by John Dorner
Social media tools are best suited for TWO-WAY communications, and brands don’t converse. In this session we will discuss how Extension professionals can and do use social media for engaging and collaborating with their audiences; not to establish brand awareness, but to further their educational goals.
"You can choose to live your online life as a brand, and commit yourself to a strategic online presence that is based on maximizing the ROI of your every online utterance. Or you can choose to be a person, committed to online authenticity not because it's a best practice for social media marketing, but because it's an extension of your offline integrity. You get to choose whether you live in an online world that's made up of the interaction among brands or one that's made up of interaction among people. "
- Alexandra Samuel (Social Media in 2011: Six Choices You Need to Make, Harvard Business Review)
Have you ever heard anyone say, “Extension is the best-kept secret” in your state? We’ve all heard it, and we’ve all said it, for decades. Now is the time to make sure no one ever has reason to say that again! After laying a science-based foundation of research and strategic planning, we are ready to implement the branding initiative for Extension nationally. Led by ECOP’s Marketing and Communications Implementation Team and the Brand Value CoP in eXtension, the initiative is gathering steam! Come to hear about progress so far, future plans, and how you can be part of this effort to change Extension’s future for the better!
Animal behavioral scientist Dr. Temple Grandin is a strong advocate for more humane livestock handling, and has designed numerous innovations at such facilities that help to reduce stress in animals during their final minutes. She has devoted her career to improving conditions at the large processing plants that slaughter some of the 40 billion pounds of cattle and pigs for human consumption every year in the United States.
Grandin is an animal science professor at Colorado State University where she conducts ongoing research on animal handling systems and teaches courses on livestock handling and facility design. Grandin also shares animal handling and animal welfare expertise with Colorado ranchers and farmers. She regularly consults with large feedlots, commercial meat packers, organic and natural livestock producers, ranches, and major corporations including Wendy’s International, Burger King, Whole Foods, Chipotle and McDonald’s Corporation.
Grandin has published several hundred industry publications, book chapters and technical papers on animal handling, 45 refereed journal articles, and seven books including New York Times best seller Animals in Translation. She has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, and been featured in several magazines. In 2010 she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people.
She has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology Magazine, the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute and the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
At age two Grandin had no speech and showed signs of severe autism. Her mother defied the advice of the doctors and kept her out of an institution. Many hours of speech therapy and intensive teaching helped Grandin learn to talk. Despite a childhood of constant teasing, Grandin persevered. Her high school science teacher and experiences on her aunt’s Arizona ranch motivated Grandin to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.
Grandin holds a B.A. from Fanklin Pierce College (1970), an M.S. in Animal Science from Arizona State University (1975), and a Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois (1989).
In 2010, HBO premiered a movie about Grandin’s early life and career with the livestock industry. The movie received seven Emmy awards including Best Actress in a Drama for Claire Danes.
by Brian Meyer
One advantage of a close, collaborative partnership is that sometimes (if you’re lucky), you forget the institutional or organizational boundaries you normally work in and good things happen. That’s been the case between Iowa State University and the Iowa Soybean Association — a fruitful partnership with a common mission to serve and inform farmers. Learn how university-state association partnerships like these, at a time when land-grant university budgets continue to shrink, can take on new relevance. The Iowa Soybean Association has provided nearly $40 million in funding over the past 35 years—an investment that never neglects communications goals, even in the brainstorming stage on lab and field research. To paraphrase Midwest writer Gary Eller, growing soybeans and stringing words together are something taken seriously in Iowa.
Ever your feel your website has gotten out of control? Unreviewed content, extreme visual variation, outdated web practices (say, a dancing garlic animation), pages on new employees who’ve been there 5 years. You want to fix it, but the idea of embarking on a full-scale web redesign seems as likely as winning the lottery.
To tackle this challenge so many organizations face, University of Minnesota Extension embarked on a program website pilot project: forming a collaborative central and center web team to create a web development process and the tools to support it, while building four pilot websites to understand what’s needed and doable to make a smart, sustainable site.
Join us as we cover everything from audience understanding; site organization; content review; template development; developing a plan for web evaluation, promotion, and governance; incorporating social media and audience feedback; making cross-unit collaboration work; and designating a program web leader to maintain the investment as we build the pilot sites for Dairy Extension, Master Gardener, Food Safety, and Small Farms.
On February 18, ECOP asked eXtension to create a plan using social media to draw attention to House Resolution with reduced current fiscal year's budget by $29 million. In this session, we will review the plan, some of the feedback we received, and some of the outcomes. We encourage session participants to ask questions about the plan and to discuss their institution's role in social media during the month when the continuing budget resolution was being addressed by Congress.
This session would explore how jargon can slow down and confuse readers, including editors and reporters we hope will use our news releases. The presenter would show examples of jargon-laced sentences that inhibit reader understanding and how they could be improved for easier comprehension, often with minor "tweaking" of words and phrases. Included would be discussion of when some jargon might be acceptable, such as in writing for a specific audience. But the bulk of the session would focus on how to eliminate jargon when writing for a general audience. Discussion would include how our constant exposure to jargon at a university can affect our writing: We hear jargon every day in speeches and in our interviews with researchers, professors and Extension specialists, and we read it in research papers and academic publications. The presenter would challenge participants to look for jargon in their writing and to consider whether its use is appropriate for the intended audience. Presenter had 25 years of experience at The Associated Press in writing for general readers.
From annual reports and newsletters to regular county commissioner updates, communicating results from Extension programs in Colorado has never been more important. With the economic downturn and slow recovery, actual and potential funders are more critically evaluating the programs they'll financially support. Succinctly describing the value of Colorado State University Extension programs and personnel across the state--at the same time that communication units face downsizing--requires focused effort.
While administrators and field staff have always reported the results of programs, in 2010 it was decided that an intensified impact reporting initiative was required. As state, regional and county stakeholders approach Extension’s value with a more discerning eye (in fact, some counties seek return on investment and performance indicators) impact reporting can offer quantifiable accountability through objective demonstration of key measures, as well as a qualitative summary of the difference Extension makes in people’s lives and their communities.
This session will provide an overview of CSU Extension’s new impact reporting initiative. We’ll discuss the framework we used to establish the initiative, explain our process for identifying, producing, reviewing and publishing reports, and share our challenges, successes and what we would like to accomplish with this initiative.
by John McQueen
eOrganic and other eXtension Communities of Practice are coordinating webinar series as a new means of engaging stakeholders. We will discuss:
As part of redesigning our college student website, we worked with a key academic administrator to obtain grant funding to make the project a reality. Come hear what we learned through trying to coordinate student labor, contract labor, alumni schedules, web content management and mandated federal accessibility requirements (508 compliance). Leave this session prepared to ask hard questions of clients, prioritize content and ready to tackle your website redesign without losing your mind.
by Kevin Gamble
This session will explore the findings of significant research surrounding social network analysis from a mathematical, anthropological, sociological, and psychological perspective. We will look at the following issues through the researcher's lens:
The session will be a fast, and hopefully fun, overview of the latest research in social network analysis. No single topic will be covered in much depth, but participants will be provided a bibliography for further reading. The hope is that participants will be intrigued by the science, and will continue the dialogue and reading for years to come.
We say we're research-based-- this session will address the science behind our educational and communication strategies. Are we practicing what we preach?
Texas AgriLife Extension Service lives on information delivery and the Internet is a preferred method for many of our customers use to find information. Commonly Extension agents present educational programs to live audiences and miss the opportunity to reach online consumers.
The session will illustrate how the Extension agents in the Coastal Bend are trained to capture their live educational presentations and convert these programs for delivery via the Internet. Agents learn how to capture live program using Camtasia software and USB wireless microphones with just a few clicks of the mouse to produce rich quality video and audio. The process includes on how the agents are trained to edit and upload the finished product to one of Extension YouTube channels and Media Matrix server. The session covers how agents and specialists are used as training resources and how they continue to provide technical help to other agents and specialists.
eXtension worked with BrainTraffic to create a process for auditing web content created by Communities of Practice. Using the tools and recommendations developed a content appraisal process was created. eXtension will use this process for appraising Communities of Practice content published on extension.org. It is also a process others in CES can use to appraise their existing Web content. In this 90-minute training session, attendees will learn how to use the process to audit Web content. Attendees will go over the process by which content can be evaluated using 6 attributes: knowledge level, interrelatedness, relevance, usability, actionability and differentiation. Attendees will then rate sample content, using the attributes, and compare the content to examples of high and low rated content. In addition, attendees will learn how eXtension and communities of practice make use of Google sites and Google documents to easily perform the audits, house data, access the data, and how CoPs use the data they collect through the audit process.
Annual meeting of the Leadership and Management SIG
In the lean economic times that we still find ourselves in, we often find ourselves turning to the cheaper option of hiring student workers to aid us in continuing to meet the expectations of our clients. Frequently they are soon prove themselves to be invaluable, whether it be in our help desks, design shops, studios, or some other area of our daily operations. But there are some nuances that accompany the introduction of more students into our systems. We will cover aspects such as interviewing, scheduling, setting expectations, proper supervision, feedback, and separation. This relationship can be rewarding relationship for both you and the student if you keep a few simple concepts in mind. The audience will be invited to actively participate.
For those of you interested in publishing or graphic design, you’re invited to the 2011 Publishing SIG session. For inspiration, we will invite recipients of gold awards in publishing and graphic design categories to talk informally about their winning entries: challenges, fun aspects, tips they want to share. We will also listen to your advice about our professional development offerings. What did you think of the e-publishing workshop offered before the conference? What training/events would you like in the future? We’ll conclude the session by handing off our version of the gavel – a big red pen – to our new SIG chair. For those who want to stick around, we are also offering a group sharing session on updates to the various style guides that have published new editions recently. Please come with a tidbit or two about changes you’ve discovered. Now, where else would you find all of that in one convenient location?
Communicating about climate change can be a complicated challenge. Scientists studying the topic may lack essential communication skills. The results of their research may be difficult to understand, or conflict with other studies. Public debate over the causes or existence of climate change may cast doubt on the validity of research studies and related educational programs.
Join us for a session that will help you successfully communicate about climate change science. Learn from the experiences of a diverse group of panelists and gain confidence in your ability to provide accurate, balanced, and current information.
Thanks to the work in their Learning Games Lab designers at NMSU have developed a set of tools and strategies for user testing. Applicable to any user testing, Barbara and Jeanne will share what they've learned about what works, what doesn't works, and how to confront the challenges of making games and products that work.
Budget zombies have eaten your IT, Extension, and other staffs, but you still have to serve your public. What to do? This session will focus on the need to make content as transparent, accessible, and intuitive as possible to free up and maximize remaining resources.
- What is content? Not just words on a website, but expertise, events, pubs, and user-generated information.
- Moving from an organization-centered to a user-focused presentation of content. Streamlining Extension operations necessitated a shift to a more topic-focused website that includes all related, relevant content. Also involved organizing and categorizing pubs to make them easier to find. Focus not only on findability on our website, but through Google. Finally, required making events sortable and findable by topic, location, etc., and efficiently publicizing these events.
- Recognizing that part of “user focus” is using available tools to listen to your public, like Google Analytics and social media. OIT/OC people are no longer the final arbiters of what the public wants to see or how they want to see it. Thanks to web 2.0, they can tell us themselves, and we should listen.
The Learn (Mostly) Online Workshop, piloted from January – September 2011, offers faculty from University of Minnesota Extension and the University’s Academic Health Center (AHC) a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the development and production of an online or hybrid course. With funding from the office of the Vice Provost for Distance Education and Instructional Technology, the LMOL workshop was developed collaboratively by Extension, the AHC Office of Education, and the Office of Information Technology.
The Workshop designers from Extension and AHC created an innovative, team-based curriculum that utilizes the expertise of multiple units across the institution. The Workshop provides a first-hand immersion experience for teams of educators to learn about and practice each of the steps in the systematic design, development, evaluation, and continuous improvement of a hybrid or online course.
Participants in this session will:
• Experience a demonstration of the Learn (Mostly) Online workshop’s online modules, and face-to-face learning activities
• Learn an innovative project evaluation which uses multiple methods including network analysis, surveys, self-reports, and focus groups to promote continuous improvement and examine cultural change within the University
• Learn how other Universities can utilize the Learn (Mostly) Online Workshop curriculum
In this session, you will learn how the ACES/Ag IT Department handles disaster recovery operations of virtual servers using a software package called Veeam. This software allows the department to make full replicas of running virtual servers in an off-site location. If disaster should strike, the entire virtual environment could be back online in minutes.
What do an analysis of an ag company’s advertisements, a study of blended e-learning tools, a review of an anthrax outbreak response and a study of digital versus printed publications have in common? They all were recently featured in the Journal of Applied Communications (JAC). JAC is ACE’s peer-reviewed journal that includes both theoretical and applied articles on research and evaluation, professional development, commentaries and reviews. The journal is online for worldwide access. Come learn what kinds of articles JAC is looking for, the simple submission process and more so you, too, can contribute. No matter your educational level, your subject matter expertise or your article category preference, you can submit to JAC. And the journal is only as good as its submissions.
Long time users of the subversion version control software, the eXtension Engineering Team had the crazy idea in 2010 to switch to using the distributed version control software known as "git" - and using the "GitHub" service to help us in that transition. This session will highlight how we use git to manage the source code we write and adapt for the extension.org sites, and most importantly talk about the lessons we learned along the way, and the things that we are still learning about how we work and the tools that we've chosen.
by John McQueen
The OSU Horticulture Department has had many public websites initiated by individual faculty, located on multiple servers and employing varied technologies. As a result, some of those websites languished or became security risks; many had no search functionality or clear site navigation. Additionally, without a private departmental content management system (CMS), administrative committee work was conducted primarily by email and document sharing on intranet drives, which were not always available to campus personnel.
We will demonstrate and discuss an OSU Department of Horticulture initiative that addresses these concerns. We have implemented a single, centralized CMS with these features:
1. Public group information branded with its own graphic theming.
2. Private group collaborative workspaces, each with its own leaders and membership.
3. User-friendly tools so public content can be easily developed, published, and updated by groups of faculty, staff and collaborators.
4. Multiple security levels for view/edit access to content and documents.
5. Several ways of tagging and organizing content types to allow diverse stakeholders to easily find information.
6. Since the system is supported by multiple faculty and staff members, it is sustainable over the longer term (it takes a village to support a website).
by Évery Ware
The way we do business is constantly changing and the way we manage computers needs to catch up. To catch up with our changing environment systems should provide the flexibility to absorb change. They need to allow the freedom to explore and nurture good ideas while ensuring a level of security and dependability. And there needs to be enough consistency to allow continuity in the support model by support staff.
We recently purchased licenses for Casper Suite by JAMF Software to provide a unified and extensible framework for managing our Mac OS X clients. This suite is also capable of managing iOS clients like iPhones and iPads. I just opened the box to this software and started rebuilding our client management framework.
I will discuss client management in this changing environment based on my experience with Casper Suite. There are several client management solutions to address desktop and mobile environments. I think I have one answer and I hope I am right. I’ll let you tell me after the session.
When it came time to replace the phone systems in Vermont field offices, we wanted to find a way to make inter-office calling and call transfers easy and affordable. We were not ready to give up on POTS lines just yet, rather were were interested in adding to our existing infrastructure. The process involved more than just a phone switch replacement. ISPs needed to be changed; LANs fine tuned and in one case the partial re-cabling of an office had to be performed. While the phone systems were replaced in the summer of 2010, snags in the preparation of the VoIP setup have postponed the implementation of the inter-office calling until March 2011. In this presentation, I will discuss the entire process, successes and pitfalls that we came upon during implementation.
NC Cooperative Extension had developed a very successful Facebook and Twitter presence. With the exploding use of video on the Internet and mobile devices, we had also setup a YouTube channel. We found that we had old videos, but current video content was hard to come by. It was clear that we needed to build capacity to create video content. With funding and support from Extension Administration, Extension IT purchased 40 camera kits for our county centers. In order to receive the equipment, an individual or group within a county was required to participate in training on using the equipment, shooting good video, and editing for the final product. In addition, they were required to produce an “Extension Is…” video to be captioned and uploaded to YouTube. Finished videos are reviewed and the ones selected are used to showcase our organization.
This presentation will describe the equipment that we purchased, the training presented, and how this project has enabled our county centers to better tell their stories.
Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in a roundtable discussion about the challenges and opportunities in their academic programs, as well as share ideas and advice to improve each other’s programs as well as their own. This will include a range of topics that may include, but are not limited to: curriculum development as a result of the social media movement, teaching controversial issues communication, relationships with journalism/media colleges, and graduate curriculum. SIG members are encouraged to bring handouts they may feel would be relevant to this discussion to share with others. The session will also include updates from the various academic programs. Finally, members of the Academic Programs SIG will vote for the vice-chair elect position.
10th–13th June 2011