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This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 44 No. 1, p. 43-50
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
     
    Received: July 15, 2014
    Accepted: Feb 16, 2015
    Published: December 18, 2015


    * Corresponding author(s): maja.krzic@ubc.ca
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doi:10.4195/nse2014.07.0015

Teaching Sustainable Soil Management: A Framework for Using Problem-Based Learning

  1. Maja Krzic *a,
  2. Arthur A. Bomkeb,
  3. Melanie Sylvestrec and
  4. Sandra J. Brownd
  1. a Faculty of Land and Food Systems/Faculty of Forestry, Univ. of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
    b Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Univ. of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z4
    c Faculty of Land and Food Systems/Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, Univ. of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
    d Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Univ. of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z4

Abstract

Postsecondary institutions are currently developing and applying innovative curricula to meet the future demand for land managers and planners with a solid knowledge of soil science. The objective of this study was to describe and evaluate the University of British Columbia (UBC) Farm problem-based learning (PBL) case study within the upper level, undergraduate/graduate Sustainable Soil Management course. The UBC Farm case led to compilation of a student-generated data set that dates back to 2004 and allowed students to work in collaboration with the UBC Farm managers and staff. Preliminary student feedback indicated that the UBC Farm case was effective at presenting the impacts of agricultural management practices on soil chemical properties and overall soil quality concepts. In addition, students found the hands-on activities of soil sampling, data interpretation, and working in collaboration with the farm staff to be stimulating. Having the opportunity to involve students in data collection each year allows instructors to build depth into the case, to ask more complex questions, and to cooperate with the farm manager in focusing on specific issues of relevance to the farm that change over time. This educational approach could serve as a framework for using PBL within postsecondary soil science curriculum in ways that support both student learning and natural resource management.

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