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NC State Extension

Non-Credit Courses FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I apply a discount code?

If you are an Extension Master Gardener, Extension Master Naturalist, or an Extension professional,  ask your county horticulture agent for the discount code. If they do not already have the code, ask them to send a request from their work email account to

If you volunteer at JC Raulston Arboretum, ask the volunteer director to give you the discount code.

Once you have the code, register for the class. The very last step before you pay is to apply a discount code. Enter the code in ALL CAPS

How to apply discount code

Does any Extension Master Gardener or Extension Master Naturalist in the country qualify for the Master Gardener Discount?

Yes, any Extension Master Gardener or Extension Master Naturalist, whether in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or elsewhere, qualifies for the discounted rate. Your county Extension agent can give you the discount code. If your agent does not have the code, have them email to obtain the discount code for Extension Master Volunteers.

How do I Create an Account with REPORTER?

To pay for a course, you must first create an account with REPORTER, the registration system used by NC State for online courses.

You only have to do this once, no matter how many courses you take. After the first class, you log into REPORTER.

Create a Guest Account or click “Sign in/Sign Up” in the upper right corner of the registration page.

REPORTER account creation

How many hours of continuing education credit will I receive?

This will be up to your supervisor. The amount of time students spend on the course varies widely. Below is a course time estimate totaling 30 hours:

  • 1 hr Learning the Moodle platform (how the course website works)
  • 2 hrs Videos – often watched multiple times
  • 4 hrs Reviewing 45 plant profiles – plant factsheets and coursebook
  • 9  hrs completing online exercises, practice sessions, vocabulary games
  • 1 hr adding to the forum and critiquing others’ input
  • 6 hrs homework assignments
  • 1 hr reviewing pronunciations
  • 3 hrs quizzes
  • 2 hrs practice exercises for the final
  • 1 hr final

But most students will spend many more or many fewer hours. The course is a non-credit elective so all the assignments are optional, students complete the ones they find most helpful. Students may earn a Certificate of Participation by submitting each assignment and a Certificate of Mastery to show they scored 70% or more on each quiz and exam. Agents may request the student submit a copy of one or both certificates to award continuing education hours.

Many things go into an agent’s decision regarding how many hours of continuing education credit to award for a particular class. To ensure that volunteers have a wide variety of training experiences, some agents do not allow more than 10 hours of credit for a particular class, no matter how much time the student spends.

Before you sign up for this class, check with your agent to determine what credit you may earn for completing this class and what documentation they will require.

How does the course work?

The course is self-paced. There are short videos and a variety of learning exercises for you to complete online. You log on whenever you want during the 6 weeks the course is open and do as many activities as you like. The instructor will be available to answer questions and provide feedback on assignments. There are quizzes for each section and an optional final exam.

Are there any fees other than the registration fee?

None are required, but you may purchase a printed copy of the eBook used in class. It has plant profiles and detailed photographs of plant identification characteristics. The cost varies with the class topic. Books are purchased directly from the NC State Printshop. Once you register for the class, detailed information on ordering a color or black-and-white copy of the book is available. On average, the color book is $60, and the black-and-white version is $20. Shipping is $11.

Are there specific times or days of the week I will need to participate in the class?

No. This is an asynchronous, fully online, self-paced, non-credit course. You may participate anywhere that you have access to the internet. You will have access to the course resources 24/7 for 6 weeks of the class and 6 months after the course ends. There are no required presentations or set times you will need to meet online.

Once I have registered, how do I find the class?

  • Go to REPORTER and click on “My Courses”
  • You will see a list of all of the classes for which you have registered
  • At the end of each line is a link to “Access Online Content” — click that button to take you to the class.

How to access the course from REPORTER

What can I do before the class starts?

As soon as you register, you can access the introductory material on the course website. Use the time before the course starts to familiarize yourself with the website and review the introductory material on plant identification.

Now, you can learn about plant ID to help you sail through the course. Visit places where plants are labeled (botanical gardens, arboretums, demonstration gardens, nurseries, etc.). Review your books and magazines, focusing on the types of plants that will be featured in the course. Look closely at leaf shape and bloom structure and notice the details and the differences. Once the class starts, you will see the world in a whole new way.

How can I get on a watchlist to be notified for the next class?

To get a notification when enrollment opens for the class you want, you must add your name to the NC State Reporter site watchlist. Search on the course, for example: ‘Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture’ in the catalog, and you will see a pink notification box in the upper right-hand corner. Click on the Watchlist. If you need to create an account in Reporter, follow these directions: How do I Create an Account with REPORTER?