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Thursday, May 23, 2024

UF offers first bilingual course to horticulture students

The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has included UF students in its bilingual extension course for the first time.

The four-week course is called Nutrient Management in Container Crops and is offered in both English and Spanish. It’s made for farmers and those in the horticulture industry, who will earn a certificate upon completion.

The online course is offered online through Canvas to UF undergraduate and graduate horticulture students. They can earn class credits by combining it with other modules within the horticulture program. However, this is the only bilingual class offered to UF students.

"All the questions on quizzes are in both English and Spanish — answers, too," said Anthony Timoti, a 22-year-old UF horticultural science senior.

Timoti is enrolled in the course with nine other students plus the employees and employers in the field.

"It’s interesting," he said, "and since it’s an old extension course, it has a unique tone and pace compared to other online classes I’ve had."

The goal of the course and IFAS’s extension program is to make the research accessible to the general public, Timoti said.

Fisher said the course is advertised to local and international farmers online and in magazines.

The lectures are video-recorded in both English and Spanish by husband-and-wife duo Paul Fisher and Rosanna Freyre, UF environmental horticulture department professors.

"Part of the mission of UF is to support international development and sustainability in agriculture," Fisher said.

Close to half of the students who took Fisher’s summer course are from other continents, including Africa, Europe, Latin America and Australia.

Thirty-six percent of the students in his summer course were Spanish-speaking, he said.

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Fisher said some of his students will apply what they learn right away.

He said he will work on integrating UF students into the short course.

"Some of (my students) speak Spanish," Fisher said. "Some of them will learn Spanish. For people who work in horticulture, it’s a good idea to learn Spanish."

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