Many state legislatures are increasing public access to higher education by establishing more two-year institutions with lower tuition and fees than four-year institutions. This will likely increase the number of students enrolling in two-year institutions and later transferring to a four-year institutions. Transfer students presently comprise more than 30% of the University of Arkansas at Monticello's (UAM) undergraduate forestry majors. These students arrive commonly deficient in six required freshman and sophomore forestry courses and facing four years at UAM to complete their baccalaureate degree. Prospective transfer students need access to freshman- and sophomore-level forestry courses. Forestry majors need tutorials aiding the development of skills and knowledge in plant morphology, identification, nomenclature and silvics. At UAM, experiences to a broader range of learning styles than traditional instruction alone. When combined with distance learning technologies, this approach can potentially reach prospective transfer students. Resolution of course deficiencies reduces problems for transfer students and academic advisors, and homogenizes levels of preparedness leading to higher quality instruction, student understanding and academic success. This paper introduces a series of PC-based tutorials and a format for electronic discussion groups in dendrology intended as part of a package for both resident and distant students. The user friendly tutorials provide easy access to approximately 120 species of native and exotic woody trees, shrubs and vines of the upper Coastal Plain of the Western Gulf Region. The self examination segment of the software allows students to pretest their skill and knowledge in the morphology, identification, and nomenclature of forest species as part of their preparation for actual examinations. The electronic discussion groups helps students learn from each other while catering to diverse learning styles and study schedules. This approach to dendrology is nontraditional and appeals to students either literate or illiterate in computer usage without reduced participation in traditional classroom experiences.
Yeiser, J. L.
"Computer-aided instruction in dendrology: Preparation for distance learning,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues: Vol. 7
, Article 34.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol7/iss1/34