APS 290         SPECIAL PROBLEMS (directed study)  Syllabus
Ben Romney  Office STC 310E Design Studio BEN 147/150   (208)496-4590 < romneyb@byui.edu>
mobile 208 313-4287

Course Description and Purpose:

The purpose of the special problems course is to provide opportunities for students to enrich their learning experience with areas of study that are not generally covered in the regular curriculum.  There are also at times opportunities outside the classroom for experiences that further enhance the education that is provided in the Applied Plant Science programs.  It should be noted that this class is not typically intended as a substitute for other courses in the department.  All enrollments in this course are subject to approval of the instructor. This course is a variable credit course, so you need to calculate the appropriate level of credit, from 1.0 to 3.0, for the project for which you intend to receive credit. (see "TIME COMMITMENT" below)

Objectives, or Outcomes:

Be able to plan, execute, and evaluate a learning experience
by proposing a plan for a learning experience, documenting the learning experience with a time log and other supportive information, then by evaluating the experience.
Be able to judge the necessary input for learning deeply, and the end result of the study or experience.


Assess the effectiveness of your planned proposed learning experience by the following methods:

General Guidelines:
 Although each of you will have your own specific requirements depending on the project you pursue, the following general guidelines will apply.

1.  TIME COMMITMENT: There is a time requirement of 30 hours for one credit, 60 for two credits, and 90 hours for three credits.  You must keep a log of time spent on this course, to be turned in at the end of the semester.  You should include the date, time spent, and the nature of activity every time that you are involved with study or experiential learning for this class.

2.  PROPOSAL: You should have a clear idea in mind of a particular subject or area of interest.  You must submit a written proposal to me by the end of the first week of the semester indicating your projected use of the time in the course.  Include a brief description or list of activities, some goals or objectives to achieve, and the general purpose of the time you plan to spend.

3. MID SEMESTER UPDATE, AND FINAL REPORT/TIME LOG: You are required to submit a brief update at the midpoint of the semester, and a final report, including a time log, prior to the last week of the semester. This report should summarize all activities, and evaluate how your goals and objectives were met.

4.  If you are working with another member of the Applied Plant Science Department Faculty, it is your responsibility to make certain that the faculty member that you are working with gives me an evaluation of your effort by the Friday before the last day of classes, so that you can receive proper credit for your study.  If you fail to do this, I will have no information to use for your grade, and you will not receive a passing mark.

5.  You are expected to email me regularly with an update of your progress on the project we have agreed upon.  You are responsible for keeping track of the learning experience, reporting it to me, and making sure I have your final report and time log by Friday before the last day of classes.

Here are several examples of previously concluded projects and proposals for you to gain an idea of some of the things fellow students have done with the Special Problems Course:

Presentation of Gardens and Historical Sites: United Kingdom and Ireland
I have a chance to go on the English Study Abroad trip to the Emeral Isles and England.  I want to take advantage of that time and place to document the different kinds of gardens that exist there, and see what influences were involved in their development.  I will create a power point of photos, with slides including detailed descriptions of the places, and how they came to be.

Buying a Flower Shop, from purchase to Three Years down the Road.
I want to document my experience of purchasing an existing floral business, and the ups and downs of the first three years of ownership.

Developing and raising crops in a hydroponic greenhouse.  I am going to work with Brother Willis to develop alternative crops, like lettuce, in the hydroponic greenhouse.  This will involve a lot of installation of the planting system on the walls of the greenhouse.  We will also be looking at what varieties of lettuce will work best in this environment.  I will create a power point at the end of the semester showing how things have developed.

My cousin is getting married, and wants me to do her wedding flowers.  I will consult with her, order, receive, process, and design the flowers for the event.  It should take me at least 30 hours of work from first consultation until the cleanup after the wedding.

I loved learning about plant propagation and home gardening.  I want to further my knowledge about herbs and their uses.  I will develop a web based collection of herbs, with information about source, propagation, and typical use of the herbs.  I want to include edible flowers in this as well.

I have heard a lot about growing things organically.  I want to do an indepth study of what is required for organic certification, and develop an information base that will help me answer customer questions about the quality of the plant products I am going to produce in my future career.

I plan to look at Horticulture Therapy, and find out what I need to do to further advance my education in that area.  I plan to get a Master's Degree in HT, so I want to look at programs in Denver, Kansas State University, Texas A&M, and others so I know where to appy and continue my career objectives.  I will include in my final report, a list of the different schools, the degrees they offer, the curriculum included, the costs, and also the possible careers the degree will lead me to.

“I would like to study and learn about the differences of the prices and types of floral designs and styles in different countries. I want to compare between what we do here in the U.S. possibly with Germany and India (Sri Lanka). These countries may change but I do want to get a good look at how different it would be on opposite sides of the world. I plan to look into their wedding styles, funerals, and see if they have any special holidays or traditions where they might use floral pieces.” -May 1, 2015

Landscape design for my brother’s front yard.  My brother asked me last semester to redesign the flower beds in his yard. It will include putting their house into VizTerra, handwritten drawings, input/thoughts/changes from my brother and his wife and a lot of plant studying.

I plan to gain certification in my field of study at the end of my senior year.  I want to use this time to prepare for the certification exams, then take the exams.  I will document the process, and have my certification to show for my time spent in this special problems class.


Here is a sample of a time log:

click here


I look forward to learning with you.


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