Study Tips

  • Know the course format and make certain your computer is set up adequately. If this is your first course in the MS in Agronomy program, review the Setup Tools. It provides information about setting up your computer, program/course website resources, and how to use the courseware. For those who have already completed a course in the program, you may wish to review the setup lesson to get software updates and to find out any new resources available in the courseware.
  • Know the Agron 502 Course Calendar in Blackboard Learn. The calendar provides all of the start and due dates for required submissions in the course. If changes to the course schedule are made during the semester, the changes will be identified in the course calendar.
  • Do not fall behind schedule! Work ahead when you know that you will be out-of-town or unable to do a lesson during its designated week. If an unforeseen absence from the course occurs, please notify us at your earliest convenience so we can work together to get you caught up as quickly as possible.
  • Complete one lesson each week. Allow at least 8 hours per lesson (4 hours to do the lesson + 2 hours to do assignments and participate in discussions + 2 hours for text readings). Depending on your knowledge of the subject, you may spend less time or more time on a particular lesson.
  • Do each In Detail as you come across its link in the lesson. In Details always contain required information and often have study questions or other required information in them. The FYI pages are not required unless specifically noted. These are only for additional resource value.
  • Do each Activity as encountered. They are designed to enhance your learning, to provide opportunities to apply the information presented, and to let you evaluate your understanding of the material. They often expand on the concepts, so don't skip any.
  • Be sure to submit all Assignments and Discussion Topics on time. Discussion on topics with the class are not effective if the entire class doesn't participate in a timely manner. Assignments and Discussion Topics may be done as they appear or after you finish the lesson and readings.
  • Compose and save your Discussion Topic postings in Word. Use the spell-check and grammar-check features of Word to enhance your postings. Also, saving your work locally will avoid problems with submitting errors that may have consequences of losing your work and having to recompose.
  • Interact with your classmates and instructor. Visit the discussion board often! Discussions need not be limited to the assigned topics. Use the Course Info forum in the discussion board to ask questions, answer questions, share an interesting article or observation, or comment on current and relevant events. When you work ahead, be sure to go back and post your comments and responses to classmates during that lesson's scheduled week.
  • Do the text readings. Readings from the texts supplement the material presented in the lesson and are required unless stated otherwise. The online course materials are not intended to be complete by themselves. The text provides more detailed information in some areas and is to be considered as important as the online lesson modules. 
  • Get to know your classmates. Blackboard Learn provides student homepages and email addresses for your fellow students. Also the introduction discussion at the end of this lesson is a great way to get to know each other further.
  • Something unclear? Consult with your instructor and/or classmates through the discussion board or email. Don't be afraid to post your question in the discussion board unless it is of a personal nature. All can benefit from the response in the discussion board but not via email. An area is available on the discussion board for questions that you want to ask but would prefer to remain anonymous.