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UF/IFAS, FAMU To Teach Environmental Education Course Online

GAINESVILLE—Secondary school teachers and others interested in environmental education can use their home or work computers to earn college credit this fall.

An innovative three-hour course, Food and the Environment, will be taught online via the Internet. It is sponsored by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Florida A&M University.

The course is offered at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and is targeted at secondary teachers of science, environmental education, vocational agriculture, social studies and computer sciences, said Professor M.E. Swisher, who coordinates the course at UF along with Professor Anne Todd Bockarie. Teachers in other subject areas who are interested in the interaction between food production and the environment as well as ways to teach using the Internet may also be interested in the class, Swisher said.

Interested students will meet on campus twice during the semester for a hands-on computer workshop on accessing the Internet and for practical field exercises on farms and streams, said Florida A&M Professor Cassel Gardner, who coordinates the class for FAMU.

Participants also will meet weekly on the Internet as they use videos, printed materials, case studies and other teaching activities at home or in their schools. As a final activity, students will develop lesson plans to integrate environmental skills and concepts into their own curriculum, which will be shared within the network of six other universities in the Southeast, Gardner said.

Course highlights include:
* Six short videos on sustainability, water quality, biodiversity, ecological economics, soil erosion and energy conservation, with printed exercises and innovative curriculum examples.

* An intensive computer workshop on how to e-mail, chat, use the World Wide Web, ftp, surf the net for educational resources is combined with weekly practical Internet activities.

* A one-day field exercise on farms and in streams to demonstrate different hands-on teaching methods outside of the classroom for food production and the environment.

* Facilitated exchange of teaching ideas with teachers, students and other environmental and agricultural professionals in Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida for course activities as well as global networking on the Internet.

Those teachers interested in the course may receive more information by contacting Professors M.E. Swisher or A. Todd Bockarie at the University of Florida, Home Economics Department, P.O. Box 110310, Ph. 352-392-1869, Fax. 352-392-8196, e-mail: FAMU Professor Cassel Gardner can be reached at 202 Perry Paige Bldg. South, Tallahassee, FL, 32307- 4100, Ph. 904-599-3546, Fax. 904-561-2151, e-mail: