eXtension Foundation

The eXtension Foundation is a non-profit entity that exists to support the work of the national eXtension Initiative, an Internet-based educational network providing 24/7/365 access to objective, science-based information from land-grant universities and partners nationwide. It is an integral part of and complements the community-based Cooperative Extension System and may be accessed via any Internet-ready device. Administrative oversight is the responsibility of a Board of Directors whose membership includes Cooperative Extension directors & administrators, and key partners.

Process and Structure

The eXtension Foundation was created for the land-grant universities and is governed by a Board of Directors.Each Cooperative Extension Regional Association elects a specific land-grant university to represent them on the board. The seven-member board is accountable to the land-grant universities to ensure the eXtension Foundation operates in their best interest.

Characteristics:

  • eXtension includes peer-reviewed, research-based, unbiased, science-based content development and educational delivery aimed at adoption of practices and changes in behavior.
  • Focused on answers to users’ questions, problems and life events, eXtension provides education in various formats, including frequently asked questions, brief fact sheets, Ask the Experts, chat sessions and discussion groups, decision support tools, Web conferencing, streaming video, distance diagnostics and educational modules.
  • Educational programs are aggregated rather than duplicated, meaning that users get customized answers to their questions – not a mountain of duplicative and somewhat related information.
  • eXtension is organized into separate data management and delivery platforms, allowing rapid updates of information and access by users with any Internet–ready device.
  • Educational programs and services are peer reviewed and consistent with standards and protocols to ensure the information is valid, concise and easy to use.

Building Communities of Learning

eXtension serves the educational needs of Communities of Interest (CoI) consisting of individuals who share similar interests, concerns and educational needs around a subject such as food safety, homeland security, lawn and garden, agriculture and natural resources, environment, energy, youth development, families and health/obesity.

Engagement with Communities of Interest is the responsibility of Communities of Practice (CoPs), multidisciplinary, multi-institutional teams of faculty, professional and paraprofessional staff, county educators, and partners who work collaboratively to develop educational programs and activities.These Communities of Practice exist to address specific educational needs and facilitate an on-going engagement with Communities of Interest (CoIs). Industry experts, clientele and/or government agency personnel may also be included in a CoP, as appropriate.

Content Distribution

The eXtension Foundation distributes content to CoIs (customers) in cooperation and on behalf of the land-grant universities.The eXtension Foundation requires a license from all content contributors.The license is intended to foster collaborative work to help each land-grant university better serve customers. All content is distributed according to the eXtension Terms of Use.

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