Greenhouse and horticulture lighting online course registration opens June 1

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Michigan State University Extension is now offering the summer session for the non-credit, pre-recorded Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting online course. The course, which is to be completed between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2016, is intended for greenhouse and ornamental plant growers and others interested in learning about the fundamental concepts about how plants respond to light quality, quantity and duration. It provides introductory to moderately-challenging content based on experiments performed at MSU and Purdue University.

The three hours of pre-recorded lecture and video demonstrations are divided into seven units. The first and second units cover the properties of light and its importance for plant growth and development. The third unit discusses how light quality influences stem extension and flowering.


The fourth unit of the course teaches participants about light intensity and its importance for plant growth as well as the factors that affect light availability and how to manipulate and measure light intensity in the greenhouse. Unit four also features four videos that demonstrate how light transmission is affected by the glazing material of a greenhouse, how growers can measure instantaneous light intensity and daily light integral in their greenhouse, and how to measure light intensity and quality from light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The fifth unit of the course discusses how light quantity affects plant shoot and root growth and branching, focusing on responses to the average daily light integral. Unit six covers photoperiod and long-day lighting strategies, featuring the latest research on delivering long days with LEDs. The final unit on supplemental lighting discusses the advantages and limitations of different lamp types, provides guidelines of when to deliver supplemental lighting to increase daily light integral, and the factors to consider when selecting a lamp for your horticultural application.

The course is instructed by MSU greenhouse and nursery Extension educator Heidi Wollaeger. The course was adapted and updated from the original College of Knowledge unit developed by MSU professor emeritus Royal Heins, and includes a substantial amount of recent research by MSU professor of horticulture Erik Runkle. Supplemental content including videos demonstrating concepts are from MSU’s Roberto Lopez and Purdue University’s Garrett Owen.

Participants enrolled in this self-paced course will take a pre-test and a final exam to gauge their learning of the topics. Self-assessment quizzes will engage students with the material throughout the course. The course also provides links to 36 trade articles published on pertinent lighting topics. Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting is available through eXtension Campusfor $129.

Complete the course and receive a $20 refund! Once students have paid for the course, completed the pre-test, final exam and the post-course evaluation, they will be eligible for a $20 refund. Students must complete all criteria by Sept. 30 and have emailed the instructor, Heidi Wollaeger, at wollaege@anr.msu.edu by Sept. 30 to receive the refund. If all conditions are met, the cost of the course is thus reduced to $109.

For more information, check out the Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting flier.Register now for the Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting online course!

The course will also be offered in Spanish in the near future.