Thomas Fasulo email@example.com, 352-392-1901 ext. 136
GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Almost everything you need to know about pests and pesticides is available in a series of CDROMs developed by Thomas Fasulo, an entomologist with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The 33 tutorials cover everything from harmful to beneficial insects, plus information on pesticide safety, labeling and emergency responses.
Fasulo created the CDs to help Florida pesticide applicators in pest control, agriculture and other industries obtain the continuing education units (CEUs) required for state re-certification.
“Although many county extension offices and industry associations hold training sessions, there is still a need for this education and training,” Fasulo said. “The CDs provide high quality education for operators, and they can obtain the training on their own time versus formal classes that may interrupt their work schedules.”
Unlike Internet training, which may require a new log-in and payment, the CDs are reusable.
“Not only can pest control operators be educated, which was our initial goal, but the technicians that work with them can benefit from this training as well,” Fasulo said. “When you buy the CDs, you can put them on a computer in the office, and then the technicians can receive their state-required training at no additional cost because you have already paid the $15 or $25 for the tutorial. However, for licensed applicators, there is a small fee to process the CEUs because we have to maintain records for the state.”
The CDs, which are compatible with all Windows operating systems, take from one to two hours to complete. Once installed, the interactive tutorials give the viewer both pictorial and text questions. In addition, the material in the tutorial can be easily reviewed.
“These are not tests, but tutorials — their purpose is training.” Fasulo said. “You can take the tutorial as many times as you need to achieve the required 80 percent to 90 percent passing rate.”
After finishing the tutorial, the operator prints a copy of the state attendance form as well as the tutorial results form with their passing score. These are mailed to UF’s CEU Verification Office, where the paperwork for re-certification is completed.
Industry response to the tutorials has been favorable. Leon Jennings, project manager for OneSource Landscape and Golf Services in The Villages, Fla., has been using the tutorials for the past four years.
“I think they’re great,” Jennings said. “Besides being convenient and easy to use, the quality of information is as good or better than some of the other methods I have used. Not only will I continue to use the tutorials, I would recommend them to others.”
Fasulo said many of the CDs also are approved for re-certification in Arizona, Vermont and West Virginia. And companies in other states use them for training.
Fasulo currently has 13 Bug Tutorial CDs (two tutorials on each CD), five Pesticide Label Tutorial CDs and two Core CDs, which cost $15 or $25 and provide one or two CEUs, depending on the CD. For more information visit the UF/IFAS Buggy Software Web site at http://pests.ifas.ufl.edu/software/