All course information is listed within this syllabus.

TURF 436W: Case Studies in Turfgrass Management (3 credits). A writing-intensive course that uses case studies as a means of learning to solve turf and soil problems. The course focuses on recognizing problems, analysis of problems, formulation of solution strategies, developing plans of action, and evaluating the results of management actions.

Prerequisites: TURF 238 and TURF 425; or equivalent course work and field experience.

Recommended: ENT 317 and TURF 434

Instructor

Instructor for TURF 436W

Peter Landschoot
Professor of Turfgrass Science

Department of Plant Science
413 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Education

  • B.S. Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S. Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Ph.D. Plant Pathology, University of Rhode Island
  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Plant Pathology, Rutgers University

Professional Background

  • Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, The Country Club of Rochester, 1977-80.
  • Assistant Professor Turfgrass Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 1989-94.
  • Associate Professor Turfgrass Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994-2003.
  • Professor Turfgrass Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 2003-present.
  • Professional Societies: Crop Science Society of America, American Phytopathological Society, International Turfgrass Society, and American Society of Horticultural Science.
  • Editorial Service: Associate Editor Plant Disease (APS), Senior Editor Plant Disease (APS), and Co-editor International Turfgrass Research Journal (ITS); Associate Editor Applied Turfgrass Science (CSSA).

Course Overview

Case Studies in Turfgrass Management is a 3-credit, advanced course for students with an interest in turfgrass science and management. The objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the processes involved in solving turfgrass and soil problems at the managerial level. Using real-life scenarios provided by the instructor, students will learn to recognize problems, analyze problems, identify issues that need to be addressed to correct the problems, formulate a set of strategies for solving the problems, implement a plan of action, and evaluate the results of the action plan. Once these processes have been assimilated, students will be assigned cases that involve challenging turf and soil problems. Students will then write and submit reports that identify the problems in the cases, analyze the problems, identify issues that need to be addressed, formulate strategies for solving the problems, select the most feasible solutions and develop an action plan, and evaluate outcomes. Students will be evaluated through reports, exams, quizzes, and class participation.

Course Requirements

All students must first complete five lessons involving an orientation case, referred to as the Oak Hill Case. These lessons are designed to walk you through the problem-solving process and help you formulate a plan of action. Each student will then write and submit a report on the Oak Hill orientation case and be tested on the concepts presented in the modules. Your instructor will assign two more cases to each of the 10 teams. You will be informed of the cases that you will be working on next to your name in "People" in Canvas. Once you have been assigned your cases, you will interact with other team members and share ideas and/or information about the cases. Each individual team member will then write and submit two reports (one for each assigned case) containing the following components:

  • A brief description of the problems provided in the case
  • A detailed analysis of why the problems are occurring (factors that led to the existence of the problems)
  • Identify the issues that need to be addressed to correct the problems
  • Propose strategies for addressing issues and correcting the problems
  • Develop an action plan for implementing the strategies you have selected
  • Devise a means of evaluating the results of your action plan

Towards the conclusion of this course, you will develop your own case study and construct a report that covers all the components listed above for the other case reports. This is referred to as a Topic Case and can involve an internship experience, a work-related experience you are experiencing at present, or even a case that is fictitious. The only limitations are that the case will be original (not copied from a previous class or given to you by a classmate) and that it must fit into the problem-solving format used in the orientation and assigned cases.

More details on writing reports are listed in the "Case Report Format" document.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of TURF 436W, students will have:

  • improved their abilities to exercise judgment and assess options in turfgrass management.
  • improved their abilities to work with teammates to solve problems and make decisions on turf and soils related issues.
  • improved their abilities to describe and defend problem analyses and management decisions in writing.
  • a greater understanding of turf management principles and considerations involved in a wide array of turfgrass management systems.

Course Schedule

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

Course Materials

Although there is no required textbook for this course, links to the supplemental reading material will be provided and assigned for specific lectures and cases.

Assignments

The total number of points for the course is 100.

1 Orientation Case Report, 2 Assigned Case Reports, 1 Topic Case Report

Before submitting reports for the Oak Hill orientation case and the two assigned cases, each team member will use their team discussions to communicate with other team members about each case. While each individual will be responsible for writing his or her own report, team members are expected to share thoughts, ideas, and information regarding their cases. Each student will post to their team discussions, his or her ideas and information for each case examined.

Individual reports must be submitted by the due date. The sections of these reports will include:

  • a brief description of the problems or situation
  • a detailed analysis of the problems
  • a bulleted list of issues emerging from the analysis that needs to be addressed to correct the problems
  • a detailed set of strategies proposed for addressing problems
  • an action plan (preferable as a table) for implementing the strategies selected
  • a brief description of how you plan to evaluate the action plan

Reports for the orientation case, your two assigned cases, and your topic case.

Up to 10 points will be awarded by the instructor for each of the reports for the orientation case, the two assigned cases, and the topic case, for a total of 40 points.

All students enrolled in this course are responsible for reading all of the 20 assigned cases and must complete all quizzes associated with all these cases. Students will also be responsible for learning the material covered in modules associated with these cases.

Team Participation

Students and the instructor will use the team discussions to discuss the problems, analysis, strategies, action plans, and other topics related to the orientation and assigned cases.

Overall participation will be evaluated by the frequency, intensity, and appropriateness of student work on the cases and posting to team discussions.

Up to 3 points will be awarded by the instructor for posing appropriate questions to each teammate submitting a report for the orientation case and each assigned case, for a total of 9 points for the three cases.

Team Selection Bio and Case Quizzes

Your first assignment will be to complete a brief Team Selection Bio sheet containing the following information: your name; location of your place of work or home (city, state, country); work experience, positions held and length of time; and specific interests in turf golf, sports turf; lawn care, and your primary agronomic interest (i.e. soil physical properties, diseases, fertility, construction, etc.). An example of a Team Selection Bio sheet is provided within the Oak Hill Case (Week 1) module under "Activities."

The Team Selection Bio is worth 1 point towards your final grade. The information contained in your bio sheet will be used by the instructor for placing students in teams.

Each of the 20 assigned cases must be read by all students. After reading each case, you must complete a 10-question quiz on topics associated with the case. You can take as much time as needed to complete the quiz and can refer back to the case for information; however, you can only take the quiz once.

Each quiz is worth 1 point, for a total of 20 points.

3 Exams

Exams will be based on course content, mostly from modules associated with the orientation case and the assigned cases. Each exam will be announced ahead of time, and worth 10 points for a total of 30 points.

Grading Policy

Grading Criteria
Requirement Weight
Team Participation and Team Selection Bio 10%
Quizzes 20%
Exams 30%
Case Reports 40%
TOTAL: 100%
Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage Points
A 100% – 92% > 92
A- < 92% – 90% 90–92
B+ < 90% – 87% 87–89
B < 87% – 83% 83–86
B- < 83% – 80% 80–82
C+ < 80% – 75% 75–79
C < 75% – 70% 70–74
D < 70% – 63% 63–69
F < 63% < 63

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.

Using Tutor.com

Tutor.com is a 24/7 tutoring service that provides students with assistance in coursework, test preparation, research, writing, and more for various subjects. The tutors are subject-matter experts, and each student will have personalized one-on-one sessions with them. Students can schedule their own tutoring appointments to engage in interactive sessions that include a whiteboard and chat feature. The service can be utilized on any device that has Internet access. Students are encouraged to use the service throughout the semester.

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.