Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the two courses Organic Master Gardener and Organic Horticultural Specialist are the same. The reason for the two course titles is based on preferences expressed by educational partners and different students groups. When registering for this course please register under the course name that you would like to appear on your certificate of completion.
Q: I don't live on Vancouver Island, is my region covered in the Organic Master Gardener course? Is the Organic Master Gardener course relevant for areas outside of Canada?
A: Yes, the course is designed to be completed wherever you live in the world and during any season. Whether you live in an apartment or on a farm has no impact on completing the assignments. The course is designed to take students from all over the world into consideration. The information taught is universal. If alternatives are required at any time, this can be discussed with your Facilitator.
All of our courses are designed to accomodate students across Canada and around the world. The information taught in our courses is universal. Students taking Ecological Plant Knowledge courses (Natives or Ornamentals) will become deeply familiarized with their own ecosystem and its plant communities.
Q: Can I send proof of completing programs that included SketchUp Pro and horticulture to act as my prerequisites for the Ecological Landscape Design program?
A: No, we do not accept other education programs as equivalent prerequisites for the Ecological Landscape Design Online course.
Q. Do studies at Dalhousie fulfill the prerequisites for these courses?
A. Courses done at other institutions (not Gaia College curriculum) are not accepted to count for a prerequisite course.
Q: Is the Mac book Pro a sufficient device for the Landscape Design Basics with Sketch Up Pro?
A: The Mac book Pro would be sufficient in ‘brain power’ to do the work. However, we recommend an additional screen to have a larger workspace to work with.
Q: Are there supplies and/or materials that are required to complete assignments in the Organic Master Gardener / Organic Horticulture Specialist course or for any of the other courses that are offered?
A: No gardening supplies or tools are required to complete the assignments other than having a shovel on hand to take a soil sample. All course materials and resources are supplied as part of the course fee. If there is a textbook that is required to be purchased for a course, that information can be found on our website, under your course 'Text' tab.
Q: Can I use RESPs at Gaia College?
A: Yes, Gaia College is on the Certified Educational Institutional list for RESP eligibility. You can find the list here
or contact them by phone at 1-800-267-3100.
Q: Are your fees Canadian dollars?
A: Yes, all our fees are listed in Canadian dollars.
Q: What payment options do you accept?
Q: Are your courses tax deductible? Do you issue a T2202A?
A: We issue a T2202 for tuition paid directly to Gaia College. Students that register with an education partner need to contact that education partner.
Q: When do you send out T2202As?
Q: Do you have sponsorship, grants, or bursaries?
A: We are proud to offer the Heide Hermary Memorial Bursary. There are also options you can check out through WorkSafe BC, WorkBC, or BC Center for Women in The Trades, but we do not do the paperwork for you and your employer may be the one doing the paperwork.
Q: Do you have International Student funding or visas available?
A: No, we do not. Our courses are online and available worldwide 3 times a year; and, may be completed from your own home.
Q: Are your courses eligible for student loans?
A: No. There are options you can check out through WorkSafe BC, WorkBC or BC Center for Women In The Trades but we do not do the paperwork for you and your employer may be the one doing the paperwork.
Q: I am planning on completing my Diploma, and was wondering which online courses are available in which upcoming term?
A: Please see the course schedule calendar:https://www.gaiacollege.ca/diploma-planning-course-schedules.html
Q: Are there any special technical skills required to complete the course(s)?
A: No, most of our courses are complete units ready for the first time gardener. These are 'college' level courses and students need to be computer-savvy (email, log-in/log-out, typing skills [recommend 50wpm], downloading/uploading files, etc.), able to converse well in English, and able to dedicate the time needed to read, understand, and problem solve the coursework each week in a timely manner.
Q: I've never taken an online course, is it hard?
A: Studying on-line is very different from learning in a face-to-face classroom setting. It may be more convenient – or for some it may be the only way they can take our courses - but it is definitely easier.
The University of Illinois has provided some excellent pre-assessment information for potential on-line students.
Please complete the online Self Evaluation before you decide to take one of our courses:
You can also please read the article entitled
'What Makes A Successful Online Student?'
Q: Do I need to use a computer to complete this course?
A: You must have access to a computer capable of running a current version of FireFox or Chrome. Tablets and phones are not supported at this time.
Q: I'm not very good with computers, is that okay?
A: Our courses are College level courses, and the appropriate computer skills are needed to complete the coursework. We've found an online testing site that will help assess your computer skills to see if you are ready for online work.
Try the 'Essential Computer Skills section (using the appropriate test of the last two; either Windows or Mac)
Try the Microsoft Word, and Social Media test as well to establish your literacy with computers.
If you did not pass, get help with the problem areas and try again.
Current job titles in the labour market include:
Organic Gardener, Organic Landscaper, Organic Landscape Maintenance Worker, Organic Plant Grower,Organic Market Gardener / Farmer, Organic Landscape Designer, Rainwater Harvest Consultant, Organic Gardening Educator, Organic Turf Specialist, Organic Soils Consultant, Living Soils Consultant, Organic Garden Consultant, Organic Garden Designer, Organic Master Gardener, Organic Land Care Practitioner, Organic Land Care Professional, Permaculture Designer, Permaculture Consultant, Edible Garden Designer, Edible Landscape Designer, Ecological landscaper, Ecological landscape designer, among others.
You can read our Why a Diploma in Organic Land Care to find out more about what people are doing and what organizations they're associated with.
The following are professional organizations that recognize our courses:
- Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA)
- National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP - USA)
- BC Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA)
- International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
- Master Gardeners of Ontario Incorporated (MGOI)
- Integrated Pest Management Canada (IPM Canada)
- Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
- Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
- Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
- WorkSafe BC
Q: Can I take more than one course at a time?
A: Yes, you can take more than one course at a time.
Q: What is the maximum number of courses to take per semester?
A: This depends on the student's availability. It is important to consider that each course may require 6-10 hours per week. We often advise a maximum of 3 courses per semester. However, we have had some students take more than that with good results.
The question may arise why we are offering this course over a specific time frame, rather than letting each student study at their own speed. Our experience is that without firm deadlines most students do not finish the longer online courses - and we really want you to succeed!
So, for optimum student success, this course is being offered in an interactive online classroom format. The “virtual classroom” includes group interaction in structured activities such as discussions, experiments, and demonstrations, yet still maintains flexibility for the individual.
Our vast learning resources and networking facilities are always available to students, even after completion of the course. So if for some reason you are not able to complete the course on time you will still retain access to the information to review it at your own pace. However, to earn the Certificate of Completion all course work must be completed by the end of the course term.
Q: How much time each week should I commit to a course?
A: We recommend 6-10 hours per week for each of our courses.
Q: Is it a problem if a lesson cannot be completed in the specified week?
A: Each week covers a different topic and you'll want to complete one topic before moving on to the next. Students are expected to complete their work on their own time during each week. If you are not available during the week, discuss it with your instructor and they will guide you in how to work ahead or catch-up.
Q: Am I able to see a detailed syllabus? I wasn't able to find one on the website
A: A detailed course calendar is available in the online classroom once the course starts. In the meantime, you can view the course outline associated with each course on the course overview page.
Q: Do you have a Course Outline available?
A: Yes, the course outlines are within the course overview of our website, on the tab marked 'Overview and Outline'.
Q: Are printed materials available or provided for your courses?
A: No, we are unable to provide printable versions of the slideshows from our courses.
Q: How long is the course?
A: Courses run 14 weeks.
Q: How often is the classwork? I would like to organize my time.
A: Each of the online classes have specific weekly hand-in dates which you will see when you start the course. Other than that, it is up to you to organize when you do your work; we recommend a regular daily routine (early morning, before work - last thing at night, before bed). We recommend a minimum of 6-10 hours per course per week, depending on the course. Specific information is available in the 'Studying Online' tab of each course.
Each of the classroom courses will have their own format.
Q: Are students required to participate in live sessions?
A: No. Students do not have to participate in live sessions. All lessons are completed on the student's own time.
That is indeed a challenge, but frankly, allowing "enough" hands-on experience is always difficult even in a classroom course. So the hands-on portion of the course has been incorporated into the assignments, where students get to put their newly acquired knowledge to practice. This is even more fun if you can get a friend to take the course with you!
Depending on the course, some of these activities may require access to soil and composting materials. Students living in climates where the ground may be covered in 2 feet of snow for the duration of the course have the option to choose an alternative assignment, or take the course at another time of the year.
1. Create an account
- Create a Gaia College student account by visiting www.gaiacollege.ca/account-information.html
- Fill in your information and click “Save”. Clicking “Save” automatically logs you in.
- Please record and save your username and password.
- Proceed to Step 2.
2. Register for your course
Find your course on the course overview page and click on it. Select your preferred semester and follow through the payment process.
You will receive more info the week prior to the course start date on how to access your online classroom.
3. Accessing your course on the course start date
Your course will not be visible until the course start date. On the course start date (or after that date), login (gaiacollege.ca/login), click Online Campus and you will find your course listed in the center panel.
Learn more about how to access your online classroom and/or watch this short video tour of the Online Campus:
Courses are only available on the course start date. We are unable to grant students access beforehand. On the course start date you can login to the Gaia College website and visit the Online Campus to find your online classroom and you will see your course listed in the “My Courses” block in the top center of the page.
Learn more about how to access your online classroom.
When completing the course in the winter, before the ground freezes solid, collect a 1 cup soil sample from an area you'd like to have the soil tested for. You can keep it in a plastic bag in the freezer until needed for the course. This article describes how to take a soil sample: https://www.finegardening.com/article/how-is-your-soil-texture
The soil can crust over with frost/ice but just below the surface, with a good spade or pick the soil is usually dig-able; also, closer to buildings the soil freezes last.
Q: Is there a timeline on how long I would need to complete the other courses in order to obtain the diploma as well?
A: No, there isn't a timeline for completing the diploma. You can find the diploma requirements here: Diploma Requirements
Q: Can I access the online resources even after I finished the course?
A: Yes, you will have access indefinitely to the resources of this course. Once the course is closed, you will get transferred into the Alumni course where the most up to date resources are made available. This may take some time...please be patient.
Q: I've downloaded Google Chrome but I'm having trouble installing it on Windows 10, can you help?
A: Follow this link (or copy and paste this link information into your browser window) [https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/6315198?hl=en] for instructions on installing Google Chrome from the download.
Q: Though I am logged in...it will not allow me to access the online course
A: Log out of our website and restart your browser before trying to login again. If this doesn't work, close your browser and restart your computer before trying again.
Q: I am registered, but I can't get into my course. Is there a problem?
A: You will be able to access your course on the course start date. The first module is about introductions and getting to know the system. You will have time to get familiarized with the online platform.
New classroom courses are not currently being scheduled as we focus more on online delivery and ways to make our curriculum more accessible.
Q: I've finished my course. Now what?
A: Congratulations! We know how much work that was. Certificates of completion will be mailed within a month of your course ending. If you've completed all the requirements for the Diploma, you can apply for that now here: https://www.gaiacollege.ca/diploma-in-organic-land-care.html.
Also remember to keep in touch. You can send us a Testimonial to use on our website and social networks or share your projects with us on social media or let us interview you for a newsletter profile.
Q: I need a transcript for my new employer. Can you send that to me?
You may retake an online course taken since January 2020. The retake must be within 1 (one) year of the semester originally registered in. There is a $400 administration fee. You can view our Course Retake Policy under our policies.
Where can I find my T2202 for the current tax year?
T2202s are sent out in February each year by mail or email. Log in (gaiacollege.ca/login) and navigate to Account Info - T2202 info in the top menu bar. Here you can update your SIN and delivery method (mail or email). If you do not specify a delivery method, it will be sent by mail.
I registered for a course in December - how come I haven't received my T2202 yet?
If you registered for a course in December, your T2202 will be prepared for the year the course is taken.
Where can I find my T2202 for a previous tax year?
I tried resetting my password but haven't received an email to do so - how can I login?