All course information is listed within this syllabus.

PLANT 200: Introduction to Agricultural Crop Growth, Form, and Function (3 credits). This course provides an introduction to various aspects of plants including growth strategies, cellular makeup, genetics, and reproduction. Special attention will be paid to gardening, crop biotechnologies, and to plant adaptations in response to environmental stressors.

Prerequisites: BIO 110 and SOILS 101


Instructor for PLANT 200

Dr. Christina Call
Assistant Professor

Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
115 Buckhout Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-863-4292
E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Research Interests

  • Agricultural Education
  • Online Education
  • Plant and Seed Pathology

Course Overview

This course provides an overview of the structural components of cells and plants. It introduces students to the fundamentals of plant growth and tissue systems. It will help students better understand physiological processes in plant growth and survival and enumerate the systems involved. The course will educate students on how plants interact with their environment and adapt to abiotic and biotic stimuli. It will introduce basic principles of plant genetics and crop biotechnologies. Finally, the course will describe the impact of human selection, genetic engineering, and climate modifications on plant development and food production.

Course Objectives

The primary purpose of this course is to provide the student with a foundational understanding of agricultural crop growth and development.

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Identify and discuss the structural components of cells and plants
  2. Discuss the steps in the growth of tissue systems
  3. Discuss how plants interact with their environment and adapt to abiotic and biotic stimuli
  4. Discuss the physiological processes in plant growth and survival and enumerate the systems involved
  5. Recognize the basic components of plant genetics
  6. Discuss the impact that human selection, genetic engineering, and climate modifications have on plant development and food production

Course Outline

Module 1: Cells the Building Blocks of Plant Growth

Module 2: Seed and Root Biology

Module 3: Biology above the Ground

Module 4: Plant Adaptation to Extreme Environments

Module 5: Adaptations to Fulfill Basic Needs

Module 6: Fundamental Plant Functions

Module 7: The Uptake and Use of Water, Mineral, and Light

Module 8: Photosynthesis

Module 9: Reproduction

Module 10: Strategies of Inheritance

Module 11: Genetics of Flowering Plants

Module 12: Early Development of the Plant Body

Module 13: Genetic Engineering

Module 14: Global Climate Change

Module 15: Feeding the World

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials

Most World Campus courses require that students purchase materials (e.g., textbooks, specific software, etc.). To learn about how to order materials, please see the Course Materials page. You should check the World Campus Course Catalog approximately 3–4 weeks before the course begins for a list of required materials.


ISBN: 978-1429219617
Raven, P. H., Evert, R. F., & Eichhorn, S. E. (2013). Biology of Plants (8th ed.). W. H. Freeman and Company.

ISBN: 978-1604690958
Capon, B. (2010). Botany for Gardeners (3rd ed.). Timber Press.

For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College website.

Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. It is very important that you purchase the correct materials. If your course requires one or more textbooks, you must have exactly the correct text required (edition and year).


Weekly Assignments
Assignment Due
Weekly Readings in Capon Text Wednesdays
Weekly Readings in Raven Text
Post Initial Response to Discussion Wednesdays
Post at Least Two Discussion Responses to Peers Sundays
Weekly Twitter Fridays
Weekly Quiz/Exam/Final Exam Sundays

This course includes one leaf collection project worked on throughout the course and is due the day of the final exam.

Final Exam

A 100-point final exam will be given during finals week. The online final exam is comprehensive and will be given in a specified scheduled time frame just as the quizzes are administered. The final exam is given in the same open-book manner as the quizzes and is Canvas graded. Students must take the final exam individually and may not share answers or work collaboratively.

Late Submission Policy

Students are responsible for any of their missed work. The instructor will not inform students of any missed work. Each module builds upon one another and the time frame of each one is planned to be one week. Assignments can be submitted at any time during the week but will not be accepted for full credit after the date and time indicated. To ensure a reasonable turnaround time of approximately 1 week, you must submit on-time. For weekly contributions to discussions, quizzes, and the final project, no credit will be given if submitted after the due date.

For the weekly reading assignments and peer review, if the deadline is missed, you can achieve up to 50% credit by turning in prior to the next quiz. After that quiz date, no credit will be awarded.

Grading Policy

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value Weight
Twitter Assignments 150 15%
Discussions 110 15%
Quizzes 120 15%
Exams (2) 20 20%
Herbarium Project 15 15%
Final Exam 100 20%
TOTAL: 515 100%
Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 94%
A- < 94% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 84%
B- < 84% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 77%
C < 77% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Penn State Policies

Log-In Policy

Students are expected to log-in regularly to keep up-to-date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class for each semester and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures and the Code of Conduct).

Read the Academic Integrity Guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's Academic Integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity at the Report Bias webpage.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation.

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 814-863-0395
  • Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
  • Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741
  • Mental Health Providers (all campuses)

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.