Course Syllabus

Welcome to Agronomy 533 at Iowa State University!


Instructor: Carol Pilcher
Phone: 515-523-8290

Office Hours: Key activities during Office Hours include answering unclear content from modules.  This includes specific questions concerning material covered in the Assignments and Discussions.  You can also send me an email at any time and I will try to respond within 24-hours


Course Description: Integrated management systems are essential for important crop pests. This course will cover cultural, biological, and chemical management strategies applicable to major crops grown in the Midwest. This is a required course for the Master of Science in Agronomy degree program and Agronomy Graduate Certificate program.

Course Prerequisites: AGRON 514. Restricted to graduate students enrolled in MS Agronomy and Agronomy Graduate Certificate online degree programs at ISU. Students from other departments must get permission.

Course Overview

Not all modules in this course will take the same amount of time to complete. Please begin all modules on the start date to assure adequate time to cover all of the materials and complete the Assignments, Discussions and Reflections.  Each module and the timeline for the course is listed below.

  • Module 1: Introduction to Herbicide Chemistry
    Developed by Shawn Wright, Scott Heuchelin, and Mike Owen
  • Module 2: Herbicide/Plant Relationships Affecting Herbicide Efficacy
    Developed by Shawn Wright, Scott Heuchelin, and Mike Owen
  • Module 3: Herbicide Uptake and Translocation
    Developed by Shawn Wright, Scott Heuchelin, and Mike Owen
  • Module 4: Herbicide Metabolism in Plants
    Developed by Scott Heuchelin, Shawn Wright, and Mike Owen
  • Module 5: Herbicide Resistance
    Developed by Shawn Wright, Scott Heuchelin, and Mike Owen
  • Module 6: Disease Resistance in Plants
    Developed by Gary Munkvold and Scott Heuchelin
  • Module 7: Management Strategies and Effects of Cultural Practices on Diseases
    Developed by Scott Heuchelin
  • Module 8: Chemical and Biological Management of Plant Diseases
    Developed by Gary Munkvold and Scott Heuchelin
  • Module 9: Disease Management Practices in Agronomic Crops
    Developed by Gary Munkvold and Scott Heuchelin
  • Module 10: Insect Scouting
    Developed by Anthony Boughton, Jon Tollefson, and Scott Heuchelin
  • Module 11: Host Plant Resistance
    Developed by Don Holland, Jon Tollefson, and Scott Heuchelin
  • Module 12: Ecological Management and Biological Control
    Developed by Anthony Boughton, Scott Heuchelin, and Jon Tollefson
  • Module 13: Insecticides in Pest Management
    Developed by Jon Tollefson and Scott Heuchelin
  • Module 14: Integrating Pest Management Tactics and Managing Ecological Backlash
    Developed by Scott Heuchelin

To cover 14 modules during the 11-week summer session, we will cover more than one module per week. The final module will finish during finals week, thus allowing us 12 weeks to complete all the course material.  Please note that modules 6 and 7 will both start on June 9 and will be due on June 18.  To guide you in your time management for this class, I have developed a schedule for modules during the semester. Module Assignments, Discussions and Reflections must be submitted by 9:00 PM on the due date (e.g., an Assignment with Thursday, July 2nd due date will be considered late beginning 9:01 PM Thursday July 2nd). Late Assignment scores will be docked 10% per day late (a 18/20 score becomes 16/20, then 14/20, etc.). Discussion submissions and Reflection submissions will follow the same deduction procedure.  Make sure to check the course calendar for when the module materials are due. 

It is imperative that you stay on schedule with the course material! You are encouraged to complete Assignments and Discussion postings several days in advance of their due dates. Read the Discussion threads! Information discussed in these Discussion threads may form the basis of, or be of great help on, future Assignment and Discussion questions. Also, be sure to check the course calendar weekly for current start and due dates!

Keep track of all due dates on the Agronomy 533 Course Calendar in Canvas.

Course Objectives

The objective of Agronomy 533 is to go in-depth on the baseline information presented in Agronomy 514 with advanced IPM concepts and applied management practices for each of the pest groups (pathogens, insects, and weeds). The students are expected to master this crop protection information so that they can:

  • Understand the basis for the many pest management tactics and strategies that provide crops protection from pests. The material presented in this course (Agronomy 533) will help you understand “how” and “why” various pest management tactics and strategies work.
  • Develop effective management systems to cope with pest outbreaks. By learning the various management tactics that help prevent and manage pest outbreaks, the student should be able to design effective management strategies for emerging pest problems in cropping systems of interest.
  • Trouble-shoot pest-management systems in the future.  A good knowledge of pest biology and pest management tactics is crucial for trouble-shooting ineffective management systems or fine-tuning a pest management system that is not performing as well as was expected.
  • Become a more well-rounded agronomist. Whether you will have the opportunity to implement IPM strategies in the future, or not, knowledge of these systems will aid you in understanding the complex interactions of pests and crops and how these interactions affect agronomic business decisions.

Course Structure

Your ability to use a web browser, input assessment responses via text-editing software such as Microsoft Word, and access all the technologies will directly influence your success in the course. If you have not already done so:

  1. Visit the MS Agronomy website and look for the section titled "Browser and Computer Compatibility Test: Your Results". Ensure your computer passes all areas of the test. This will ensure your ability to fully utilize the online course materials.
  2. Then, visit the MyCanvas Student guide developed by Iowa State University. Complete the first module, called “Getting Started in Canvas”, to learn about Canvas’s technical requirements and which browser you should use for Canvas.

The online course materials in Agronomy 533 consist of 14 modules.

For the compressed schedule of the summer course, some modules are designed to take 4-5 days to complete. Your activities will include the following:

  • Reading any required textbook pages.
  • Reading the online modules and utilizing the included learning tools.
  • Completing and submitting each Assignment. The Assignments are designed to provide practice with concepts in the modules and, in some cases, to inspire deeper thought.
  • Responding thoughtfully to each Discussion Topic. The Discussion Topics are designed to help you gain perspective on how the concepts in the module might be applied in various situations.
  • Completing and submitting each Module Reflection. The reflections are designed to help you think about the module concepts as a whole, to consider how module concepts apply to practical applications, and to let me know what is still unclear to you and/or if something has sparked an interest and you want assistance finding resources to learn more about the topic.
  • Asking questions at any time.

Required Textbook

Some modules will have required and/or suggested readings in addition to the textbook assignment. These readings will be available to you via the Agronomy 533 page in the University Library's Course Reserve System.

  • Agrios, George. Plant Pathology. 5th ed. January 2005. Elsevier Science. ISBN 9780120445653
  • Pedigo, Larry and Marlin Rice. Entomology and Pest Management. 6th ed. November 2014. Waveland Press. ISBN: 9781478622857

Instructor Interactions

Office Hours: Key activities in Office Hours include answering unclear content from modules, review of key module content, assignment issues/questions.

Email: Feel free to message the instructor via the Canvas Inbox or Outlook if you have any questions or concerns.

Discussions: Discussions will be student based. The instructor will make additional comments and answer questions after discussion is complete.

Graded Feedback: I will try my best to grade Assignments, Discussions and Reflections 7-10 days after the due date. Be sure to check your graded submissions for comments regarding your work and look for weekly emails addressing common issues I find while grading your submitted Assignments, Discussions and Reflections.

Grading Procedures

Assignments     ~67%
Discussions     ~20%
Reflections     ~13%
 Each module is worth 30 points        100%



There is one Assignment for each module. The Assignment(s) is worth 20 points for each module. Check the course calendar for due dates. Points earned will be docked 10% per day starting after 9 PM of the due date.

Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics are worth 6 points per module. Answering the discussion questions AND following up on previous postings with thoughtful, detailed responses are required to gain full credit for the discussion topic. A full credit submission must include three posts.  One post must be a short paragraph and the other two posts must each contain more than two sentences.  If you have a single discussion post and do NOT interact with the fellow students in the discussion group, you will not receive full credit.  Excellent discussion submissions can result in bonus points.

Discussion Groups

The class will be divided into two or three discussion groups depending on the size of the class. You will only have access to your group's discussion board. Everyone has access to the Course Discussion Board.

Module Reflection 

Reflection submissions are due the same day as Assignments. Reflection entries are worth a total of 4 possible points per module. This exercise is designed to help you reflect on the module, self-evaluate areas of each module that will be most beneficial to you, and communicate with the instructor on any areas that may be unclear.


Communication Policy

All communication within the course should adhere to university standards of Netiquette at ISU. Specifically, communication should be scholarly, respectful, professional, and polite. You are encouraged to disagree with other students, but such disagreements need to be based upon facts and documentation. Please promote an atmosphere of mutual respect throughout the discussion interactions. Please contact me if you have suggestions for improving the interactions in this course.

For this course, communication will occur primarily via the Canvas Inbox.  General announcements may also be posted to the Announcements section of Canvas. 

Be sure to properly configure your Notification settings or commit yourself to checking Canvas daily for new communication.

Additional guidelines apply to communication within your Discussion topics. Please review the Discussion Topics section above. I will monitor discussions are they progress and interject as needed. Following the Discussions I will provide summary feedback.

After the Module Reflections have been submitted, I will review them and email the students with the summary.

Constructive, personalized feedback for Assignments will be presented in Canvas under the comments section of the graded item.

Throughout the semester I will remain in contact with students regarding late assignments, helpful hints, or any other course announcements.

I am always available for an appointment by phone (515-253-8290). I will monitor the discussion board and my Inbox during "regular business hours" to address questions and issues that arise. I will try to check my email on weekends as I understand that many students are balancing work and this program.  I understand that students will work on this course during the weekend.  Typically, you can expect a response within 24 hours.  

Feedback Policy

All graded assessments will be returned with feedback 7-10 days after the due date. Be sure to check your graded submissions for comments regarding your work and look for weekly emails addressing common issues I find while grading your submitted module Assignments, Discussions and Reflections.

Academic Integrity Policy

The class will follow ISU's policy on academic dishonesty. Anyone suspected of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Students Office. It is your responsibility to understand ISU's policy on academic plagiarism. All Assignments and Discussions will be screened for plagiarized content. Please list references if they are used in the Assignments and Discussions.  There are several resources available to help you avoid committing academic misconduct.

Disability Accommodation

Iowa State University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Sect 504 of the rehabilitation Act. If you have a disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please contact the instructor to set up a meeting within the first two weeks of the semester or as soon as you become aware of your need. Before meeting, you will need to obtain a SAAR form with recommendations for accommodations from the Disability Resources Office, located in Room 1076 on the main floor of the Student Services Building. Their telephone number is 515-294-7220 or email Retroactive requests for accommodations will not be honored.

Harassment and Discrimination

Iowa State University strives to maintain our campus as a place of work and study for faculty, staff, and students that is free of all forms of prohibited discrimination and harassment based upon race, ethnicity, sex (including sexual assault), pregnancy, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or status as a U.S. veteran. Any student who has concerns about such behavior should contact his/her instructor, Student Assistance at 515-294-1020 or email, or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance at 515-294-7612.

Religious Accommodation

If an academic or work requirement conflicts with your religious practices and/or observances, you may request reasonable accommodations. Your request must be in writing, and your instructor or supervisor will review the request. You or your instructor may also seek assistance from the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance.

Study Tips

  • Start each module on the date indicated on the calendar. You will need to complete approximately one module every 4-5 days on average. As a general rule, allow about 6 to 8 hours per module (4 hours to do the module + 2 hours to do assignments and participate in discussions + 2 hours for text readings). Spread your study time over several days. Work ahead when you know that you will be out-of-town or unable to do a module during its designated week. Do not get behind!
  • Do each "In Detail" as you come across its link in the module. "In Details" sections contain required information. Also visit each FYI page, so that you know where this supplementary information is located.
  • Do each "Study Question" and "Try This!" as encountered. They are designed to enhance your learning, to provide opportunities to apply the information presented, and to let you evaluate your understanding of the material. They often expand on the concepts.
  • Assignments, Reflection, and Discussion Topics may be done as they appear or after you finish the module and readings. Be sure to submit all on time! While you may work ahead (if necessary), the most interactive environment occurs when all students are on the same module.
  • Interact with your classmates and instructor. Discussions on the discussion board can be used for anything relating to IPM or other pertinent agronomic topics. Many current events will occur while the course is in session, and they can provide good discussion and learning situations for everyone.
  • Do the text readings. Readings from the text and module complement each other and are required unless listed as “Optional Supportive Readings.” Although supportive readings are optional, they provide additional information to reinforce the concepts presented in the module. At the minimum, you should at least “speed read” or skim these readings.
  • Something unclear? Consult with your instructor and/or classmates.


Category Description Action

Course Content Support

Questions related to course content or grading should be directed to the course instructor. Instructor via Canvas Inbox

Student Support

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching is an organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, and enhancing teaching effectiveness and student learning at ISU.

Self-guided orientation which you may find useful.

CELT: Online Learner Support

Self-Guided Orientation

Canvas Technical Support

If you experience any technical issues while using Canvas, contact the Solution Center. The Solution Center's hours are posted on their website.

Solution Center

Technology support

If you have any technical issues while using the University Library's Course Reserves system, please contact the The Library's Help Desk hours are posted on their website.

For all other technical issues, contact Agron DevLab Support. The Agronomy Development Lab staff is guaranteed to respond to requests within 24 hours during regular business hours. All requests made during the weekend will be addressed first thing Monday morning.

Agron DevLab Support

Library staff

Writing Support

The MS Agronomy program has built a Writing Guide to help answer some of the questions you may have while working on your courses.

Deborah Burns is available for one-on-one consultations and can assist you with any part of the writing process. Schedule an appointment with Deborah through the CELT's website (Links to an external site.) or via email.

Writing Guide

CELT Website (Links to an external site.) or email.

Library and research support

Anita Kay is the liaison librarian to the Department of Agronomy. She can help find any article, book or any other piece of information that you want assistance finding.  Anita has also built a really useful Agronomy Research Guide (Links to an external site.).

Anita Kay
Agronomy Research Guide (Links to an external site.)

Department Contact

Contact Dr. Allen Knapp, Associate Chair for Academics in Agronomy, if issues persist after working with the support systems listed above.

Dr. Allen Knapp

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Course Summary:

Date Details Due