica's Indigenous Populations" exemplified the key components of what the authors believe represent successful integration of case studies. Showing enthusiasm for the material, being organized and knowledgeable, and skillful speakers, the presentation took the form of a television news broadcast, with students role-playing the stakeholders and reporters.

"The presentation demonstrated the ability for the case studies to encourage student initiative, collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving," remarked Bethany Econopouly. "It was obvious that this group was interested in the material and went above and beyond the requirements of the assignment."

The authors conclude that that integrating case studies successfully met the goals of engaging students and promoting higher-order thinking. Recommending further use of case studies, they also suggest that groups use creative presentation techniques and rehearse with an instructor. To improve discussion, students should be accountable for reading presentation summaries, and student learning could be evaluated by means other than multiple-choice.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Agronomy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Econopouly et al. Incorporating Case Studies into a World Food and Population Course. Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, 2010; 79 DOI: 10.4195/jnrlse.2008.0041

Cite This Page:

American Society of Agronomy. "Bringing the world of agriculture to the classroom." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412075445.htm>.
American Society of Agronomy. (2010, April 12). Bringing the world of agriculture to the classroom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412075445.htm
American Society of Agronomy. "Bringing the world of agriculture to the classroom." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412075445.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) New numbers show a decade's worth of changes in the number of kids with disabilities. They suggest mental disabilities are up; physical ones are down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Newsy (Aug. 17, 2014) New Hampshire's governor declared a state of emergency after more than 40 overdoses of synthetic marijuana in one week throughout the state. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins