Students in the viticulture program get many different classroom experiences during their time at LMC. From biology and chemistry courses to English and math, students experience small classroom sizes and individual attention from LMC instructors in many general education courses.
MSU courses are held in the interactive television room where the instructor can be in East Lansing, Traverse City, or there in the same ITV room. There may be sessions at LMC for some of the MSU courses as well. These labs meet where needed and can be at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center on Hillandale Road in Benton Harbor, or any of the local farms where students might be invited to practice their new skills.
All VESTA courses are taught online and many have a field practicum component, which is simply a hands-on experience done with a local vineyard. Each course has different requirements and students are encouraged to find a new vineyard for each course to get exposure to a wide variety of styles in viticulture.
Expectations and Skills Taught
Viticulture students are expected to attend class regularly and keep up with the course work. While many courses have no specific attendance policy, missing class means missing assignments, quizzes, and important lecture discussions with information that is rarely in the textbooks but often finds its way to exams. Expect to spend at least two hours reading and studying for every hour of classroom time at Lake Michigan College, and three hours for many of the MSU and VESTA courses.
The Classroom Environment and Technology
While the traditional lecture is still the standard format for most courses, it is often used during the assigned lecture time which may be broadcast to LMC students during class in the Mendel Center’s interactive television room. Students are expected to also access the MSU ANGEL website where additional course work, website links, lectures, and assignments can be accessed. Students also have access to the MSU and LMC libraries via the Internet and will be required to use these resources for some courses. Students will be required to use BlackBoard as required for any LMC and VESTA courses.
Many MSU and VESTA courses also have a lab component in addition to the lecture. Depending on the course, this means students could be pruning grape vines in a nearby commercial vineyard, working with Petri dishes in a laboratory, or installing irrigations lines as practice.
Additional Program Costs
In addition to LMC tuition, MSU tuition, fees, and books, there are other tools horticulture students may be required to purchase. Items like hand pruners, hand held magnifying lenses, insect collecting and display tools/equipment, and/or a memory stick. These costs could be approximately $250 over the two year program.
Every MSU student is also expected to have their own computer. Laptops are often the most convenient as they are lightweight and mobile enough to come to classes and be used on the go. VESTA students will also need a high speed internet connection, microphone, and speakers on their computers in order to participate in the interactive online courses that meet weekly.