Botany 431 - Physiological Plant Ecology

Problem Based Learning

It is possible to come to a class and take notes, review the notes prior to completing an examination on the information and then go away and forget everything you learned for the exam. The information has not become a part of your toolkit for lifelong learning and living. However, your chances of remembering material are much greater if you have to work with it and integrate it with information from other sources and your own prior learning. Our libraries are filled with vast amounts of information so it is first necessary for you to decide what it is that you need to know, to find the information you need and then integrate it with what others have found. To help you with this, the course will be built around a series of problems on how plants interact with their environment.

Throughout the course there will be a series of text readings, in the required text book and on-line, that review major physiological principles and methods. However, that material is there to serve as a background overview. It is possible that your own problem solving work may require you to examine one of those principles or methods before it has been covered in the readings. In addition, you will almost certainly have to introduce material from other areas of plant biology, physiology, ecology or science that are not covered explicitly in this course. Your aim will be to confront problems not limit your thinking and understanding to the readings.

We will be using the problem based approach because:

To complete the problem based exercises you can choose to arrange yourselves into small groups. How the groups will function will be decided by those groups. Assessment will be an integration of group and individual evaluations.

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