Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

Moodle Technology Extends CES’ Reach

Vet Science Course Banner
Since 1995 the Veterinary Assistant Handbook has been a popular tool for 4-H leaders, ag agents, ag science teachers, and home school groups to help students aspiring to a career in veterinary science.

In 2007 when eXtension first began offering MOODLE as a delivery platform for online courses, the facilitator of the Veterinary Assistant Handbook, Dr. Buddy Faries, began exploring how he might transform the handbook into an online course available via eXtension’s MOODLE site

Today the Veterinary Science Curriculum is available to educators in two formats. One format is as a curriculum resource where leaders can access the learning materials including handouts, quizzes, assignments, lecture slides or video lectures for their face to face programs. Another format is as an online course where educators can purchase their own instance of the course that includes 100 modules. Each module includes: a veterinary science lesson, prerecorded teacher-led video, printable note sheets, automated quiz, and assignments to be submitted online.
campus front page

One of the first schools to set up an online course was Roscoe Collegiate. The course has been one of the most active at with some 112, 673 hits last year. This is one example of how we can use technology to extend our reach by repurposing educational resources that are used in the face-to-face educational environment and making it available in the online educational environment.

Extension professionals interested in developing a Moodle course should contact:


UPDATE: eXtensionAUS an Australian Pilot of eXtension

eXtensionAUS is a pilot of eXtension that began with two communities of practice in January 2014. The key objective is to test the applicability of the eXtension USA model for the Australian grains industry. This update should encourage any of our American colleagues to follow our progress and make contact if they see value.

The pilot is being run through a partnership between eXtension, the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, (DEPI).

Between the two communities 103 members from right around Australia and from a broad range of public and private research, development and extension organizations are enjoying learning to work in different ways using the eXtension model. One community is led by DEPI and one by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

Australia has very much appreciated working with our US counterparts and learning from the years of experience. We hope in turn you in the USA can learn from the way we have applied your processes in getting these communities up from scratch.

Both communities produce monthly newsletters and regular electronic round ups in their subject areas using templates and the online tools and These two tools have proved very useful and could be of value to American communities. You can see how we are applying them by visiting these two links:,

Dan Cotton, Craig Wood, Ashley Griffin and Jill Heemstra from eXtension have all visited Australia at different times and have been instrumental in getting the projects up and running and the communities formed with our project teams. For anyone interested in the Australian approach these colleagues are great contacts. Likewise Anne Adrian and the eXtension IT team have been key to getting our IT processes up and running, we have really appreciated their input and enjoyed developing things together.

Our website has been live since late July and engagement with our communities of interest continues to grow. We have had around 1,500 unique visits for an average of around 3 minutes and 3 page views. Twitter has proved extremely popular, there are three accounts @eXtensionAUS (313 followers), @AusCropDiseases (410 followers) and @AuCropNutrition (376 followers) and our use of YouTube continues to grow.

The eXtensionAUS evaluation process continues to be implemented and there is to be a key face to face evaluation and professional development workshop for all community members in November. The project is due to finish in March 2015 and we look forward to continuing to share our learning’s with the US as we go.

Written by Gavin Beever, GRDC National Project Manager for eXtensionAUS


Virtual Reality User Group Invites New Members

Thynka Little uses Oculus Rift.

Thynka Little uses Oculus Rift.

The eXtension Virtual 3D user community is interested in virtual worlds, and virtual reality, as used for education and training, serious games, data visualization, and research. The group is open to educators and staff at land-grant institutions in the USA, their research partners, and Extension colleagues around the world.

The community intends to:
• Learn and explore together as this technology evolves toward mainstream use
• Raise awareness of the use of virtual reality environments for teaching and research in the land grant system and beyond.
• Collaborate to build a knowledge base that includes all VR technologies (Second Life, Open Sim, Unity, Oculus Rift, CAVE…)
• Offer professional development opportunities via eXtension’s site.
• Mentor new users of virtual reality technology.
• Seek opportunities to develop partnerships, as appropriate, for future virtual reality projects.

This month the eXtension Virtual 3D user community has welcomed new members from Texas A&M, University of Idaho, and University of Arkansas. To join the group, go to

For more information contact LuAnn Phillips at .


eXtension Welcomes New Staffer: Mark Locklear


eXtension is pleased to announce that J. Mark Locklear has joined the Engineering team. Mark, formerly a Web Developer with Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College, has 20 years of Information Technology experience in Network Administration, Quality Assurance, and Software Development.

Mark’s experience and talents merge nicely into the already well-established development team at North Carolina State.

Mark is enjoying being a new dad to his 3-month-old daughter and also enjoys creating salvage metal art, home brewing, and gardening. He is an Adjunct Instructor at Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College and is passionate about education and teaching students software development.

Welcome Mark!


eXtension Community Foods CoP Hosts Successful Conference


With a targeted focus on the role racism plays in food security in America, eXtension’s Community, Local & Regional Food Systems (CLRFS) community successfully hosted the 2014 Food Security Conference this week. “Building Extension Capacity to Address Community Food Security through Food Systems” brought together over 100 university, industry, not-for-profit entities, and government organizations for workshops, poster presentations, tours and field visits related to food security in this country and throughout the world.

Brian Raison
, Ohio State University Extension community development specialist and CLRFS CoP leader, introduced trainers from The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond who led attendees through “Undoing Racism in Our Food Security Work”. The training team challenged attendees to define racism and its implications for society and CES today.

Skill development, alignment of research, fostering understanding between local and regional food systems and community food security and building the capacity of the CLRFS Community of Practice were all parts of the agenda. A poster session featured the work of both land grant and non-land grant work in the food security area.

Participants also started the conference with an urban food tour visiting two local farm with specialties in local food movements and food justice initiatives, and two urban farms in Cleveland.

This conference was made possible by eXtension and a grant from USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). For more information on the Community, Local & Regional Food Systems community please contact Brian Raison at


eXtension Hosts ‘Critical Conversation’ on 2nd Machine Age Conference

Second Machine Age
eXtension will host a “Critical Conversation” panel on the thoughts of workforce changes as the result of technological changes. This critical conversation entitled “Takeaways from the 2nd Machine Age Conference” will center on ideas that were discussed at the MIT 2nd Machine Age conference and in the book 2nd Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

The panel, moderated by Bob Bertsch, will include Anne Adrian, Jerry Buchko , and Jerry Thomas.

The critical conversation will take place on Wednesday, October 29 at 3 p.m. ET. Go to: for event details. Be sure to “follow” the event for updates. Learning resources regarding the event can also be found on the Learn page.


Learning Opportunities – Fall & Winter 2014

As autumn weather is arriving in many parts of the country, so are some timely, live online learning events being offered by your Extension colleagues and others. Check out the learning events listed at Learn ( These are for you or for you to share with your audiences! Extend your knowledge and keep more up-to-date on conversations in your areas of interest.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the events listed at Learn ( as they match your interests. Please sign into Learn with your eXtensionID then Follow specific learning events to get notifications and plan to attend. Use each session’s unique URL to share links to online events in your area of expertise or interest so that others can learn with you. Encourage your customers to also sign in with their Facebook, Twitter or Gmail account to Follow, and plan to attend. Additional sessions may be added at any time, so check back to see what’s new, and please add web-based sessions you have planned to teach or at your institution.

Topics for October through December
These live online learning opportunities are somewhat categorized and include some from September for which recordings are available, and many upcoming. Find a topic of interest and extend your learning. A few of these sessions are part of ongoing series around a topic. Plan to attend associated ones during the year!

All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series
September 5, “All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Kudzu Bug Takes Over the Southeastern U.S./Brown Marmorated Stinkbug — All Bad,” recording at
October 3, “All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Alien Invasions, Zombies Under Foot, and Billions of Decapitated Fire Ants,” at
October 7, “All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Where Have All the Honey Bees Gone? Hope for the Future.,” at

Backyard Flocks
September 25, “Winter care of backyard poultry flocks,” recording at
October 2, “October meeting of the Small and Backyard Flocks CoP,” at
October 21, “Basics of poultry processing,” at
November 6, “Starting a small-scale commercial poultry operation,” at
November 11, “Small egg production flock: Cost evaluation of different housing systems,” at
December 9, “Feeds and Feeding of pullets and layers,” at
December 11, “Coaching a 4-H Avian Bowl team,” at

Beginning Farmers
October 22, “Getting started with vegetable plasticulture,” at

October 22, “Biofuels Policies: Why a Clean Fuels Standard and Other Government Policies Are Important to Bringing the Advanced Biofuels Industry to Scale in the Northwest,” at
October 31, “BioChar and Beyond,” at
November 12, “Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest: Biochemicals the First Steps Toward Commercialization,” at

Community Development
October 20, “Arts and Community: Funding Opportunities and Resources from the NEA,” at
October 21, “Community-based social marketing,” at

Dairy Cattle
October 6, “Effective Management of Farm Employees,” at

September 19, “Disasters and Horses: What Extension Professionals Need to Know ,” recording at
October 30, “Keeping Your Financial Records Secure,” at
December 4, “Are You Prepared for Winter?,” at

October 22, “”I don’t see color” and other harmful statements: Moving toward climates that support positive dialogue about race,” at

September 5, “”Green Agritourism” – Power of Business Friday 15,” recording at
October 3, “Hudson Valley Distillers – POB Friday 15 Chat,” at

eXtension Institutional Teams
October 7, “Institutional Team Web Conference – October 2014,” at
November 4, “Institutional Team Web Conference – November 2014,” at
December 2, “Institutional Team Web Conference – December 2014,” at

eXtension Question Wranglers
October 28, “Question Wranglers’ Meetup – October 2014,” at
November 18, “Question Wranglers’ Meetup – November 2014,” at
December 16, “Question Wranglers’ Meetup – December 2014,” at

Family Caregiving
September 17, “Give Care. Take Care.,” recording at
October 29, “Handling Marital Conflict Constructively: It Starts with Me, — Begins with ‘I’,” at
November 12, “Overview of Suicide Risk Assessment — Prevention,” at
December 10, “Medicaid and Military Families: An Introduction,” at

Farm Safety and Health
September 19, “Online Resources You Can Use to Promote Agricultural Safety and Health,” recording at

Food Safety
November 20, “Food Safety for the Holiday Season,” at

Geospatial Technology
October 16, “Remote sensing basics,” at
November 6, “How to select the best imagery for your remote sensing project,” at
December 4, “Assessing the accuracy of remotely sensed data,” at

September 17, “Easy as PIE Webinar: Grant writing as a collaborative process,” recording at
Healthy Food Choices in Schools
September 16, “Healthy Children, Healthy Families: Parents Making a Difference!,” recording at
October 1, “Stuck on Fruits and Veggies: Putting Classroom Nutrition Lessons Into Practice,” at

September 29, “Is It Educating or Lobbying? ‘ How to Communicate Programmatic Impact to Stakeholders ,” recording at

September 19, “Livestock Mortality Composting: Beyond the Basics Part 2,” recording at
October 17, “Linking Feed Management to Whole Farm Nutrient Management,” at

Master Gardeners
November 12, “Sustainable Roses Series: Integrated Pest Management of the Rose,” at

Military Families Trauma-Informed Care
October 23, “Trauma-informed Care: Implications for Prevention — Clinical Practice,” at
October 30, “Using Trauma-informed Care with Children,” at

September 22, “100 Years of Extension: Extending Knowledge Changing Lives from One Century to the Next,” recording at
November 13, “Data Visualization to Communicate Impact,” at

Natural Resource Development
October 28, “Webinar: Evaluating Impacts of Natural Resource Development,” at

Network Literacy
September 18, “Online privacy tune-up: Facebook’s settings,” recording at
October 29, “Takeaways from the 2nd Machine Age Conference – Critical Conversation,” at

Organic Production
October 14, “Using Cover Crop Mixtures to Achieve Multiple Goals on the Farm Webinar,” at
November 11, “Diversity by Design: Using Trap Crops to Control the Crucifer Flea Beetle Webinar,” at
November 18, “Dehulling Ancient Grains Webinar,” at
December 2, “IPM in Crucifer Crops: Focus on the Yellowmargined Leaf Beetle Webinar,” at

Personal Finance
September 29, “How to Help Military and Veterans Families: For Financial Professionals,” recording at
October 21, “How to Read a Mutual Fund Prospectus,” at
November 25, “Current Personal Finance Issues for Financial Practitioners,” at
December 9, “Year-End Tax Planning Strategies,” at

October 8, “Ideas for Enhancing Sheep Production,” at

Social Media
September 17, “Finding the True Value of Twitter,” recording at
October 8, “Shameless Social Media,” at
October 22, “Pinned Perfect- How Agriculture is Using Pinterest,” at
November 5, “Productive Pinning- Adding Pinterest to your Digital Toolbox,” at
November 5, “How to Use Images in Social Media Activities to Increase Engagement and Outreach,” at

Social Media Evaluation
October 21, “Evaluating Social Media Activity in Extension Educational Programming,” at

Teaching Methods
November 13, “2014 MSU Faculty Research Series,” at

Tribal Land Development
October 30, “Webinar: HEARTH Act,” at

September 30, “Beyond Certificates and Plaques: Volunteer Recognition,” recording at
September 23, “Equipping Volunteers to Understand Differences,” recording at

Women in Ag
September 16, “Direct Marketing Meats,” recording at

Youth Development
September 12, “The Ins and Outs of Adolescent Brain Development,” recording at
November 19, “Is it bullying or sexual harassment?,” at

Go to Learn ( to see more sessions in 2014 and 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 If you have web-based events for which you would like more participation, please add them at for others to join in!


Parkinson’s Research Project Seeks eXtension 3D Assistance

Fran Serenade

A research team from University of Oregon, University of Florida, University of California-Irvine, and the University of Pennsylvania reached out to eXtension 3D to help them design a better way for Parkinson’s Disease patients to access Second Life.

The researchers, representing leading centers for research on Parkinson’s, will be studying the effect of avatar-mediated experiences on the well-being of patients with the disease.

eXtension is consulting on the development of a HUD user interface that “gamifies” new user orientation to Second Life, is simple and fun to use, and which will provide data to the researchers about the patients’ activities and progress with their avatars.

A unique feature of the HUD will be the capability to be customized for each patient, drawing on a use profile stored in a remote database.

A mother and daughter who have created a support program in Second Life for Parkinson’s patients inspired the research. This is their story.


Seniors from Care Link in Arkansas begin exploration of Second Life

Seniors Second Life

This is a view of the first cohort of subjects in a University of Arkansas research study as they enter a virtual world for the first time. Their activities will be tracked as they explore Second Life for seven weeks with the help of eXtension’s Virtual 3D experts. The study is looking at how social activity in virtual reality affects well-being in seniors. The home base of the project is on eXtension’s Morrill2 region.

For more information on this project contact LuAnn Phillips at


eXtension Supports 2014 Farm Bill Educational Activities


eXtension will support many aspects of States delivering training to producers concerning the 2014 Agriculture Act.

eXtension’s Ask an Expert widgets will be used on web sites including state cooperative extension, USDA Farm Services Administration (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other partner sites to connect users with the appropriate Cooperative Extension, FSA, and NRCS experts. Each Ask an Expert widget will be customized based upon the pool of experts and include a protocol to ensure quality and rapid response.

A national Learning Network, will be supported by Extension, FSA, and NRCS experts, state institutions, relevant State and/or Federal agencies, and eXtension staff. The Learning Network will facilitate coordination of efforts, conversations, provide a place for collaboration, and house or direct users to curriculum, as needed and appropriate, that would be regional and national in scope.

eXtension will make available its web conferencing system to support educational programming and producer training.

A social media plan will be developed that integrates State Extension to maximize and leverage content and to stimulate interaction with online audiences with high priority placed on interactivity, responsiveness, and directing users to local expertise.

eXtension will also support a state producer educational training evaluation survey, data collection, and reporting functions.