This is an example of a plant page from my woody plant course. Creating this course was a challenge because students would not be able to view and handle plant material in person. After discussions with faculty, nursery personnel, and students, I set about crafting a format where students would be able to learn the identifying characteristics of the plant through a series of representations. The first view of the plant that students receive is a 360-degree rotating image, which they can manually rotate and zoom to get a feel for the plant’s form. Studies have shown that physically interacting with an object (even if done virtually via a mouse) increases a person’s memory capacity and improves understanding of form, both of which are critical learning goals to be successful in this course. Below this interactive image, there are a series of images describing distinguishing characteristics of each plant, a detailed description, tips for landscape use, interesting facts, and a series of notable cultivars available in commercial nurseries.
Special thanks to Craig Aston of the Plants, Soils, and Climate Department at Utah State University who provided substantial information on each plant, and also to Schmidt and Bailey nurseries for making their extensive library of plant images available for use in the course.