Turfgrass Health Management

TURF 852 Turfgrass Health Management (3): Lectures and exercises designed to develop student competency in solving turfgrass pest problems, as well as, disease resistance in turfgrass.


J Vargas

Joseph M. Vargas, Jr.
Professor of Plant Pathology
102 CIPS
East Lansing, MI 48824
Email: Use Canvas Inbox


  • B.S., Plant Science, University of Rhode Island, 1963
  • M.S., Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, 1965
  • Ph.D., Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, 1968

Professional Background

  • 1982-present, Michigan State University, Professor of Plant Pathology
  • 1974-1982, Michigan State University, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology
  • 1968-1974, Michigan State University, Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology
  • 1965-1968, University of Minnesota, Graduate Research Assistant
  • 1963-1965, Oklahoma State University, Graduate Research Assistant

Course Overview

TURF 852 is a Core Course in the Master of Professional Studies in Turfgrass Management graduate program. Its focus is on turfgrass plant health as influenced by diseases and other pests. It is a 15-week cohort-based course which means that it 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.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of TURF 852, students will have developed an understanding of concepts related to turfgrass plant health, including disease management, fungicide mode of action, fungicide resistance, and environmental stress, as well as other pest problems

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 introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Required Course Materials

The following materials are required:

Management of Turfgrass Diseases, 3rd Edition

For pricing and ordering information, please see the MBS Direct Web site. MBS Direct can also be contacted at 1-800-325-3252.

Materials will be available at MBS Direct 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).


The five practicum exercises are 40% of your grade. They are worth 80 points each, totaling 400 points.

  • Practicums consist of essay questions which 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 satisfactory completion of the entire set of practicum questions.
  • Individual grades for each practicum exercise are determined as follows:
    • 10 points for your initial posting of answers to your team's message board
      Criteria: Timeliness and completeness. Practicum answers will be submitted via the course tools provided in the course pages.
    • 20 points for posting 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.
    • 20 points for adequately responding to the questions posed by your teammates (and, in some cases, the instructor.)
      Criteria: Quality, comprehensiveness, and accuracy.
    • 30 points for your final posting of answers to your team's message board. Criteria: Timeliness and completeness, quality, comprehensiveness, and accuracy. Practicum answers will be submitted via the course tools provided in the course pages.

Quizzes: There are 13 quizzes within the course worth a total of 200 points. You have the opportunity to take each quiz 5 times. Practice! In computing your final grade for the course, the quizzes are worth 20% of the grade that you can earn for this course. The questions are just like those you will find on the exams.

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 100 points each and the final exam is worth 200 points. All exams are online and multiple choice.

Grading Scale

Letter Grade



A 1000-940 >94%
A- 939-900 <94 - 90%
B+ 899-870 <90 - 87%
B 869-830 <87 - 83%
B- 829-800 <83 - 80%
C+ 799-750 <80 - 75%
C 749-700 <75 - 70%
D 699-600 <70 - 60%
F < 600 <60%

Assignment Summary

Refer to your Canvas Syllabus under the Assignment Summary section or your Canvas Calendar for assignment due dates.


Canvas: https://psu.instructure.com

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.

A webcam or a headset with a microphone is required for this course. In addition, you will be required to use the following applications:

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.
  • Accessibility statement for Zoom.
  • Accessibility statement for VoiceThread.


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion forum postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum 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.).

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.

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 wellbeing. 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)
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week)
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week)
Mental Health Services

(814) 863-0395
(877) 229-6400
Text LIONS to 741741

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.