New greenhouse and horticultural lighting non-credit online course now available

This self-paced online course discusses the fundamental concepts of greenhouse and horticultural lighting and is now available through eXtension.

The Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting course covers fundamental concepts about the three dimensions of light: duration, quality, quantity.

The Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting course covers fundamental concepts about the three dimensions of light: duration, quality, quantity.

Michigan State University Extension is now offering a non-credit, pre-recorded online course on Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting. It is the second course in the College of Knowledge Online series offered on the eXtension campus, the national Extension website. The first was Root Zone Management, which was first offered in 2013. The course is intended for greenhouse and ornamental plant growers and others interested learning about the fundamental concepts about how plants respond to light quality, quantity and in 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 teaches students about light intensity and its importance for plant growth. It also covers 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 also 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 (DLI). Unit six covers photoperiod and photoperiodic 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 DLI and the factors to consider when selecting a lamp for your horticultural application.

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

Students enrolled in this self-paced course will take a pre-test and a final exam to gauge their progress on the topics of the course. 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 campus.extension.org for $129. The course will also be offered in Spanish in the future.

For more information: check out the Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting flyer. To register, go to the Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting Event page.

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