Archive for September, 2009

August Virtual News Releases Hit 294

There’s always a need for more news on the topics that have less than 10 releases posted. Land-grant university news releases on those topics are almost always posted to eXtension.

Source of August news releases:
University of Arkansas – 29
Iowa State University – 22
Kansas State University – 19
North Dakota State University – 18
University of Illinois – 17
Mississippi State University – 16
Texas Cooperative Extension – 16
Oklahoma State University – 14
Ohio State University – 13
University of Missouri – 13
Purdue University – 11
Louisiana State University – 10
North Carolina Cooperative Extension – 10
University of Georgia – 8
University of Nebraska – 8
University of Kentucky – 7
University of Wisconsin – 7
University of Nevada – 6
Utah State University – 5
Alabama Cooperative Extension – 4
Clemson University – 4
Oregon State University – 4
Penn State University – 4
Alaska Sea Grant – 3
Cornell University – 3
New Mexico State University – 3
Montana State University – 2
University of Minnesota – 2
Virginia Cooperative Extension – 2
Washington State University – 2
University of Maine – 1
University of Tennessee – 1
University of Wyoming – 1
Other sources – 6
Original releases – 3

eXtension news releases are posted by category at Use the drop-down menu to sort news by topic area.

Gardens, Lawns and Landscapes – 45
Personal Finance – 35
Corn and Soybean Production – 29
Families, Food and Fitness – 23
Parenting – 22
Entrepreneurship – 18
Beef cattle – 18
Family Caregiving – 10
Dairy – 9
Wildlife Damage Management – 8
Cotton industry- 8
Horses – 7
Science, engineering, technology – 7
Goats – 7
Animal manure management – 5
Imported fire ants – 4
Geospatial technologies – 4
Organic production – 3
Small meat processors – 3
Urban pest management – 3
Bee health – 3
Diversity across higher education – 2
Agrosecurity and floods – 2
H1N1 flu – 1

Communities of practice not yet launched
Freshwater aquaculture – 5
Ag energy – 3
Swine – 2
Surviving wildfire – 2
Companion animals – 2
Marine fisheries – 2
Land use planning – 1
Drinking water – 1

August Total – 294 releases


Entrepreneurship CoP Offers Free Visual Merchandising Webinar September 10

Visual merchandising is the number two sales tool after personal sales. Visual merchandising is more than just making it pretty; it’s a silent salesperson. Displays have four objectives: to attract, to interest, to create desire and to promote people to take action, said Glenn Muske, home-based and micro-business specialist at Oklahoma State University. Muske will host a free one-hour Webinar Thursday, September 10. He will focus on visual merchandising as a marketing tool. The session will cover how to use displays and product arrangements to draw in customers. Participants will learn about basic principles and design elements plus see examples of how small business owners have used them in practice. Muske also will talk about how visual merchandising can be done at a low cost. The September10 session begins at 2 p.m. ET. The Webinar meeting room opens 15 minutes before the start time. Go to to view.


September Professional Development Opportunities at Head of the Class

eXtension’s professional development opportunities are open to all Cooperative Extension faculty, staff and employees. No pre-registration. Please share this announcement with others and encourage them to pick a topic and try it out!
September 9, 2009
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time

More and more extension professionals are using Twitter! This session
will showcase a panel to demonstrate useful Twitter clients (Tweetdeck, Twhirl and ceTwit), a helpful tool to use with your Twitter account (Co-Tweet that allows multiple people to tweet for one account), and some ideas from an Extension specialist on how he uses Twitter, etc. Presenters will include Steve Newman-Colorado State, Stan Skrabut-University of Wyoming, John Dorner-North Carolina State University, Kevin Gamble-eXtension, and Chris Raines-Penn State.

This session will be broadcast and use your computers speakers for audio, not your phone. Audience interaction will be done using the built-in chat capabilities. Plan to join the session 5 minutes before the starting time. The session will be held at 2:00 Eastern Time (1:00 p.m. CT, Noon MT, 11:00 a.m. PT, 10:00 a.m. AT; 8:00 a.m. HT) (For all

This month we are offering 30-minute sessions on a several topics including the Ask eXtension widget, Google CSE of Extension sites, getting stated blogging and using Moodle with scenario-based learning. Give us 30 minutes and we’ll teach you something useful! These sessions will be held at our Web Conferencing Center at and your computer’s speakers. Plan to join the session 5 minutes before the starting time. Each session will be held at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (1:00 p.m. CT, Noon MT, 11:00 a.m. PT, 10:00 a.m. AT; 8:00 a.m. HT) unless otherwise noted.

* September 3 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-minute session on The Ask eXtension Widget – Aaron Hundley, eXtension Software Engineer. How to use the Ask eXtension widget to receive and answer questions directly from your county Extension web site or Extension-related blog. This widget adds question-asking capabilities to your site, but uses the power of the eXtension Ask an Expert and FAQ systems to assist you in answering. Take questions from your clients, and use the 40,000 questions in the FAQ system to assist you in providing a timely and accurate answer. Check out the widget-tracking feature that allows you to name the widget and monitor questions coming from your site. Also learn about the widget routing capability that will allow you to have questions routed to you from your widgets. This session will introduce you to the tool, show you the latest features developed, and will discuss what is necessary to begin using it immediately in your own county sites and blogs with helpful tips. (For all Extension)

* September 8 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-minute session on the Finding Extension Resources Through the Google Custom Search Engine (Google CSE), by Kevin Gamble, Associate Director of eXtension. This session will demonstrate how to use to search the vast resources of the Cooperative Extension System. In addition, we will show you how simple it is to use Google search technology to create a free Custom Search Engine that reflects your knowledge and interests. It will also show you the Cooperative Extension CSE, teach you how to place a custom widget on your own Web site, and show how you can participate in a collaborative environment to further customize and make the search results better. (For all Extension)

* September 17 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-minute session: Get Started Blogging by Kevin Gamble, eXtension. So you think you want to be a blogger? How you can use blogging to enhance your educational programming? What’s involved, how it’s done, and how to get started. Participants will be exposed to several blogging tools with an emphasis on a free service available from Google. (For all Extension)

* September 23 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-minute session: Moodle: Scenario-based learning by Jennifer Jahedkar, Texas AgriLife Extension, Extension eLearning. Scenarios put learners in a real situation, and allow them to make decisions and make mistakes and learn things that they’ll be able to apply immediately in the real world. Join us to learn more about what scenarios can look like and how they can take your eLearning course to the next level. (For all Extension)

* September 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-minute session: Discussion and Q/A of the Ask eXtension Widget, by Aaron Hundley, eXtension Software Engineer. If you are currently participating in answering questions that come from any of the Ask eXtension Widgets, this will be a great discussion to be involved in. This session will focus on answering questions that you might have on the Ask eXtension Widget or the Ask an Expert system in general. We’ll share tips and recommendations for using the Ask an Expert system and discuss surrounding topics. (For all Extension)

* October 6 at 2:00 ET, a 30-minute session on Lunch and Learn Sessions as a Professional Development Tool by Jerry Thomas, Ohio State and eXtension Fellow. How many times have you said, “I’d love to learn more stuff but I don’t have the time!”? Lunch and learn sessions are one way to leverage our time in a fun way. Everyone likes to eat,
and lunch and learn sessions combine food with professional development. Join us as we discuss examples of how lunch and learns have been used at Ohio State University Extension in both face-to-face and virtual settings. We’ll focus on what has worked and provide recommendations. (For all Extension).


* September 15 at 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Meet-up of Technology Trainers. Last month we talked about ideas around teaching social networking in your states. The chat pod transcript of the August 11 session is at
We can talk more around that topic and maybe brainstorm good/better ways to hold the meet-up. This session will be held at our Web Conferencing Center at Session will be broadcast and use your computers speakers for audio, not your phone. Audience interaction will be done using the built-in chat capabilities.

* September 17 at 3:00-3:45 p.m. ET. This session will be a book review of Tara Hunt’s “The Whuffie Factor”, led by Floyd Davenport, Iowa State. Tara Hunt outlines five principles and provides numerous examples of how to increase your “whuffie” or social capital in a web 2.0 environment. This session hosted by the ACE IT SIG will cover Tara Hunt’s five principles and pose questions for
discussion in the context of Extension work. (for all Extension) This Professional Development session is offered in partnership with the ACE Information Technology SIG. Session will be broadcast and use your computers speakers for audio, not your phone. Audience interaction will be done using the built-in chat capabilities. (NOTE: Tara Hunt will be a keynote speaker at the National eXtension Conference to be
held in St. Louis, October 20-23, 2009. See for agenda, registration, and other info.)

* September 30 at 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Meet-up of Ask an Expert Question Wranglers. Want to help people find answers to their questions? Work with your Extension colleagues from across the country? Help to serve Extension clientele in a new and exciting way? Become an eXtension Question Wrangler! We have opportunities for our public to ask questions through our “Ask an Expert” system, but in order to ramp-up this effort we need good people to volunteer to help make this a reality. If you think this is something you’d like to do please join us to talk about how we can handle this together. (For all who have signed up as Question Wranglers… or might want to become one. To
sign up, go to and Join). This session will be held at our Web Conferencing Center at Session will be broadcast and use your computers speakers for audio, not your phone. Audience interaction will be done using the built-in chat capabilities.

Second Life is an immersive 3-D virtual environment, inhabited by over a million users from all over the world. You can learn to use Second Life to meet with colleagues, to create 3-D models that would be too expensive or impossible to make in reality, to provide guest speakers for a real life group, to teach using role play or group problem solving, to make content in your subject area available to a worldwide audience. This is an emerging and transformative technology, much like the early days of the Internet, and is expected to change the way most people experience web content within the next five years.

In Second Life, you will find that eXtension has a virtual fairground, a model county office, and projects in development on assistive technology, turf grass, pest management, and more. In Teen Second Life, we have Bailey Island available for any 4-H educator to use for programming. Each month eXtension hosts several community events in Second Life. It is best to spend two or three hours orienting yourself to the Second Life environment before attending an event. You should know how to walk, sit, chat, use voice, and teleport.

Instructions for entering Second Life are here:

LuAnn Phillips, Second Life educator, is available to assist you, and can be reached at or by instant message to Thynka Little in Second Life.

Please consider joining the Facebook group “Cooperative Extension Second Life”.

September’s Second Life Events:
September 10, Second Life Roundtable 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET — web conference,
meet at Topic: Updates on current projects, changes to the Second Life platform, and discussion of various ways to use Second Life for Extension education.

September 11, Second Life Meetup — 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. SL time (Pacific), 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET. Meet at the Virtual State Fair, Morrill Island, in Second Life Topic: Group tour– Museums in Second Life.

September 14, Avatar Express — 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. SL time (Pacific) Bring your newbie! Thynka will be available to answer questions and give freebies and tips.

September 25, Second Life Meetup — 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. SL time (Pacific),
2:00-3:30 p.m. ET. Meet at the Virtual State Fair, Morrill Island, in Second Life Topic: Change up your avatar appearance in a flash! Collect some free fun avatars! And how to make a custom printed avatar t-shirt.

Add these dates & topics to your calendar, and plan to join us on for one or more of these sessions in September!!

TO PARTICIPATE in any of the sessions held in our Web Conferencing Center…
1. Five minutes before the start time, go to our Web Conferencing Center meeting room at

2. You will be presented with a login screen that has an “Enter as Guest” option.

3. Enter your first name, your last name, and your institution/university, then click the “Enter Room” button to join the conference.

4. To hear the audio of the workshop and participate in the Q&A portion of the workshop we will be using a built-in teleconferencing capability of Adobe’s Connect Pro conferencing software. Once you log into the meeting you will be presented with the option to enter your callback number, your phone will automatically be called. After
entering your number you will be automatically called and joined into the audio portion of the Web conference on your phone.

If you or a colleague would like to get notices about upcoming professional development sessions offered by eXtension, go to and Click “Join Community.

Recordings of many past professional development sessions can be found at the main eXtension wiki at and scroll down under Professional Development heading and find “Recordings of eXtension Professional Development Sessions”, or search on the word Recordings.

Looking forward to having you join us to learn something new in September!!


Help Us Reach 100%

As of September 1, 2009, nearly 11,000 of all approximately 15,000 Cooperative Extension Service professionals had eXtension IDs. We’re working to increase that number to 100 percent!

One of the first steps to being fully engaged with the eXtension initiative is to create this eXtension ID. By doing so you’ll be allowed to work in the eXtension collaborative space, you can become a member of one of nearly 40 Communities of Practice, and you’ll be registered to receive routine email updates on the initiative.

If you don’t have your ID yet, it’s a simple process! Just go to and you’ll be taken to the registration page.
Encourage your friends and colleagues in Cooperative Extension to do so today!