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Abstract:

In an agronomy and horticulture program, scientists use many tools. Professors with New Mexico State University's Horticulture Department have developed an instrumentation class that introduces students to instrument use and measurement for testing hypotheses. This Graduate Level class teaches communication and cognitive skills and interdisciplinary research team methodologies. Each week, the first class period introduces the instrument's theory, while the second period includes a hands-on demonstration. Students write one-to-two page discussion papers about each instrument. A semester project requires students to produce a hypertext Internet document on an instrument covered in class that explains the operation theory and describes how the instrument works, it's limitations and accuracy as well as data processing. Six of 43 students said more time should be spent using the instruments and that some instruments did not apply to their needs. While the course introduces students to science outside their expertise area, some did not see the value of this teaching effort. Students learned cognitive skills, as demonstrated by the sophistication and clarity of the hypertext documents they produced.

 

Keywords:

interdisciplinary skills

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