All course information is listed within this syllabus.

TURF 235: The Turfgrass (3 credits). Characterization of the primary plant species used for sports, lawns, and turf; includes turfgrass morphology, environmental adaptation, and cultural requirements.

Prerequisites: No prerequisite coursework is required; however some turf field experience and courses in plant and soil sciences, chemistry and biology would be helpful.

Instructor

Instructor for TURF 235

Andrew S. McNitt, Ph. D.
Professor of Soil Science

445 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

If you need to contact me regarding this course use the Canvas Inbox. I will respond within 48 hours during the week, and by the end of business Monday following the weekend.

Course Overview

TURF 235 provides the foundation on which the other courses (ENT 317, PPATH 412, TURF 238, TURF 434, TURF 425, TURF 435 and TURF 436) build. The focus of TURF 235 is to introduce students to the concepts, terminology, and processes involved in turfgrass management. This course provides a broad overview of turfgrass management; its coverage includes turf quality, turfgrass growth and development, turfgrass species, the turfgrass environment (including atmospheric and soil components of the environment), cultural practices (e.g., mowing, fertilization, irrigation, cultivation, topdressing, etc.), pest management (weeds, diseases, insects and other pests), and turf establishment.

TURF 235 is the logical "first course" in the certificate program in Turfgrass Management offered through the World Campus at Penn State. It is a 15-week cohort-based course which means that your course has an established start and end date and that you will interact with other students throughout the course. The units of study are all located within our password-protected course Web site. Like taking a course on campus, it will be important for you to keep up with the course work. For a more detailed look at what this course will entail, see the schedule below.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of TURF 235, students will have:

  • developed an understanding of concepts related to turfgrass management including:
    • how turfgrasses grow and develop
    • the nature of the physical environment in which turfgrasses occur
    • the cultural operations performed in turfgrass management, and
    • turfgrass species characteristics, including identification, environmental adaptation, cultural requirements and uses
  • applied concepts to solve simple problems in turfgrass management
  • communicated and worked together with other students through the course materials

Course Schedule

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

Course Materials

Required

ISBN: 978-1-7332881-0-1 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-7332881-1-8 (Digital PDF)
Turgeon, A. J., & Kaminski, J. E. (2019). Turfgrass Management Edition 1.0. Turfpath, LLC.

(Either format can be purchased. Students purchase from the Turfpath website.)

Assignment/Exams

The four practicum exercises are 40% of your grade. They are worth 50 points each, totaling 200 points.

  • Practicums consist of essay questions that focus on situations or problems relevant to materials that are being studied.
  • While each individual will be assigned questions to complete, the teams share responsibility for the satisfactory completion of the entire set of practicum questions.
  • Individual grades for each practicum exercise are determined as follows:
  • 10 points for "Initial Answer Post" are due on Sunday by 11:59 p.m. EST to your team's discussion.
    Criteria: timeliness and completeness. Practicum answers will be submitted via the course tools provided in the course pages.
  • 10 points for "Questions on Teammates Post" are due Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. EST by posing at least two original questions to each of your teammates, based on the answers they provided to their assigned questions. (Questions may be of several types: challenge questions, in which you take issue with something contained in an answer; clarification questions, in which you request a clearer statement in an answer; and elaboration questions, in which you request additional information in an answer.)
    Criteria: insight, responsiveness, and constructive criticism.
  • 10 points for "Response to Teammates Questions" due by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. EST by adequately responding to the questions posed by your teammates (and, in some cases, the instructor.)
    Criteria: quality, comprehensiveness, and accuracy.
  • 20 points for "Final Practicum Assignment" are due by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. EST. Submit your Practicum Assignment.
    Criteria: timeliness and completeness, quality, comprehensiveness, and accuracy. Practicum answers will be submitted as an assignment.

There are sample practicum questions available for your review within your course.

Quizzes: There are 24 quizzes within the course - one for each module for a total of 100 points. Each quiz is worth 4 points and you have 30 minutes to complete. You have up to 5 attempts to complete the quiz with the highest score will be recorded. The questions are just like those you will find on the exams.

Practice!

Exams: There are two one-hour exams and a comprehensive two-hour final exam. Together, all three of these exams make up 40% of your grade. Each one-hour exam is worth 50 points each and the final exam is worth 100 points. All exams are online and multiple choice.

The turnaround time for graded assignments is generally one week or less.

Grading Policy

Grading Criteria
Requirement Point Value Total Value
Practicums (4) Initial Post, 10 points each 40 200
Questions to Teammates, 10 points each 40
Response to Teammates, 10 points each 40
Final Practicum Submission, 20 points each 80
Quizzes (24) Each quiz, 4 points 96
Exams Exam 1 50 200
Exam 2 50
Final Exam 100
TOTAL: 500
Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage Points
A 100% – 94% 470–500
A- < 94% – 90% 450–469
B+ < 90% – 87% 435–449
B < 87% – 83% 415–434
B- < 83% – 80% 400–414
C+ < 80% – 75% 375–399
C < 75% – 70% 350–374
D < 70% – 60% 300–349
F < 60% < 300

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.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on the World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the Internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the Internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the Internet.

Accessibility Information

  • Accessibility statement for Canvas.

Netiquette

The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Support Services

As a World Campus student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the World Campus Student Services page for more information.

If you experience technology problems of any kind in Canvas, please select the Help icon and select "Report a Canvas Problem," "Chat with Support," or "Call Support." It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Vague descriptions of a problem only delay assistance. Try to include information such as: the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

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.

Privacy Policies

For information about Penn State's privacy statement and what it encompasses, please read their web privacy statement. Visit Penn State's FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff webpage for information regarding its rules on governing the privacy of student educational records.

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 Services

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.