OLP400 - Organic Land Care Accreditation Course

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 13:27:02.143
Last review date 2018-07-20 13:27:16.353

Subject Title
Organic Land Care Accreditation Course

Subject Description
Soil is the foundation of landscape health. Whether you grow ornamental gardens, turf or vegetables, you need to understand how soil works. Most often soil is primarily looked at as a growing medium, something lifeless and sterile. However, soil is the exact opposite; it's an ecosystem and needs to be managed as such. The greatest biodiversity on earth occurs, or should occur, in the top few inches of soil. Soil ecosystem health and plant health are inseparably linked. Soil processes are universal, applying equally to ornamental landscapes, turf and agricultural crops. Our job is primarily one of fine-tuning. In this intensive, professional course you will learn how to assess the health of your soil and support the natural processes within the soil that result in plant health. You will learn how the uses of environmental toxins are counterproductive to achieving your landscape goals. A new decision making framework will be presented to enable you to work with nature to create and maintain healthy, beautiful landscapes, including lawns. Support for the process of transitioning a landscape from chemical dependency to organic self-sufficiency is what sets this course apart from traditional soil science courses.  The online course engages students with practical and hands-on projects and is for those with previous landscaping education/experience only.

This course meets the educational requirement for becoming a SOUL Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner, Canada?s credential for professional organic land care. The SOUL (Society for Organic Urban Land Care) accreditation exam is not included in this course and must be applied for separately at www.organiclandcare.org 
Continuing Education Credits can also be earned to maintain industry certifications (ISA, CNLA, BCSLA).

Credit Status
2 credits – 30 hours

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Define what organic means within the context of a new decision making framework for organic landscape management practices
  2. Explore the complexity of soil ecosystems by examining the pros and cons of various soil management practices
  3. Evaluate landscape management practices for their ability to support integrated ecological processes that result in increased soil quality, fertility, water attraction and retention, and plant health
  4. Recognize the differences between "Pest and Disease Management" and "Health Management”.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on http://library.senecacollege.ca for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at student.conduct@senecacollege.ca.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Demonstrated prior landscaping education/experience/employment

Topic Outline
Module 1:  Principles of Organic Land Care
Module 2:  Ecological Foundation of Organic Practices
Module 3:  The Soil Ecosystem
Module 4:  Health Within Ecosystems
Module 5:  Side Effects of Single-Minded Efficiency
Module 6:  Optimizing Biodiversity
Module 7:  Fine-tuning the System
Module 8:  Organic Turf Management
Module 9:  Organic Standards and Certification

Mode of Instruction
This subject will be delivered via the internet. This involves the use of the online materials and/or text, possible group discussions and consultation with your instructor via the online course platform. Students will be responsible for completing all online activities and participating in group discussions and working through textbook readings, quizzes, assignments, as required.

Prescribed Texts

Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online (http://www.senecacollege.ca/academic-policy) or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

  • Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on which they are due.
  • A late penalty of 10% per day is assessed for late assignments, including those not handed in at the beginning of class when due.
  • Material will not be accepted after one week following the due date and/or when the marked material is returned to students, whichever comes first.
  • Assignments are to be prepared by computer.

Absenteeism and Exams/Tests
  • Students should be aware that absenteeism almost guarantees an inability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • Students who are absent for an examination due to an emergency (e.g., motor vehicle accident, hospitalization or death in the family) may provide official documentation within five days of the missed exam and be provided a deferred exam at a later date.  Official documentation includes a death notice or an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time expected absence and the specific reason for the absence.  Examinations missed without official documentation and approval result in a grade of zero.
  • There are no deferred options for missed tests.  The value of missed tests, at the discretion of the Faculty, will be added to other evaluation components.

English Proficiency
  • All written work should demonstrate the following characteristics for clarity and conciseness:
-writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar
-spelling and punctuation are correct
-sentences are structured correctly
-main ideas are supported with specific, relevant examples and reasons
-work flows logically through supporting statements/paragraphs
-work is arranged in correct format (e.g., as a report, essay)
-up to 10% of the final grade may be deducted on all work if the above English competencies are not met.

Format for Assignments
  • Students must use the standard, APA style for quoting sources.   Help is available at:  http://library.senecacollege.ca

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

Assignments and Grading

Detailed assignment pages will be available for each assignment.

Discussion Board Commentaries and Responses (5) 28%
Assignments (1) 27%
Tests (9) 45%

A passing grade in this course requires a total of 100% for all tests (multiple attempts are encouraged) and a minimum of 75% for the total written assignments and a minimum of 75% for the discussion participation.  A certificate of completion with a final grading of Excellent (over 90%) or Satisfactory (75 – 89%) will be awarded when the minimum passing grade has been achieved. Below passing grade of 75% constitutes a failing grade (Unsatisfactory).

All the academic policies of the College at which you registered apply. This includes, but is not limited to policies related to grading, supplemental exams, deferred exams and accommodation


Approved by: Denis Gravelle