Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Using Microcomputers in an Online Introduction to Horticulture Class

Version 1 : Received: 24 June 2021 / Approved: 25 June 2021 / Online: 25 June 2021 (15:57:46 CEST)

How to cite: Burnett, S.E. Using Microcomputers in an Online Introduction to Horticulture Class. Preprints 2021, 2021060627. Burnett, S.E. Using Microcomputers in an Online Introduction to Horticulture Class. Preprints 2021, 2021060627.


Online courses in horticulture increase the breadth of students who may be able to enroll. However, it is challenging to create hands-on learning experiences in online classes that are valuable for student learning. In an online introduction to horticulture class at the University of Maine, we created a hands-on project that is appropriate for students to work on independently at home. Students built an environmental monitoring system using a relatively inexpensive Raspberry Pi microcomputer and sensors for monitoring environmental factors that impact plant growth with a particular focus on monitoring temperature and humidity. They monitored the growing environment in their homes while growing house plants and used the information from their environmental monitoring system to determine whether their home environment was suitable for growing plants. Students were asked to use a pre-existing computer program in the Python language to monitor the environment. They also learned about how components of the code function and changed some simple parts of the code. A majority of students working on this project felt moderately confident, somewhat more confident, or very confident about their ability to use a Raspberry Pi microcomputer in the future. This project provides students with valuable hands-on experience in building environmental monitoring systems and provides them with a deeper understanding of the impact of the environment on plant growth.


Raspberry Pi; undergraduate education; distance learning


Biology and Life Sciences, Horticulture

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