Learning Opportunities in January and February!

It’s a New Year with new topics and emerging areas of interest for extension professionals, our volunteers and clientele. Please review the learning opportunities listed here and check Learn.extension.org as well to see what may be helpful and/or of interest to you. Share this and other events in Learn with anyone who may be interested. Join these Learning Opportunities in which you can participate online from your home or office.


All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series
February 6, 2015, 2015 Pesticide Strategy – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
March 6, 2015, 2015 Fire Ant Management Using Baits
March 4, 2015, Work/Life Balance
Childhood Obesity
March 5, 2015, Childhood Obesity Indicators: Capturing the National Impact of Extension
Citizen Science and Plant Health
February 18, 2015, Low cost plant and soil health measurements using PhotosynQ
Community & Regional Foods
January 27, 2015, Developing Local and Regional Food Systems in Nebraska
Dairy Cattle
January 14, 2015, Troubleshooting Design-Based Cow Comfort Issues
February 26, 2015, Formulating Diets for Groups of Lactating Cows
March 24, 2015, Proper Dry-Off Procedures to Prevent New Infections and Cure Existing Cases of Mastitis
January 9, 2015, From Hobby to Entrepreneur – Taking the Leap!!
January 20, 2015, Question Wranglers’ Meetup – January 2015
Geographic Information Systems
January 14, 2015, Tell a photo based story based map in a snap!
February 19, 2015, Sight beyond sight: the power of near-infrared imagery for mapping
March 10, 2015, Making the Most of Esri Image Services with ArcGIS for Desktop
Healthy Food Choices in Schools
January 20, 2015, The Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard: LunchScore
January 16, 2015, Mobile Manure Apps
Military Families
January 14, 2015, Part II Medicaid and Military Families: Children with Special Needs
February 18, 2015, Part III Medicaid and Military Families: Adults with Special Needs
March 5, 2015, Latino Military Families: Current Issues & Implications for Clinical Work
January 15, 2015, Piketty’s Capital & Inequality of Income and Wealth
January 13, 2015, Systems Organic Management Suppresses Cabbageworm Outbreaks: Evidence from 4 Long-term Organic Farms
January 20, 2015, Rotational No-Till, Mulching and Conservation Tillage for Organic Vegetable Farms Webinar
January 22, 2015, Managing Bad Stink Bugs Using Good Stink Bugs
January 27, 2015, Heritage and Ancient Wheat: Varietal Performance and Management Webinar
February 10, 2015, Building Pest-Suppressive Organic Farms: Tools and Ecological Strategies Used by Five Long-Term Organic Farms to Suppress Insects
February 17, 2015, Blasting the Competition Away: Air-propelled Abrasive Grits for Weed Management in Organic Grain and Vegetable Crops
March 10, 2015, Promoting Native Bee Pollinators in Organic Farming Systems
Personal Finance
January 13, 2015, Developing a Personal Asset Allocation Strategy
February 3, 2015, Calculating What to Save for Retirement
February 12, 2015, Domestic Violence: Helping Survivors Obtain Economic Freedom
March 17, 2015, Investing With Small Dollar Amounts
PIE Center
January 28, 2015, Public opinion of genetically modified food
February 25, 2015, Public opinion of landscape water use
Small & Backyard Flocks
January 14, 2015, Quality of eggs from different production systems
January 20, 2015, Health concerns with backyard poultry flocks
February 3, 2015, Health problems with the respiratory system of poultry
February 9, 2015, Housing for small poultry flocks
February 11, 2015, Health concerns for egg layers
March 3, 2015, Health problems with the poultry skeletal system
March 11, 2015, Managing egg laying flocks
Women in Ag
January 14, 2015, Developing a Farm Strategy
January 17, 2015, National Farmers Union Women’s Conference January 17-21, 2015
January 20, 2015, Marketing Your Products – Turning Samples into Sales
January 21, 2015, MidAtlantic Annie’s Project Classes
January 29, 2015, Adverse Possession Webinar
February 12, 2015, MidAtlantic Women in Agriculture Regional Conference
January 13, 2015, Moving Up the Ladder of Youth Engagement
January 29, 2015, How to Develop Educational Farm Tour Programs Like Breakfast On The Farm

Go to Learn (learn.extension.org) to see more sessions in 2014-2015, and to add learning opportunities being offered by you or your institution so you may include more for participation and learning! Questions and Comments? Contact Beth Raney at beth.raney@extension.org. If you have web-based events for which you would like more participation, please add them at Learn.extension.org for others to join in!


Campus (Moodle) in the ‘New’ eXtension


The beginning of the “new” eXtension brings with it two major changes to the use of eXtension’s Moodle site, campus.extension.org. One change is that only faculty from eXtension premium member institutions may teach courses on this site. Fortunately, more than 90% of the courses on Campus were already being taught by faculty from institutions that became premium members. We are currently working individually with Campus teachers from non-premium member institutions to identify alternatives for their courses, a process expected to be complete by June 1, 2015.

The second major change is one that should be good news to any premium member institution wishing to charge fees for their courses. Effective January 1, 2015, the eXtension overhead charge for anyone using eXtension’s Paypal online payment system has dropped to 5% net of credit card and transaction fees. This is a significant reduction from the 25% of gross fees that had been implemented in the past. This reduction only applies to fee-based Moodle Courses. Along with this reduction in indirect costs, steps have been taken to streamline the process of transferring those funds to teachers’ home institutions. Details, along with a request form, are included at create.extension.org/node/3180.

Finally, a little fun Campus trivia as we begin this year.
587 total courses; 332 open for enrollment
32,825 active login accounts
53,464 test questions
52,713 certificates issued
4,193 resource objects
1,690 Paypal registrations
359 course teachers
170 serving other roles

As always, if you have questions about Campus, please direct them to campushelp@extension.org.


User Communities, Networks Seeking New Members

eXtension has many user communities that are always welcoming new members. These communities are not formal learning networks or communities of practice at this point but they are extremely active with idea exchange, online discussions, planning of face-to-face conferences, and presentations to national meetings and agencies.

Joining one of these groups is easy, just follow the links provided and you’ll be added to the email group for each community.


You can join the Big Data community by going to https://people.extension.org/communities/1709 or contact Jerry Thomas (jthomas@extension.org).


You can join the Unmanned Aerial Systems community by going to https://people.extension.org/communities/1708 or contact Craig Wood (craig.wood@extension.org).


You can join the Wearable Technology community at https://people.extension.org/communities/1707 or contact Craig Wood (craig.wood@extension.org).

Thynka Little uses Oculus Rift.

Thynka Little uses Oculus Rift.

You can join the eXtension Virtual 3D community by going to https://people.extension.org/communities/1327 or contact LuAnn Phillips (luann.phillips@extension.org).


The newly formed Educational Technology Learning Network is also welcoming new members and can be joined at http://www.extedtechs.org/join/ or contact Jamie Seger (seger.23@osu.edu).

Again, these communities and networks welcome your input and contributions to the discussions and activities they are leading. Learn, share, create, innovate and collaborate!!!


Military Families Learning Network Hiring Professional Development Coordinator


The Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) is hiring a professional development coordinator based out of the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. The position is .75 to 1.0 FTE requiring strong technical skills and an ability to work with a virtual team. Position can work remotely.

Please contact Sarah Baughman (baughman@vt.edu) if you have questions. The position description and application information is found here: http://bit.ly/1At0oJ4

The Military Families Learning Network is an eXtension learning network with funding from the DoD/USDA Extension Military Partnership. We provide professional development for military service professionals in the areas of Personal Finance, Network Literacy, Military Caregiving, Family Development, Transition Support, Nutrition & Wellness, Building Community Capacity, Families with Special Needs. This position is part of the MFLN leadership team.


eXtension Seeking Project Manager

eXtension LOGO

The eXtension Engineering (web development) Team has an opening for a Project Manager. The full position posting is found at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/46577. While the position will be a North Carolina State University hire, working remotely is possible.

The position will remain open through January 12, 2015.

For more information contact Anne Adrian at


Holiday Greetings!


2014 has been a most interesting year. eXtension as we have known it is undergoing major changes. As you will read later in this newsletter, the Extension Directors and Administrators nearly unanimously decided to stop the eXtension assessments that had been in place since 2004. They also nearly unanimously adopted the proposed member-based model. This week the membership poll was completed and we had a 96% response to the poll. About 80% of the Extension Directors/Administrators decided they would be members of the new eXtension. In 2015, 58 institutions will be members: 38 at the premium level and 20 at the basic level.

So we will begin 2015 with a new model and a vision that includes more innovation and more professional development for our Extension colleagues as they work to adopt new or emerging technologies in the development and delivery of extension educational programs. I want to thank all of you for the support you have given me and the eXtension staff over this past year and special thanks for your dedication and loyalty to eXtension. I especially want to thank the eXtension staff for their contributions to helping with the development and creation of the new model.

I am also announcing that I have agreed to extend my time leading eXtension to April 30 to help with a transition to a new Chief Executive Officer. During this holiday season I will be spending some quality time with family and friends and I encourage you do the same. Above all, take time for you.

Enjoy the Christmas Season!

Elbert Dickey, Executive Director, eXtension


eXtension Fellows Report on Progress

For the first time in eXtension history five individuals have held eXtension Fellowships concurrently. Michele Walfred, University of Delaware; Sue Hawkins, University of Vermont; Terrence Wolfork, Fort Valley State University, Billie Jean Elmer, Virginia Tech; and Travis Sondgerath, Colorado State University/Purdue University are the 2014 eXtension Fellows.


Each eXtension Fellow reported on his/her fellowship project at a meeting in Atlanta in early December. The projects were to focus on State and Local Value Enhancement this year. Projects included social media strategies, connecting eXtension with county and regional staff, connecting communities of practice with county educators, broadening the reach of eXtension within the 1890 institutions, and relating community of practice content with new users. Fellows updated each other on their status and shared their “next steps,” where they will share their findings and report to Cooperative Extension.

Terry Meisenbach and Jerry Thomas, advisers to the 2014 Fellowship program and Anne Adrian, eXtension associate directors, participated in the meeting with the Fellows.


CES Leaders Endorse New Model, 80% Elect Membership


Change is in the air! In 2015, eXtension will begin a new chapter with a vision that focuses on innovation, professional development, and strategic opportunities for Cooperative Extension colleagues. The New eXtension will encourage and lead adoption of new or emerging technologies and innovations in the development and delivery of extension educational programs.

This month, the Extension Directors/Administrators nearly unanimously ended the assessment funding model which began in 2004. They also, nearly unanimously, adopted a new member-based model for eXtension. Last week 96% of directors and administrators responded to a membership poll. Nearly 80% of the Extension Directors and Administrators will be members of the new eXtension: 38 at the Premium level and 20 at the basic level for a total of 58 total members. Nineteen institutions have chosen not to be members.

In January, a newly elected Board of Directors (elected from member institutions only) will take over from the current eXtension Governing Committee. This group will develop the position description and begin the recruitment and hiring process for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position will begin. Once a new CEO is named, recruitment for a Chief Operating Officer and Chief Innovation Officer will begin.

Don’t look for these changes to slow down eXtension while these processes are underway! The staff is already working toward a unified web presence by combining about.extension.org and www.extension.org. Preparations are underway for presentations at USDA/NIFA, and the Ag Outlook Forum which will feature the Educational Technology Learning Network, Network Literacy, Wearable Technologies, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Oculus Rift, and Big Data. Stay tuned! 2015 is going to be an exciting year!


Virtual 3D Update December 2014

Pic for December Update

The holiday break is a great time to dust off your avatar and visit some of the seasonal creations in Second Life. eXtension is offering a skating party with fireworks and a huge snow globe with a reading of The Night Before Christmas. You will find this temporary installation on the lake at the center of the Morrill regions.

The eXtension 3D virtual reality user community will meet Thursday, January 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET in Second Life. Paste this Second Life URL in your browser to navigate to the venue: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Morrill/131/5/24.

The agenda includes getting to know each other and setting goals and objectives for the group. We also will discuss eXtension’s upcoming demonstration of Oculus Rift at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum in February. New members are always welcome. Join by going to https://people.extension.org/communities/1327

The Avatar Fitness Club will host a live class each Wednesday in January at 8:00 pm ET. The series “Healthy 2015 and Beyond: Fresh Perspectives on Nutrition and Exercise” will offer research-based information about nutrition and exercise along with role modeling with participants’ avatars. Presenters for the series are Leia Kedem, Nutrition and Wellness Educator from University of Illinois and Australian exercise physiologist Jason Jarred.

As always, if you need any assistance email luann.phillips@extension.org or instant message Thynka Little in Second Life.


eXtension Announces Enhancements to LEARN

eXtension is pleased to announce some enhancements to our professional development application, LEARN.


Learner Search
Users (or “Learners”) can now search other learners. When you enter a search term in the search field in the upper right hand corner you will not only get a list of events associated with that term, but also a list of learners.


Search Tags in Event Statistics
In addition to searching by date you can also add one or more tags to your search criteria in https://learn.extension.org/data/events. Note if you search multiple tags you need to separate the tag names with a comma.


Blog Front page