Tag Archives: communities of practice

Two Extension specialists honored for teamwork in eXtension

The Joint Council of Extension Professionals recognized Christine Skelly, associate professor of animal science and Michigan State University Extension specialist, and Karen Waite, MSU Extension specialist, with its Excellence in Teamwork award for their contributions as members of the eXtension HorseQuest Community of Practice (CoP). The annual award encourages and recognizes successful Extension team programs or projects that demonstrate effective performance and significant result impacts at community, area, state or multi-state levels.

The two were co-founders of My Horse University, a national online horse management program for horse enthusiasts based at MSU and created through a partnership between MSU Extension, the MSU Department of Animal Science and MSU Global. My Horse University and eXtension HorseQuest partner in the shared goal of bringing easily accessible science-based information to equine aficionados.

 Other members of the team and recipients of the award are Betsy Greene, University of Vermont; Kathy Anderson, University of Nebraska; Krishona Martinson, University of Minnesota; and Elaine Bailey, University of Maryland.

 Collaborating with national experts, the HorseQuest team has developed and maintained www.extension.org/horses, which provides information about horse health, care, management and training through interactive learning lessons, webinars, basic information and “Ask an Expert.”

 Congratulations to Christine, Karen and the other members of the HorseQuest team. This is a great example of collaborating between partners in education as well as the use of innovative technology to reach the goal of educating the public. Thank you for your leadership.

 Read more about the award and eXtension HorseQuest here.

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eXtension selected for Google for Nonprofits program

The single nationwide Web presence for Cooperative Extension, eXtension, is another way U.S. land-grant universities provide objective and research-based information and learning opportunities that help people improve their lives.

Since the time our Michigan State University Extension eXtension Institutional Team (I-Team) was formed in Oct. 2009, we’ve made a lot of progress in the increased use and adoption of this Internet-based educational network by MSU Extension staff members and faculty. I’ve reported on that progress and even awards the I-Team has won for outstanding work with eXtension. Educators, specialists and faculty are answering questions on Ask An Expert, leading and participating in Communities of Practice (CoPs) and offering many professional webinars nationally through eXtension.

Recently, eXtension gained additional resources to further strengthen the interactive learning environment as our national “front door.” The eXtension Foundation, which exists to support the work of the national eXtension Initiative, has been selected to participate in the Google for Nonprofits program. Participating in the program gives eXtension access to a free or discounted version of Google Apps (applications). Through the Google grants program, eXtension will get free Adwords advertising and appear as an advertiser on Google search results pages, and have premium branding and increased uploads on YouTube as well as access to other applications. These products and resources will allow us to reach more potential donors or partners, raise awareness and improve business operations. Read about it here.

 The initial CoPs involved in the Google grants program will be DAIReXNET; Families, Food and Fitness; and Just in Time Parenting. Other CoPs will be included as knowledge and experience in participating in the nonprofits program is gained.

 Read more about the Google for Nonprofits Program: http://www.google.com/nonprofits/.

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Michigan State eXtension shines nationally

Michigan State University Extension came off a winner at the 2011 National CoP (Communities of Practice) Workshop in Louisville, Ky., June 29, earning both a team award and an individual award for work with eXtension, the nationwide collaborative web presence for Cooperative Extension.

 The Institutional Teams from MSU and the University of Missouri received the first ever Be Grow Create awards for outstanding work in advocating for and integrating eXtension into their respective institutions. The award recognizes outstanding teams for planning, creativity, organized activities, web conference attendance, director interaction and institutional engagement.

 Team members are Wayne Beyea, Ruth Borger, Erica Ciupak, Kathe Hale, Michelle Rodgers, Chris Skelly, Lela Vandenberg and Liz Wells. Glenn Pape and Erica Tobe were also team members the first year the team was organized in 2009.

 The Institutional Team, known as the I-Team, has made significant strides in the two years since its inception. Most notable are the increases in eXtension IDs, Ask an Expert (AaE) resolved questions and CoP membership. An eXtension ID allows an educator or specialist to contribute to eXtension by answering questions or collaborating with CoPs. Given the strength and commitment of the team’s members and their ongoing effort to promote eXtension involvement, these increases should continue.

 Lela Vandenberg, senior MSU Extension specialist, was one of three recipients of eXtension’s first Be Grow Create Outstanding Institutional Team Member award. The award recognizes her responsiveness and engagement with MSU on behalf of eXtension, her role in institutional team development and sustainability, and eXtension advocacy.

 As chair, Lela has been the driving force behind the eXtension I-Team. She created a series of how-to handouts that have been shared widely. Her online AaE experiential training has dramatically increased staff involvement. More than 150 people have taken the hands-on course. After training, staff members feel competent and excited to answer questions on AaE.

 Lela has shown herself to be a tremendous advocate for eXtension. She’s presented at professional association meetings and statewide conferences to introduce eXtension to the MSUE community, encouraging participation. Lela has worked with the marketing and promoting subcommittee to recruit faculty and staff involvement. Through her leadership, MSU eXtension IDs have gone from 30 in 2008 to 223 in the first six months of 2011.

 The I-Team with Lela at the helm is helping to carry out two of the principles of our redesign – increasing responsiveness and adopting emerging technologies. Clearly, we are doing both with eXtension and winning awards in the process.

 Read more about the I-Team’s win here: http://about.extension.org/2011/07/03/michigan-state-missouri-honored-as-outstanding-institutional-teams/

 Read more about Lela’s win here: http://about.extension.org/2011/07/03/hunnings-hurt-vandenberg-honored-with-be-grow-create-awards/

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eXtension earns an ‘A’ on report card

We have some exciting news to report regarding one of our principles of the redesign, “enhancing technology.” While there are many ways to measure our use of technology in carrying out our mission, one metric is the use of eXtension, the Internet-based collaborative environment where land-grand university content providers exchange research-based knowledge solving problems in real time. The 2010 report is out, and we’re surprised and encouraged by the progress we’ve made since our eXtension Institutional Team was formed in October 2009. This progress is thanks to many of YOU who are answering questions through Ask an Expert, leading and participating in Communities of Practice (CoP) with colleagues across the country, and offering national webinars to colleagues and the public. Here are some of the highlights of the most recent report comparing 2008–2010 data.

Metric 2008 2009 2010
Total Site Visits (number of individual sessions initiated by visitors to eXtension from Michigan) 25,626 54,069 66,589
Total Pageviews (number of pages viewed while at the eXtension site) 59,708 116,248 138,505
Answers to FAQs (frequently asked questions) Published by MSUE (peer reviewed and part of CoP) 35 17 58
Total Number of Questions Resolved by MSUE 152 264 723
eXtension IDs (total number of participating MSUE staff) 30 131 188

 Additionally, Michigan State University is represented by 146 eXtension members in 29 of the 47 approved Communities of Practice. And there’s more! To see the total state and institutional report for Michigan for the year 2010, go to the following website: http://tinyurl.com/eXtensionreport

 Also note that the Ask an Expert feature is now on the new MSU Extension website and Lela Vandenberg and Liz Wells are training an increasing number of individuals to respond to questions that come in through this feature as well as the Ask an Expert feature on the national website.

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