PLNT*6240 (W) Colloquium in Crop Production & Management

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2017 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

An open discussion course designed to review and critically analyze contemporary issues in crop production and management.


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Graduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

Day and time to be determined at first class.

Classes will be held in Room 202 Crop Science Bldg, if possible.

Learning outcomes:

Specific Learning Outcomes:

Critical and Creative Thinking: Students will improve their critical and creative thinking skills and demonstrate competency in effectively summarizing and presenting scientific research, finding gaps in research publications, and writing a detailed summary and assessment of the literature. Students will have high level of competency in synthesizing ideas, and developing and supporting a scientific argument in written and oral formats;

Communicating: Students will develop improved communication skills by preparing and giving oral class presentations, leading and participating in full class discussions, and writing about biotic and abiotic plant stress topics;

Literacy: Students will develop improved research and writing skills through a thorough review of  peer-reviewed scientific literature relating to plant stress, and completing a writing assignment; 

Global Understanding: Students will read and evaluate scientific research from around the world, and relate this information to the topics for discussion.

The course will cover the major issues of plant response to biotic and abiotic stressors.  Areas of focus will include symptom development, recovery, defense mechanisms and effect on growth, development and yield. Students will research the topics in the scientific literature and provide a critical review of the information on plant responses to stress and compare the responses to different types of stress among various plant groups. 

Classes will be held during the semester for three hours and will be comprised of student presentations and student-led group discussions of the scientific literature as it relates to the concepts of the causes of plant stress and plant response to stress.

Lecture Content:

This course is structured as discussion sessions. There will be eight, 3 hour classes during the semester, which will consist of student presentations and discussion of the scientific literature relating to the topic of interest.   Each student will choose topics, and select three important papers about the topic,  to distribute to the class, for reading prior to class. Each student will prepare a 20 minute presentation on the topic of choice that relates to the overall theme of the course. .  Class presentations will be followed by student –led discussion.  Each student will present a minimum of twice during the semester and lead two discussion sessions.

There will be one written assignment on plant responses to a specific stress, due near the end of the semester (April 5). 

Labs & Seminars:

There are no labs or additional seminars scheduled for this course.

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Mark (%) Learning Outcomes Assessed

In class presentations

40% (20% each presentation)

Critical thinking, Communication, Global Understanding 

Leading discussion

15% (7.5% each time)

Communication, Critical Thinking, Global Understanding

Participation in Discussion


Communication, Critical Thinking, Global Understanding

Written assignment


Critical thinking, Literacy, global understanding

Marking rubrics will be available on CourseLink.

Final examination:

There is no final examination scheduled for this course.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

First chapter of The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan.  The book will be available from the Professor.

Article “ The Intelligent Plant” by Michael Pollan.  The file will be circulated to the class

Recommended Texts:

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan will be available from the professor.

Lab Manual:

There is no lab manual.

Other Resources:

Scientific literature, books and some general articles, available through the library.

Field Trips:

There are no field trips.

Additional Costs:

There are no additional costs

Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

All assignments are due just prior to class time and will be submitted in DropBox on Courselink. Presentations will be made in class.  Late written assignments will be accepted, with a reduction in mark of 10% for each day it is late, up to 5 days after the due date. Students are expected to read all of the assigned papers, attend each class and participate actively in the discussions.

Course Policy on Group Work:

All  assignments are to be individual work, conforming with the university policies of academic integrity.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

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The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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