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Plant Pathology

Department of Plant Pathology


FAQs Online Courses

Frequently Asked Questions- Sick Plants and a Hungry World

  1. Who can take this course? A: Anyone, anywhere! Although marketed towards Master Gardeners, anyone interested in learning about plant diseases and how they shape how we live can take the course. History majors, teachers and industry folks have already taken the course! We've had people from 24 states take the course.
  2. What is the course about? A: The course is an introduction to the plant disease world. General information and terms on plant disease are covered, as well a specific plant diseases. Emphasis is on the social impact plant disease has played in shaping human society. Topics such as bioterrorism and phytosanitation are also covered. It is a good introductory level course for plant lovers.
  3. Why take this course? A: Master Gardeners are very busy people. Sometimes you are not able to make it to classes that are in other counties, etc. This course allows you to take it from the comfort of your own home or wherever you decide to log-on to the internet. It's self-paced too, so can complete it when you want! No logging on at certain times, etc.
  4. When is the course offered? A: The course is offered year-round! You can register and take the course at any time throughout the year. It does not have to be during the regular university schedule. Take the course when you want to!
  5. How long do I have to take the course? A: Once you register and sign up for the course you will have 10 weeks to complete the course although you can finish it in 3 weeks if you wanted because the course is SELF-PACED!
  6. About how many hours a week should I expect to dedicate to the course? A: This really depends on how much time you want to dedicate to the course. Since it is self-paced you can spend however many hours per week you would like.  The course is made up of 10 modules/lessons (you can think of these are class sessions). The general rule is that if you complete a module a week you will finish within the ten week allotment. The modules do different in length, but generally you can expect to spend ~2-4 hours a week if you do complete one module a week.
  7. What if something comes up and I can't finish the course on time? A: No problem! E-mail the instructor, Sarah Williams (, and she'll take care of you!
  8. Where do I take the course? A: The course is available completely online! Once you register online you will be sent an email with the course web site and passcode. The course is offered through Moodle, a user-friendly online course management system. Once you create a username and password you'll be able to get into the course and start learning about plant diseases!
  9. Are there assignments? What am I required to do? A: The course consists of 10 modules. Within the modules are readings with self-tests. That's it! At the end of each module is a module self-test. There is also a midterm and final self-test. These self-tests are NOT GRADED! Basically if you complete the readings and self-tests, and show effort you can receive a certificate. You can take the self-tests as many times as you like to get a better score, even though the scores are not taken into account. The amount of work you put into the course is up to you!
  10. Is there a required textbook? A: No! All required readings can be found within the course. Optional readings from texts are listed, but are not required to complete the course. They are available if you would like to read more about a certain topic in the course.
  11. How many Master Gardener continuing education hours does this course count for? A: This depends on the state you are from. Talk with your county coordinator. In Ohio it is ten hours.
  12. Do I get anything when I finish the course? A: Yes! Once you complete the course you'll contact Sarah and an official certificate will be sent from the Office of Continuing Education at Ohio State! You will also receive your continuing education Master Gardener credit hours.
  13. Can I pay with credit card? A: Yes! Right now, paying with a credit card is the only option. If you do not have a credit card you can purchase a pre-paid $35.00 Visa gift card (for example) from your local Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc.
  14. Have questions? E-mail Sarah Williams at or call (614) 292-4854