University of Vermont

Vermont Master Composter Course – Fall 2018

Course cost(s) subject to change for 2018 - Vermont residents only: the $50.00 course fee (i.e. $12.50 per live session) includes four live online Q&A sessions with instructors, an online course guide, and additional course materials.
Out of State fee: the $150.00 (i.e. $44 per live session) includes four live online Q&A sessions with instructors, an online course guide, and additional course materials.

Is this Online Course Right for You?

Although it may seem counter intuitive to have a Composting class online, the mission of UVM Extension is to make University resources available to individuals across the State of Vermont. The online platform provides us with a cost-effective way to reach people in many different locations, (rural and urban) that would not otherwise have access to one physical location.

The online Composter course is a way for individuals, without formal training in agriculture, to learn the theories and principals of soil science, and composting. In other words, this will not be a hands-on class, but rather a course that provides the background information you need to know in order to feel confident in your practical and theoretical knowledge. We suggest this course be taken as a first step toward learning more about composting. Students enrolled in this course must be self-motivated and able to spend at least 3 hours each week to complete assignments, quizzes, watching lectures and participating in Q&A sessions using a video conferencing system.

After this course, you may choose to take a local, hands-on course, or volunteer in your community. As a local volunteer, you are often asked to teach others and this is a great way to solidify your learning. Volunteering is organized at the local level, and not by the state office at UVM Extension.

We do not recommend taking this course if you do not have access to an up-to-date computer, if you are not comfortable using a computer, navigating the internet, using email, or using an online video conferencing application and web cam. You will be required to manage all of these components on your own in order to participate in this course. Unfortunately, we have a very small staff and we do not provide tech support. If you have any questions about this prior to signing up, do not hesitate to call our office @ 802-656-9562.

We take pride in providing a high quality, interactive and engaging online course. You might be surprised that you like the convenience of an online course, as it allows you flexibility to schedule your time around work, vacations and other family activities.

Course Details

Composting is practical, convenient and inexpensive. Learn how to turn food scraps and yard trimmings into compost for healthier, nutrient rich soil for your garden, lawn, trees and even houseplants. The online course will be offered statewide through Zoom video conferencing, and is an in-depth study of backyard composting taught by professionals within Vermont’s green industry. The live interactive Q&A sessions held from 6-7pm on four Tuesday evenings will allow students to interact with on-screen faculty to ask questions, while archived recordings of lectures will be available for students to watch at their convenience prior to the Q&A sessions.

Course Content

Course topics include Biology of Composting, Soil & Decomposition Science, Recipe Design, Compost Use for Disease Control, Site Tool and Container Selection, Managing the Compost Process, Troubleshooting, Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law.

MC Course Outline (course outline subject to change for 2018)

Module 1: Course Introduction

  • Watch Student Orientation Video
  • Take the pre-course survey

Module 2: Introduction to Composting-Mike Ather

  • Watch Lecture
  • Post 1 Discussion Question
  • Attend Live Q&A session
  • Module Quiz
  • Module Feedback

Module 3: Soil & Decomposition Ecology-Wendy Sue Harper

  • Watch Lecture
  • Post 1 Discussion Question
  • Attend Live Q&A session
  • Module Quiz
  • Module Feedback

Module 4: Using Compost, Mulch & Cover Crops-Mike Ather

  • Watch Lecture
  • Post 1 Discussion Question
  • Attend Live Q&A session
  • Module Quiz
  • Module Feedback

Module 5: Site Design and Management

  • Watch Lecture
  • Post 1 Discussion Question
  • Attend Live Q&A session
  • Module Quiz
  • Module Feedback

Module 6: Reaching and Teaching others (Self-paced) (Track 1 Only)

  • Watch Lecture
  • Module 6 Assignment: Volunteer Project
  • Module Quiz
  • Module Feedback

Module 7: Final Assignments Due

  • Post Course Survey
  • Final Exam

Instructors (2018 course instructors subject to change)

  • Mike Ather – Backyard Wilderness
  • Wendy Sue Harper – WSH Consulting
  • Natasha Duarte - Director, Compost Association of Vermont
  • Athena Bradley - Northeast Recycling Council Projects Manager

Computer Use

All of the content for this course is provided online. You will need basic computer skills, such as knowing how to download files and search the internet to access the materials successfully. If you have reliable, high-speed internet access and can hear sound through your computer, and have a webcam, you should be able to participate regardless of the type of computer or operating system you use. Please read carefully above, “Is this course right for you?” if you have any questions, or hesitations about taking an online course.

Course Manual

The Master Composter Course manual is provided to students in an online pdf format only. Students are welcome to download the document and print it at a local printing company.

Refund Policy

Tuition fee is non-refundable.

Accommodations

Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should contact the Master Gardener Program office - 802-656-9562 - master.gardener@uvm.edu

Course Requirements

Upon successful completion of the course, students may choose, but are not required to become certified Vermont Master Composter volunteers (See Track 1 below) by completing a volunteer internship of twenty hours of approved community outreach. You might share your new composting knowledge with others through talks and displays at fairs, farmers’ markets and other outlets, or assist with UVM Extension Master Gardener projects that have a composting component. Find out more about becoming a certified Vermont Master Composter .

Track 1: Vermont Master Composter Course and Volunteer Certification

Upon completion of all Online Master Composter course requirements, you choose to participate in a 20 hour hands-on volunteer internship in your local area to earn certification as a Vermont Master Composter volunteer. This could involve giving compost talks/demonstrations to local groups, writing newspaper columns on compost topics, staffing exhibits at fairs or farmers’ markets or participating in any number of Vermont Master Composter service projects in your community. Find out more about the benefits of becoming a Certified Master Composter volunteer.

Course requirements for Track 1 students include the following:

  • Watch Student orientation
  • Take the pre-course survey
  • Watch pre-recorded lectures prior to module
  • Quizes after each module (3 attempts allowed, highest grade accepted)
  • 1 Discussion Question per module
  • 1 Feedback survey per module
  • Volunteer Track 1 Only: Volunteer Project Assignment
  • Final Exam (70% or better, you can re-take it up to 3 times, and we’ll accept the highest grade)
  • Take the post-course survey
  • Complete a 20-hour hands-on volunteer internship by December 31, 2019 by volunteering on approved Master Composter projects and volunteer opportunities in your local area to earn certification as a Vermont Master Composter.

Track 1 Benefits:

  • Receive a course completion letter and intern badge upon completing all course requirements,
  • Receive a Certified Vermont Master Composter badge and certificate upon completion and reporting of 20 volunteer internship hours by end of the annual term

Track 2: Online Master Composter Course

Complete this track if you are interested in the course content and if you do not intend to become a Certified Master Composter volunteer, or if you live outside the State of Vermont. For Track 2, no Master Composter Volunteer Certification is awarded, there is no hands-on volunteer service required, and you are not able to use the title, “Certified Vermont Master Composter Volunteer”.

Course requirements for Track 2 students include the following:

  • Register for the MC course and choose Track 2: Online Master Composter Course.
  • Watch Student orientation
  • Take the pre-course survey
  • Watch pre-recorded lectures prior to module
  • Quizzes after each module (3 attempts allowed, highest grade accepted)
  • 1 Discussion Question per module
  • 1 Feedback survey per module
  • Volunteer Track 1 Only: Volunteer Project Assignment
  • Final Exam (70% or better, you can re-take it up to 3 times, and we’ll accept the highest grade).
  • Take the post-course survey

Track 2 Benefits:

  • Receive a Vermont Composter Course completion certificate. You will not become a “Master Composter”.

Still have questions?

Phone 802-656-9562 or email master.gardener@uvm.edu .

Vermont Master Composter is managed by the UVM Extension Master Gardener program with financial and technical support from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.


Comments from 2016 participants:

“Great informational resource. Even as a long time gardener and composter I still learned a great deal from the course presentations. The last class really helped to define the objectives and implementation of the Vermont Recycling Law. I can only begin to appreciate all the work and coordination that went into assembling this course and thank you all for that effort.”
“Overall, a good course. Easy to find and read the materials. UVM Extension staff were very helpful.”
“This was an amazing amount of information in one place about composting. I am very glad it was offered online as I could not have taken it any other way.”
“Great course! I plan on taking the Master Gardener course this year and volunteering to be certified in both. As a young adult renter who has always recycled, I was not aware of Act 148 and the impact it would have on VT residents. I am proud that VT passed Act 148.”
“Thank you so much for making this information available to Vermonters. It is so necessary and vital for our communities.”
“Outstanding set of classes that really ought to be in school classrooms as well.”

 

Last modified October 23 2017 02:44 PM