Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving Franklin, Jackson, Perry, Randolph and Williamson Counties

Main Office (Jackson County)
402 Ava Rd.
Murphysboro, IL 62966
Phone: 618-687-1727
FAX: 618-687-1612
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)

Branch Office (Franklin County)
1212 Route 14 West
Benton, IL 62812
Phone: 618-439-3178
FAX: 618-439-2953
Hours: M–F, 8:00 am-4:30 pm (closed 12:00 - 1:00 pm)

Branch Office (Perry County)
3764 State Rte 13/127
Room 110
Pinckneyville, IL 62274
Phone: 618-357-2126
FAX: 618-357-3934
Hours: Mon - Wed, 8:00 am-4:30 pm (closed 12:00 - 1pm)

Branch Office (Randolph County)
313 West Belmont Street
Sparta, IL 62286
Phone: 618-443-4364
FAX: 618-443-1922
Hours: M–Th, 8:00 am-4:30 pm (closed 12:00 - 1:00 pm)

Branch Office (Williamson County)
101-B East DeYoung
Marion, IL 62959
Phone: 618-993-3304
FAX: 618-997-1542
Hours: Mon - Thu, 8:00 am-4:30 pm (closed 12:00 - 1pm)

Randolph County Master Gardeners

Randolph County Master Gardeners

Online Training

University of Illinois Extension offers Master Gardener training on-line as an option for those who would like to take the Master Gardener course, but due to work schedules or travel concerns are unable to attend one of the face-to-face training programs.

The first week of the course all enrollees will participate in an on-line orientation session to the Master Gardener program, U of I Extension, and receive an introduction to WebCT, the computer program that is the framework of the on-line course.

Participants will have up to three weeks to complete each unit. Therefore, if a participant will be gone for a week or two during the semester, he/she can still keep on schedule. Additionally, the course can be accessed from anywhere in the world where the Internet is available, so longer planned absences do not necessarily mean someone could not participate in the training.

To become a certified Master Gardener, those completing training would then complete 60 hours of internship. Certified Master Gardeners are those who have completed their classroom training and internship. To be an active Master Gardener you must remain current in annual educational updates (a minimum of 10 hours) and volunteer service hours (a minimum of 30 hours) required by the local program. Those applicants not wishing to become a certified Master Gardener may also take the on-line course but would not receive the title of Master Gardener.

The training fee for either category of trainee for the on-line training is $250, payable to the University of Illinois. This training fee includes a CD-ROM of the Master Gardener manual. If registrants would also like a hard copy of the manual, an additional $100 fee applies.

Master Gardener applicants must fill out an application and will also be asked to participate in an informal interview.

Computer System Requirements for the Master Gardener On-line Course

The Master Gardener On-line training course uses an on-line teaching program called Illinois Compass. Trainees can access the Illinois Compass platform through a web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer. Some of the files in the course are very large. If you have slow dial-up Internet access, you may find viewing the files time consuming, frustrating, and costly if done all on-line. A CD-ROM version of the powerpoint files used in the course will be provided. You may find it easier to view the slide shows directly from the CD-ROM rather than viewing them online.

The Illinois Compass software you will use resides on a server (a central host computer) on the University of Illinois campus. You will want to be sure that your computer's settings are optimized for running an online course. This means that you will need to install Sun Java and configure your browser to run Java. You will also need Acrobat Reader (which can be downloaded free from the Internet) to view the CD-ROM version of the Master Gardener Manual. Instructions for configuration of your computer as well as installing Sun Java will be sent to you before the course begins. The Master Gardener On-line course has a messaging system within the course, so e-mail access is not absolutely necessary, but for direct communication with the instructor it is recommended that course participants also have an e-mail account.

If this is your first experience with on-line learning, you may want to take advantage of the on-line Illinois Compass tutorial that you'll find out about once registered for the course. There is also a student help document available on-line.

Recommended Browsers

Not all web browsers perform properly with Illinois Compass. Please refer to the table below for the browsers supported by Illinois Compass.



Internet Explorer 5.5 (SP2)5, 6.0

Internet Explorer 5.1 (OS X 10.1) and 5.2 (OS X 10.2)

Netscape 7.0, 7.01

Netscape 7.0, 7.1x

AOL 8.0


Mozilla 1.5

Mozilla 1.5, 1.6, 1.7 (OS X)

Safari 1.2

Netscape 4.8, Safari, Opera, Mozilla and other browsers will generally display Illinois Compass content, but may not work properly for all of the features such as quizzing and chat. We suggest that users of these browsers install the most current version of Internet Explorer or Netscape as a backup if they are having problems using any of Compass' tools.