Greenhouse College of Knowledge Online Courses Impact Report


May 31, 2020 - Author:

The Big Picture

661 participants took the greenhouse college of knowledge online courses and 42 U.S. states were represented by those online course participants.



The Floriculture College of Knowledge Online Course Series provides basic training to commercial greenhouse growers in Michigan, the U.S., and internationally in an easy-to-access and cost-effective manner. The online
course series was developed based on face-to-face College of Knowledge courses that were offered from 1999 to 2011. Implemented in fall 2015, three non-credit online courses are now offered twice yearly, in summer and winter. All courses are currently available in Spanish.
Each course offered between 2.5 and 4 hours of pre-recorded video, handouts, quizzes, and additional sources of information at a cost of $129. Participants evaluated their progress using self-assessment quizzes after completing each unit and completed pre- and post-course tests. Of participants surveyed:

73%  Biological Control for Greenhouse attendees who changed practices, impacting 1.34 billion square feet of greenhouse space. 

54% Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting attendees who changed practices, impacting 23.6 million square feet of greenhouse space.

94% Root Zone Management attendees who changed practices, impacting 6.2 million square feet of greenhouse space.


Biological Control

  • 86% of respondents* to the long-term impact survey made a change to their pest management practices because of the course.
  • 46% changed/added a natural enemy to their biological control program
  • 44% reduced the usage of pesticides
  • Approximately one-third of respondents: began a new biological control program, introduced natural enemies earlier in the crop cycle, or added banker plants to their pest management programs
  • 53% reported that they decreased the risk of their employees to pesticide exposure while 40% reported increased crop quality.
    *n= 70; Since course began in winter 2016-2017

Root Zone Management

  • 94% of respondents* to the long-term impact survey made a change to their nutrient management and irrigation practices because of the course.
  • 74% improved their nutrient management practices
  • 42% now regularly measure the pH and EC of their crops to optimize plant nutrition
  • 58% increased crop quality
  • 47% reported their changing their irrigation and nutrient management has saved their business money
    *n= 19; Since course began in summer 2017

Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting

  • 54% of respondents* to the long-term impact survey made a change to their light management strategy because of the course.
  • 79% were more confident that their light strategy was increasing plant quality and reducing production time
  • 74% of lighting sales representatives or consultants that took the course were more confident in matching types of lamps to greenhouse growers’ needs
  • 54% reported that the information in the course helped them purchase new lamps
  • 44% of respondents changed their night-interruption lighting strategy to promote early flowering of crops in order to save electricity and increase efficacy
    *n= 51; Since course began in winter 2015


A total of 661 participants took the online greenhouse courses. The participants represented 33 countries, U.S. 42 states, and 29 counties in Michigan. Forty-one percent of the participants were female and 46% reported that they were male.




Tags: ag impacts, agriculture, floriculture, florticulture, greenhouse crops, msu extension, online college of knowledge

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