Plants and Human Culture

PLSC100 Overview
2006 Syllabus
Reflective Journal
Special Assignments
Postings and Responses
Guest Lectures
2006 Student Comments

Focused on people, plants and places, Plants and Human Culture (PLSC100) is a progressive new University of Delaware course launched in fall 2006 and now offered every autumn.  Beginning with the roots of agriculture and a visual survey of the world’s fascinating botanical diversity, the course is primarily devoted to exploring the evolving relationships between plants and an international variety of human cultures.  

This class is green, using no wasted paper.  Readings, assignments, projects and quizzes are all handled digitally using ‘MyCourses’, the University of Delaware’s  powerful learning management system for web-based teaching and learning. MyCourses utilizes WebCT’s easy-to-use course interface which includes a dynamic set of tools for learning, communication and collaborating.  Group projects using interactive problem-solving encourage students to become involved with one another in dynamic exploration of the course material.

Professor Susan Barton teaches the course utilizing a diverse group of guest lecturers to provide additional insight and experience.  Fall 2006 guest lecturers were Rick Darke, Richard Lighty, Ann Mattingly, Gary Schwetz, W. Gary Smith, and Doug Tallamy.  Rick Darke and Susan Barton worked together on course format and web design.
Themes and topics covered include:

  • the role of plants in building and sustaining human community and culture
  • contemporary environmental and conservation issues including water management, biodiversity, and the impact of invasive species
  • the pattern and presence of plants in a multitude of everyday landscapes, from pedestrian pathways to public highways and byways, from private back yards to corporate campuses

Students in 2006 reported that this course introduced them to material and concepts they’d never before considered, and that they found these topics intriguing and valuable to their everyday outlook and experience.  This website provides an overview of different facets of the course as taught in Fall 2006.

Plants and Human Culture (PLSC100) can be used to fulfill a Group C, Arts and Sciences Breadth Requirement at the University of Delaware.

Please email Susan Barton ( with any questions or comments about the course or this website.

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