Archive for October, 2009

eXtension Welcomes Six New Communities of Practice

eXtension is pleased to announce the formation of six new communities of practice. Five of the new CoPs come to eXtension based upon a State Needs-Based Communities process in which each of the five Extension regions identified top priorities. These are:

1890 Region – Teen Leadership
This will be a preventive‐based, experiential, interactive, and community-oriented youth development Community of Practice focused on improving self‐esteem, promoting wellness, enhancing cultural awareness, improving leadership and life skills, and developing teamwork and social skills.

Northeast Region – Invasive Species
Throughout the United States and Canada, non-native invasive species have become an overwhelming problem resulting in impacts to the natural environment and managed landscapes. This CoP would enhance and coordinate among states and institutions an intense public education program to eliminate or control invasive species.

Southern Region – Community Health Extension (Primary Health Extension)
This Community of Practice will be a collaboration of Extension professionals and others who have expertise and interest in areas related to good health prevention behaviors and primary care education. Primary health care is a people‐centered strategy with emphasis on prevention and multispectral action designed to encourage health‐enhancing lifestyles. It addresses the root causes of poor health in all sectors and seeks to decrease the threats to health. A public health care approach empowers citizens with decision‐making information and power to positively influence their own health.

North Central Region – Animal Welfare
This Community of Practice in animal welfare will focus on developing multidisciplinary approaches to addressing animal welfare “…the viewpoint that it is morally acceptable for humans to use nonhuman animals for food, in animal research, as clothing, and in entertainment, so long as unnecessary suffering is avoided”. Most of these topics cover Land Grant Institutions and many of their clientele.

Western Region – Sustainable Living
This Community of Practice will work to achieve long-term stability through the use of a triad of social, environmental, and economic education. Sustainable living is defined as taking a thoughtful approach to leading a fulfilling, productive and environmentally responsible life that is economically, culturally and environmentally responsible. To accomplish this requires an ongoing learning process based on our individual definitions of quality of life.

A sixth Community of Practice has also been established through funding from the National Forest Service and the Renewable Resources Extension Act, USDA. The Forestry and Climate Change Community of Practice lead by Dr. Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona, Cooperative Extension Service has a mission that involves five areas:
*Assessing the current state of climate change knowledge and research for forests and their management in the U.S.;
*Assisting with the complex dissemination of forest climate change research results and practical applications;
*Creating and maintaining the primary system that will continuously track new advancements and information;
* Supporting the needs of individuals as well as local, state, regional and national resource planning professionals;
*And, continuously improve the Community of Practice. All of these will help our nation meet demands placed on forests while maintaining or improving the sustainability of our forest resource in light of changing climate.


Institutional Team Success Story: University of Georgia Tech Tips

eXtension relies heavily on teams of Cooperative Extension staff members working “on the ground” in every land grant institution. Since its beginning, eXtension’s Institutional Teams have helped to train, promote, advance, advocate, and share the benefits of eXtension at the local level. This month we’re featuring the Institutional Team from the University of Georgia. Todd Hurt, training coordinator for Georgia’s Center for Urban Agriculture, has lead the UGA Institutional Team and uses his periodic newsletter Tech Tips to highlight eXtension news and features. Check it out at: UGA team members are: Todd Hurt, Diane Bales, Richie Braman, Sue Chapman, Ted Futris, Gary Heusner, Janet Sylvia, Carl Varnadoe, Steve Walker, and Rachael West with team advisors Chris Adcock, Steve Brown, and Marie Bowie.


Use of eXtension Survey Now Available

eXtension has just released the Use of eXtension Survey. This survey is will document how Extension personnel are using eXtension as a resource for Extension programs. We are interested in hearing from ALL Extension faculty, staff, administrators and others on how they have put eXtension into use. We plan on using this information to help all Extension personnel discover the power of eXtension to enhance their programs. This survey will be left open, so please save the survey URL and add additional information as you continue to use eXtension.

We encourage Directors and Administrators to circulate this announcement and survey URL widely among their Extension personnel.

To complete the survey, go to:

For additional information, or questions, please contact Mike Lambur, eXtension Evaluation and Research Leader, at


eXtension National Web Conference CANCELLED

The eXtension National Web Conference scheduled for Wednesday, October 7, 2009 has been cancelled. The 2010 schedule for National Web Conferences will be announced in a future UPDATE.


Two New eXtension Professional Development CoPs Announced

The eXtension Professional Development Steering Committee is pleased to announce the creation of two new Professional Development Communities of Practice (PDCoP). One of these is being created under the leadership of Wynne Wright (Michigan) along with Steve Smutko (Wyoming), Loretta Singletary (Nevada), Renee Daugherty (Oklahoma), and Sandra Hodge (Missouri) . The name of this PDCoP is Public Deliberation, and is being formed to help Extension professionals gain the set of skills, competencies, and experiences needed to effectively employ citizen-centered approaches as a core part of their Extension engagement activities. It is also intended as a place to network with others who share in the challenges of university-community engagement. Information about this PDCoP is available at

The second of the PDCoPs will address Extension Brand Value, and is being led by Elizabeth Gregory North (Texas), Frankie Gould (Louisiana), and Ann Bailey Berry (West Virginia). The primary purpose of this PDCoP is to meet the knowledge needs of faculty and staff related to marketing and branding, continuing the work of the ECOP Marketing and Communications Task Force through creation, implementation, and evaluation phases, and being careful stewards of the research already completed. More complete information about the plans of this PDCoP is available at


33 Land-grant Universities Contribute to September eXtension News

More than 300 news releases from 33 land-grant universities were featured on eXtension in September:

University of Arkansas–26
University of Missouri–22
University of Illinois–21
Iowa State University–20
Kansas State University–19
North Dakota State University–18
Ohio State University–15
North Carolina Cooperative Extension–15
Louisiana State University–14
University of Kentucky–12
University of Nebraska–11
University of Minnesota–11
Oregon State University–11
Mississippi State University–11
Purdue University–10
University of Wisconsin–7
Oklahoma State–6
Clemson University–6
Utah State University–5
University of California–4
Penn State University–4
Montana State University–4
University of Maine–3
University of Georgia–3
University of Nevada–2
New Mexico State University–2
Cornell University–2
West Virginia State University–1
University of Tennessee–1
University of Wyoming–1
Texas AgriLife Extension–1
Rutgers University–1
Alabama Cooperative Extension–1
Other sources–11
Original releases–3

Twenty-eight Communities of Practice were featured in these releases:

Gardens, lawns and landscapes–51
Personal finance–38
Entrepreneurs and their communities–29
Corn and soybean production–29
Families, food and fitness–23
Beef cattle–20
Family caregiving–15
Urban pest management–6
Organic production–5
Animal manure management–4
Geospatial technologies–4
Agrosecurity and floods–4
Diversity across higher education–3
Science, engineering, technology–3
Bee health–3
Ag energy–3
Wildlife damage management–2
Small meat processors–2
Food safety–2
Companion animals–2
Imported fire ants–1
Land use planning—1



Fall Into October Professional Development Opportunities

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!

Special Sessions:
2009 eXtension National Conference
October 20-23, 2009

Three days of keynote speakers, concurrent sessions, and special
workshops! We’re planning to have all three keynote speaker sessions
available in real time for you to view if you can’t make it to the
conference, as well as a selection of the concurrent sessions! We hope
you’ll join us in St. Louis or watch the conference site for details
on viewing the sessions available online.

This month we are offering 30-Minute Sessions on a several topics
including an overview and an example of Ohio State’s Lunch and Learn,
“The Public Domain” book discussion, the Ask eXtension Widget and
Leading the Moodle Learner. Give us 30 minutes and we’ll teach you
something useful! These sessions will be held at our Web Conferencing
Center at Plan to join the
session 5 minutes before the starting time. Each 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) unless otherwise noted.

* October 6 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-Minute Session on Lunch and Learn Sessions as a Professional Development Tool by Jerry Thomas, eXtension Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Leadership Center. 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-face and virtual settings. We’ll focus on what has worked and provide recommendations. (For all Extension)

* October 13 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-Minute Session on Nine Different Ways to Use Google by Jerry Thomas, eXtension Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Leadership Center. Everyone Googles, but most of us treat Google like our cell phones: We only use limited features. Google is tool that can increase our productivity and make life easier. Join us as we share short cuts and some of the different programs offered by Google. Google has a corporate strategy of introducing one new feature every quarter, so there is plenty to share. (For all Extension)

* October 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-Minute Session on the book, The
Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
by James Boyle, led by Kevin Gamble, eXtension.
This book describes the range wars of the Informatiom age. Boyle makes the case that every citizen needs to understand intellectual property law. He talks about how the current policies are unbalanced and often detrimental to our culture, free speech, creativity, and scientific innovation. (for all Extension)

* October 27 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)

* October 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET, a 30-Minute Session on Leading – Not Driving – the Moodle Learner, by Jennifer Jahedkar, Texas AgriLife Extension, Extension eLearning. Join us to learn how Moodle tools like quizzes, passwords, certificates, and locking options can be used to encourage students to complete a course in a structured fashion. (For all Extension)

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, 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”.

October Second Life Events:
* Thursday, October 8, Second Life Roundtable 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET — web conference, meet at Holding meetings in SL, why this makes sense and how to set one up.

* Friday, October 9, 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: Museum Tour, join the group as we explore several museum sims
and discuss their interactive educational exhibits. Many ideas to be
found that can be applied to Extension projects!

* Monday October 12, Avatar Express 9:00-10:00 a.m. Second Life Time, Noon-1:00 p.m. ET. Basic orientation for new newbies. Meet at

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

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

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
call-back 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

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 October!!


Help Us Reach 12,000!!!

As of October 1, 2009, nearly 11,200 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!