Morrisville State College

Dr. Walid H. Shayya
School of Agriculture and Natural Resouces

Course Outline for AGSC 132



Fall 2017

Blackboard Access of Course Material On-line (for students enrolled in the course)


Dr. Walid H. Shayya

Instructor Contact Information


AGSC 132 introduces the student to site-specific crop management and precision farming. The course also involves the application of selective computer software and hardware in site-specific crop management.  In addition, the course focuses on providing the student with an overview of the basics of global positioning system (GPS), an introduction to geographic information systems (GIS), and an introduction to remote sensing. Students enrolled in AGSC 132 will be introduced to these important systems through lectures and laboratory exercises. At the successful completion of the course, the student will be expected to have gained practical knowledge of GPS, GIS, and remote sensing technologies an their potential applications in precision agriculture and site-specific crop management.

2 credits (1 lecture hour, 2 laboratory hours), fall semester


At the successful completion of AGSC 132, the student is expected to have:

  1. Developed an understanding of precision agriculture and its major components including yield monitoring, soil sampling on site-specific basis, and variable rate applications.

  2. Gained an understanding of GPS technology and its potential applications on the farm, including site-specific crop management and precision agriculture.

  3. Gained an understanding of the concepts of GIS and the important role GIS plays in the overall management of the farm as well as site-specific crop management and precision agriculture.

  4. Considered the importance of remote sensing and digital orthoimagery and how critical these may be for farm management and the implementation of a site-specific crop management system.

  5. Recognized the importance of computer technology and how computers can be applied effectively in agriculture management and precision farming.


The instructor has the following designated office hours per week:

  • Mondays: 10:00 to 10:50 a.m.
  • Tuesdays: 9:00 to 9:50 a.m. and 10:00 to 10:50 a.m.
  •  Wednesdays: 10:00 to 10:50 a.m.
  • Fridays: 10:00 to 10:50 a.m.

If necessary, students are also encouraged to make appointments to see the instructor at other times.


AGSC 132 is a two-credit hour course.  It includes three contact hours per week (one for lecture and two for laboratory).  One section of the lecture and three sections of the laboratory are offered during the 2017 Fall semester.  The schedule of the offered sections is as follows:

  • AGSC 132 - Section 1 Lecture:  Meets on Tuesdays (11:00 to 11:50 a.m.) in Room 203, Bicknell Hall.
  • AGSC 132 - Section 01 Lab.:  Meets on Thursdays (2:00 to 3:50 p.m.) in Room 102, Marshall Hall (and at times in the GPS/GIS Computer Laboratory currently located in Room 208, Bicknell Hall -- as will be indicated in class).
  • AGSC 132 - Section 02 Lab.:  Meets on Thursdays (11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.) in Room 102, Marshall Hall (and at times in the GPS/GIS Computer Laboratory currently located in Room 208, Bicknell Hall -- as will be indicated in class).
  • AGSC 132 - Section 03 Lab.:  Meets on Thursdays (9:00 to 10:50 a.m.) in Room 102, Marshall Hall (and at times in the GPS/GIS Computer Laboratory currently located in Room 208, Bicknell Hall -- as will be indicated in class).


Each student must purchase the following two course manuals which are available from the campus store.

  1. Shayya, W.H., 2017. Introduction to Computer Applications in Precision Farming (12th Edition).  Morrisville State College.

  2. Shayya, W.H. 2016. Introductory Exercises Using QGIS Desktop (4th Edition).  Morrisville State College.

The first manual includes the instructor's PowerPoint presentations (printed in handout format), pertinent reading material, material for homework assignments, and printouts of some laboratory exercises.  The second manual includes the GIS exercises to be completed during several of the course laboratories.  Course material is also available on-line under Blackboard which is accessible only by those students who are enrolled in the course.  Numerous resources are available on-line pertaining to the course's main topics of precision farming (, geographic information systems (GIS.COM, USGS), and the global positioning system (Trimble).  Students are encouraged to be actively involved in acquiring some pertinent knowledge from these and other resources available on the worldwide web. 


Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Disability Services (DS) office immediately to register for services and receive a Notification of Disabilities form. Once you have this form, we will meet privately, to discuss your specific needs.   Although you may register for services at any time, please attempt to make arrangements within the first two weeks of the semester so all appropriate academic accommodations can be set. 


  • Attendance: First and foremost, students must always plan to be in class on time.  Given the nature of the course, all students are also required to attend all classes and laboratories.  Attendance will be taken during each class session and appropriate actions will be taken when students are absent for more than 20% of the course.  A student with a few or no class absences during the semester will receive favorable considerations during the grading process when s/he is close to receiving the next higher letter grade.  No make-up examination will be given without a written medical excuse, family emergency, or prior permission from the instructor.  Students are responsible for all material covered in the class whether presented orally during the lectures (and laboratories) or assigned.
  • Student Behavior: As students in a technical program are preparing for a professional career, all students are expected to conduct themselves as professionals (in both manner and dress). Good behavior in the classroom is expected from all students.  Students who engage in unacceptable or disruptive behavior will be asked to leave the class.

    • Eating, drinking, or the consumption of any tobacco products is prohibited in the classroom situation (lecture hall, classroom, laboratory, or field). Doing so may result in the student's dismissal from that class period and will count as an unexcused absence.

    • Cell phones and pagers must be turned off during instruction time.  Use during or disruption of class by these devices will result in the student's dismissal from that class period and an unexcused absence. Laptop computers may not be used during the lecture.

  • Assignments: This course will include several laboratory exercises and homework assignments (to be turned in electronically, except when otherwise indicated) that will account for about 30% of the final grade.  Therefore, it is important that students complete their assignments accurately, neatly, and submit them on time.  Assignments received past the due date will be devalued 5% for each day that the item is late.  No class assignment of any student will be graded (for credit) once the same assignment is corrected and returned to the class.
  • Examinations: Class examinations will cover class material, homework and Laboratory assignments, and assigned readings.
  • Honesty Policy and Discipline (Due Process): Honesty and integrity are major elements in professional behavior and are expected of each student. Any assignment (including those in electronic media) submitted by a student must be of the student's original authorship. Representation of another's work as the student’s own shall constitute plagiarism. Cheating, in any form, is an unacceptable behavior within all college courses. Students having academic problems should consult their academic advisor or a college counselor. Instances of cheating will be dealt with in accordance to Morrisville State College policy. Standards of academic honesty and due process procedures for Morrisville State College are located in the Rules, Regulations, and Expectations section of the Student Handbook.

  • Things to remember: The material covered in AGSC 132 is not particularly difficult so long that the student keeps up with the material (understanding earlier lectures and laboratories will be critical to grasping concepts presented in subsequent lectures).  Each student should plan to spend at least three hours per week for every lecture convened in class.  Given the course's focus, students are also urged to spend the time in completing laboratory exercises and course assignments on time (and independently).  Completing assignments well before the due date will give the student a chance to ask questions should s/he encounter problems.  Students also should remember to ask questions of the instructor when they face difficulties, whether inside or outside the classroom.  The instructor has an open-door policy and welcomes the opportunity to visit with students whenever needed.


Evaluation is a shared responsibility between the teacher and the student. The purpose of the evaluation is to demonstrate how well the professor has taught and the student has learned specific course materials, the principles, concepts, and terms relevant to the covered topics.  Evaluation is also intended to assess the student's ability to utlize the acquired knowledge and how s/he can use this knowledge in problem-solving.

The breakdown of grading in this course will be as follows:

  • Class Work Ethic and Participation ==> 5% of final grade
  • Laboratory Exercises ==> 15% of final grade
  • Homework Assignments ==> 14% of final grade
  • Two Progress Examinations ==> 36% of final grade
  • Final Examination (comprehensive) ==> 30% of final grade

The distribution of grades in this course will be based on the A-F College grading scheme. The letter grades correspond to the following percentage scale: A (90-100%), A- (87-89.9%), B+ (83-86.9%), B (80-82.9%), B- (77-79.9%), C+ (73-76.9%), C (70-72.9%), C- (67-69.9%), D+ (63-66.9%), D (60-62.9%), and F (<60%).


Week - Date

Lecture Topic*

1 - Aug. 29 Introduction to AGSC132
2 - Sep. 5 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) Fundamentals
3 - Sep. 12 Differential GPS (DGPS)
4 - Sep. 19 Wrap-up Lecture on GPS
5 - Sep. 26 Introduction to GIS (GIS.COM, USGS)
First Exam Study Guide
6 - Oct. 3    Progress Examination 1 - Tuesday, October 3
7 - Oct. 10    October Break (no lecture)
8 - Oct. 17 QGIS and Farm Works Office Software
9 - Oct. 24 Map Scale Examples and Topographic Maps
10 - Oct. 31 Measuring, Monitoring, and Mapping Crop Yield
11 - Nov. 7 Soil Sampling and Analysis
12 - Nov. 14 Variable Rate Technology and Second Exam Study Guide
13 - Nov. 21    Progress Examination 2 - Tuesday, November 21
14 - Nov. 28 Remote Sensing
15 - Dec. 5 Digital Orthoimagery and Final Exam Study Guide
16 - Dec. ?    Comprehensive Final Examination (to be scheduled during the finals week)
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Week - Date

Laboratory Topic*

1 - Aug. 31 Precision Farming: An Overview (50-minute Lecture, No Laboratory Exercise)
2 - Sep. 7 Introduction to Windows and Pertinent Computer Software
Installation of DNR GPS Software for use with Garmin GPS units and QGIS
3 - Sep. 14 GPS Demonstration and Practice 
4 - Sep. 21 Differential GPS Exercise
5 - Sep. 28 QGIS (Installation), GoogleEarth (Installation and Demonstration), and Bing Maps (Demonstration)
6 - Oct. 5 Review of the Results of Progress Examination 1
QGIS Exercise 1: Getting Vector Data into QGIS (QGIS Tutorial)
  - Overview of QGIS
  - Exercise overview
  - Working with vector layers
  - Working with vector data attributes
  - Concluding remarks
7 - Oct. 12 QGIS Exercise 2: Querying and Symbolizing Vector Data (QGIS Tutorial)
  - Overview of QGIS
  - Exercise overview
  - Querying vector layers
  - Symbolizing vector layers
  - Concluding remarks
8 - Oct. 19 QGIS Exercise 3: Labeling and Classifying Vector Data (QGIS Tutorial)
  - Overview of QGIS
  - Exercise overview
  - Labeling vector layers
  - Classifying vector data
  - Concluding remarks
9 - Oct. 26 QGIS Exercise 4: Creating Maps (QGIS Tutorial)
  - Overview of QGIS
  - Exercise overview
  - Getting started
  - Using QGIS map composer
  - Concluding remarks
10 - Oct. 2 QGIS Exercise 5: Map Projections and Inventory Operations (QGIS Tutorial)
  - Overview of QGIS
  - Exercise overview
  - Getting started
  - Changing the map projection
  - Measuring distances
  - Measuring areas
  - Managing scale
  - Concluding remarks
11 - Nov. 9 QGIS Exercise 6: Creating Vector Data (QGIS Tutorial)
  - Overview of QGIS
  - Exercise overview
  - Getting started
  - Creating a line vector layer
  - Creating a polygon vector layer
  - Creating a point vector layer
  - Concluding remarks
12 - Nov. 16 QGIS Exercise 7: Geospatial Analysis (QGIS Tutorial)
  - Overview of QGIS
  - Exercise overview
  - Getting started
  - Vector analysis
  - Terrain analysis
  - Concluding remarks
Second Exam Study Guide
13 - Nov. 23    Thanksgiving Break (no laboratory)
14 - Nov. 30 Review of Soil Sampling Results
15 - Dec. 7 Digital Orthoimagery Available from NYS GIS Clearing House
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*The topics and corresponding dates listed in the tables above are tentative and may be subject to change during the semester.