Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

Ask an Expert Updates, Improves, Adds Features

Improved submitter sign-in page

When someone submits a question, they may view or edit it using a protected URL. If we don’t recognize the submitter (e.g. they are visiting using a different browser), we display a sign-in landing page. The landing page design has been cleaned up to make the actions more obvious for both submitter and signed-in experts.

The catalyst for this change is that we have gotten reports from submitters who received the evaluation, but missed the actual response. To address that issue, explicit wording has been added to the evaluation email indicating where they can view their response (which points to the protected URL described above.)



Improved question history

At the bottom of every question page (on the expert side) is the history of activity related to the question. This listing has been cleaned up and made much easier to scan and read. In particular, it’s easier to see who made what tag changes.



Location editing added to Helping Hand feature

The Helping Hand feature allows any expert to edit the away status and expertise tags for another expert. This can be useful if someone has gone on vacation and didn’t set their account as away, or if they have tags that need to be cleaned up. We just expanded this feature to include expertise locations. This addition can be useful to group leaders as it would allow them to help standardize location settings among members and ensure a better distribution of questions for that group.

Any changes made through the Helping Hand page are logged in the expert’s profile history. (The expert also gets a notification.) As a part of this release, location changes were added to the profile history, and the history display was updated to be easier to scan and read.

The history display update includes making it easier to see which tag was added or deleted. Previously, changes to tags were buried in a dense list of all tags. Now we only display the individual tag which was changed.



Better error/success message styling for widgets

We had reports that the feedback messages were not being noticed. The new styles make it much easier to see.



eXtension Launches Community, Local & Regional Food Systems


eXtension is pleased to announce the formal launch of the Community, Local & Regional Food Systems (CLRFS) Community of Practice.

This resource is designed to provide information and networking opportunities for educators, community-based practitioners, policy makers, farmers/growers, families, and those individuals involved in building equitable, health-promoting, resilient, and economically balanced food systems. The community of practice 1) creates new content; 2) compiles and summarizes information published by member organizations; 3) and has as a goal to offer a unique, online meeting place for diverse groups and interests to share information and learn from one another. CLRFS resources you can use and contribute to:

· Feature and Resource articles on a number of relevant topics pertaining to local, regional, and community food systems.
· Links highlighting issues pertaining to local, regional, and community food systems.
· CLRFS frequently asked questions through eXtension’s “Ask the Expert”
· CLFRS webinar series
· Meet the CLRFS members through eXtension’s “Expert Bios”
· Social media, including Facebook and an eCoP listserv (

This launch coincides with the publishing of our first series of articles for our winter “call for articles!” Each new CLRFS article is posted to the site.

Many thanks to the authors for their contributions on such topics as wholesale markets for local foods, urban agriculture, food security, local food business models, and much more! And a big thank you goes to our editorial team for their work in publishing the materials: Phil D’Adamo-Damery (Virginia Tech), Jill Clark (The Ohio State University), Cole Ehmke (University of Wyoming), Joanna Lelekacs (NC Cooperative Extension), and Kim Niewolny (Virginia Tech). We are now accepting new articles on a rolling basis. Please visit the CLRFS site for more information about submitting an article. You may also find guidelines on writing Feature and Resource articles here:


June: A Numbers Story for MFLN


Evaluation in the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) requires a blend of quantitative and qualitative vantage points: we learn as much from our metrics as we do from observations, feedback, reflective discussions, conversation analysis, and, well, a good story. So while we often take our numbers straight-up, we wouldn’t be able to tell a complete story of June without mixing in a little allegory, some metaphor, and here and there, a dash of hyperbole with those numbers.

June. Neat.

In June the MFLN offered its first-ever virtual learning event (VLE). The Personal Finance concentration area hosted Money Behavior: How People Make Financial Decisions. This three-day learning event of four webinars, six presenters, and two hours of Q&A attracted almost 700 participants who collectively earned 1,197.5 continuing education units from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education.

Symbolically, June

During the course of the VLE, there were highly unusual internal connectivity issues with the Adobe Connect system. Anyone who has participated with online webinars understands that there are often minor hiccups involved. We wished we had just these. But we didn’t. We won’t recount the list of challenges we faced over those several days, because this story is about numbers, not about technology.

Despite rolling connection drops, room changes, locked-out guests, stuck slides, failing audio, and mounting frustration all around, we had nearly 700 participants! They kept coming back! They hung in there! A few were angry, most understood, many laughed. The chat pod conversation was more lively than it’s ever been. Participants were interacting directly with each other, sharing their own resources, asking and answering questions—all measures of high-level engagement and indicators of a co-constructed knowledge environment.

Jerry Buchko, an MFLN Personal Finance and Network Literacy advocate, even took over the reins and led the presentations while our own presenters clamored to overcome the technical challenges. The number 700 wasn’t just a great participation metric; it tells a story of our participants’ loyalty and patience; it tells us we offer valuable professional development that military family service providers need; and it reminds DoD and NIFA that their funding partnership dollars have really funded a community of military family service providers who learn and work together on the ground and online.

June, Metaphorically Speaking, or: War-gaming the VLE

MFLN leadership staff experienced the same connectivity issues as participants and presenters, but also needed to ensure that the VLE remained viable. With the help of back-channel chatrooms, texting, phone calls, mass e-mails, personalized e-mails, troubleshooting documents, some really smart people, some really calm people, an orientation toward customer service, a commitment to our work, and the ability to think fast on our feet, we problem-solved through our first-ever VLE to enable the delivery of high-quality educational content to 700 participants! Later, at the Department of Defense, eXtension champion Betsy Graham described our efforts as “war-gaming.” We were problem-solving in real time, playing out different scenarios, trying to foresee the nuances of a problem we didn’t know the extent of. “War-gaming” or not, we sure do like the notion that the way we instinctively work in the learning network (lack of sandbox notwithstanding) resonates so well with the Department of Defense.

June Hyperbole: Sky-high Participation Numbers for the MFLN!

Ok, it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say that MFLN participation numbers have reached the sky (as I understand it, 328,000 feet—the Kármán line—marks the boundary between atmosphere and outer space). But with the help of those 700 VLE participants, the MFLN reached quite a milestone in June: Since the start of the MFLN in 2010, we’ve had 7,007 participants attend our live MFLN webinars!

So that’s our June story, figuratively speaking. What a month! (And that’s an understatement!) Here’s to many, many more months of the same!


Guest Presenters Needed for Virtual Worlds Research Project


Do you have a short consumer presentation that is perfect for delivery to a senior–age audience? Perhaps this talk could be about horticulture, or nutrition, or personal finance.

We are looking for a few educators to help out with a research project involving groups of older persons who are visiting eXtension’s Morrill regions in Second Life. Your commitment would be to attend a brief orientation, then sign up for Second Life, meet in Second Life for a short training and rehearsal, and deliver your talk live in Second Life at two scheduled times (TBD) in August and September.

Sound like fun? Contact LuAnn Phillips, eXtension’s Virtual Worlds Specialist at


Australian eXtension Partnership Continues Growth

Aus site

The eXtension Australian partnership between the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Victoria Department of Environment and Primary Industries entered into a partnership in late 2013. The partnership is jointly developing pilot learning networks in the areas of Field Crop Diseases and Crop Nutrition.

Both learning networks are providing resources from public and private Research, Development and Extension specialists as well as a forum for the exchange of ideas between specialists, industry organizations, advisers and growers. eXtensionAUS is unlike any other information-based website. It is a network of people working together to provide well-researched information. It helps solve real-life problems in real time via web articles, social media and Ask an Expert information exchange. eXtension has been providing expertise and the technology infrastructure for their pilot. A public launching of their pilot learning networks is taking place as you read this update. Check them out.


New Learning Network Under Development

Ed Tech Learning Network

eXtension is pleased to announce the funding of the new Educational Technology Learning Network. The Educational Technology Learning Network will guide Cooperative Extension professionals on specific projects as they integrate technology with their content. They will share information about effective technology integration projects already in use, connect professionals with peers working on similar projects, and document efforts for future review.

The new learning network is lead jointly by The Ohio State University, Utah State University and New Mexico State University. The initial leadership team is composed of Jamie Seger and Jerry Thomas of Ohio State University, Paul Hill of Utah State University, and Barbara Chamberlain of New Mexico State University. Together they will engage others as well as their target audience to bring the new learning network to life. Stay tuned for exciting activities emerging from this learning network.


UPDATE: Disruptive E-nnovation


eXtension Strategy Committee Chair Keith Smith, Ohio State University, reports continued efforts to report to ECOP at its Tuesday, July 22, 2014 meeting in San Diego about a plan for the future of eXtension.

A networked learning framework, a cooperative governance model, and a new approach to funding are being discussed. After the ECOP July meeting where Smith, Elbert Dickey, eXtension Executive Director, and Dennis Calvin, eXtension Governing Committee Chair from Pennsylvania State University, will report, information will be provided to all Cooperative Extension Directors and Administrators.

Each of the five Cooperative Extension regions has a representative on the eXtension Strategy Committee in addition to a regional representative to the eXtension Governing Committee working with this team. (Report courtesy Jane Schuchardt’s Monday Minute)


Big Data, Unmanned Aerial Systems & Wearable Technologies are New User Groups

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eXtension has created three user communities around Big Data, Unmanned Aerial Systems, and Wearable Technologies. Many of our professionals in the Land Grant System are beginning to work or have an interest in all three of these areas.

We invite all those interested in those three subject areas to join the Communities. We will share ideas, discuss possible uses, share results of projects, and create new projects to test and evaluate innovate uses of each.

You can join the Big Data community by going to; join Unmanned Aerial Systems community by going to and join the Wearable Technology community at


Evaluation Community Launches! Helping CES grow, improve, and tell its story


Do you have questions about program evaluation? Do you want to learn more about evaluation to enhance your program effectiveness?

If you answered Yes to either of these questions, then you need to check out the eXtension Evaluation Community of Practice (CoP). This CoP is made up of Extension evaluators and other professionals who are dedicated to helping Extension staff, novice to expert, build their capacity in evaluating programs.

So where do I start, you say? Here are some ways you can tap into the resources this CoP has to offer.

eXtension public website – Go to our landing page (
and you can find out more about the CoP, as well as explore over 90 frequently asked questions about evaluation that are searchable and organized by
• evaluation planning
• tools and methods
• interpreting, reporting, and applying

Ask an Expert – Click on the Ask an Expert icon on the evaluation page, ask your question, and it will be answered by Extension evaluation experts from around the country.

You can also connect and interact with us on our Blog (, Facebook (, or Twitter (@evalcop).

Those are just a few of the ways you can connect with us now and have access to Extension’s collective program evaluation expertise and experience. Keep your eye on us as we grow and make more resources available in the future.

For more information contact Sarah Baughman ( and Mike Lambur (, Extension Evaluation CoP co-chairs.


Learning Opportunities for July 2014 and Beyond

Please share with your colleagues and anyone you think may be interested in any of the topics!

Thank you!

Learning Opportunities in July 2014 and Beyond

Please check out the learning events listed at Learn ( These are for your own learning or for you to share with your audiences! Extend your knowledge and keep more up-to-date on conversations in your areas of expertise and interest.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the events listed at Learn ( as they match your interests. Please sign in with your eXtensionID to Follow to get notifications and plan to attend. Use each session’s unique URL to share links to online events in your area of expertise 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, or please add web-based sessions you have planned to teach or at your institution.

Topics coming in July
July 10, Normal poultry behavior and dealing with behavioral problems in small and backyard flocks at

July 11, Flood Plain Maps and Long-term Flood Plain Management: One City’s Experience at

July 14, Peaks and Pitfalls of Extension Scholarship in an Online World at

July 15, Question Wranglers’ Meetup – July 2014 at

July 17, Needs and Supportive Strategies for Professionals Working with LGBT Military Families at

July 22, Tune-Up Your Farm Market Booth to Boost Sales Webinar at

July 23, Caregiver Identity Discrepancy & Implications for Practice at

July 23, Using the Power of Persuasion to Influence Student Food Choices at

July 29, Small Steps to Health and Wealth

Topics from June (and early July)
These live learning opportunities are past, but recordings are available. Find a topic of interest and extend your learning. A few of these sessions are part of ongoing series around a topic. See these from June, and also plan to attend associated ones during the year!

Backyard Flocks
June 9, Lighting for small and backyard layer flocks. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at
June 5, June 2014 meeting of the CoP membership. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Community Health
June 26, Cooperative Extension Framework for Health and Wellness . Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Disasters – Flooding
June 27, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Floods. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

July 1, Using Technology to Reach Diverse Audiences. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Fire Ants
June 6, All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Fire Ant Management. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Healthy Food Choices
June 18, How to Measure School Lunchroom Success!. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at htpps://

Marine Fisheries
June 10, Sea Grant Fisheries Extension Network Webinar Series, No 3: The Sea Grant Network Responds to Tourism Opportunities in Fishing and Aquaculture. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Military Families Family Caregiving
June 19, Hidden Heroes: America’s Military Caregivers. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Military Families Personal Finance
June 3, Mental Health & Financial Management. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at
June 4, Heuristics, Anchoring, Narrowing Choice. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at
June 5, What Young Adults Need to Know About Money. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at
June 5, The Culture of Personal Finance. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

June 17, Onboarding Program to Promote Early Wins. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Regional Food Systems
June 25, Community Gardens. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

June 23, Creating Role Rescriptions for Today’s Volunteer. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Youth Development
June 24, The Private Logic of Kids Who Outwit Adults. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts… at

Go to Learn ( to see more sessions in 2014, and to add learning opportunities being offered by you or your institution so you may get more participation and learning!

Go to Learn ( to see more learning opportunities…
In the following list topics for July and beyond are somewhat categorized. Add yours that aren’t listed yet to Sign in and click “Create a new event.” If you have questions, contact me (

All Bugs Good and Bad – series
August 2, All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Minimize Mosquito Problems at
September 6, All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Kudzu Bug Takes Over the Southeastern U.S./Brown Marmorated Stinkbug — All Bad at
October 4, All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Alien Invasions, Zombies Under Foot, and Billions of Decapitated Fire Ants at
November 8, All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Where Have All the Honey Bees Gone? Hope for the Future at

Backyard Poultry
July 11, Normal poultry behavior and dealing with behavioral problems in small and backyard flocks at
August 22, Avian anatomy and how to perform a necropsy at
September 26, Winter care of backyard poultry flocks at

Community Health
August 20, My Health County: Take Action, Change Lives at

July 12, Flood Plain Maps and Long-term Flood Plain Management: One City’s Experience at

July 23, Tune-Up Your Farm Market Booth to Boost Sales Webinar at

October 21, Evaluating Social Media Activity in Extension Educational Programming at
November 14, Data Visualization to Communicate Impact at

July 16, Question Wranglers’ Meetup – July 2014 at
August 6, Institutional Team Web Conference – August 2014 at
August 19, Question Wranglers’ Meetup – August 2014 at
September 10, Institutional Team Web Conference – September 2014 at
September 16, Question Wranglers’ Meetup – September 2014 at
October 8, Institutional Team Web Conference – October 2014 at
November 5, Institutional Team Web Conference – November 2014 at
December 3, Institutional Team Web Conference – December 2014 at

Healthy Food Choices in Schools
July 24, Using the Power of Persuasion to Influence Student Food Choices at

Military Families
July 18, Needs and Supportive Strategies for Professionals Working with LGBT
July 24, Caregiver Identity Discrepancy & Implications for Practice at
July 30, Small Steps to Health and Wealth at
August 13, Cliffs Notes from the Journal of Financial Counseling & Planning at
August 21, Caregiver Compassion Fatigue at
September 18, Give Care. Take Care. at
September 24, Financial Planning for the Second Half of Life at

July 15, Peaks and Pitfalls of Extension Scholarship in an Online World at
September 23, 100 Years of Extension: Extending Knowledge Changing Lives from One Century to the Next at
October 22, Evaluating Social Media Activity in Extension Educational Programming at

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!