Tag Archives: gwyn shelle

10 facts about MSU and eXtension you didn’t know

Chris Geith, CEO to the eXtension Foundation, provided me with some exciting news and information about eXtension. The mission of eXtension is to help Cooperative Extension System professionals increase their measurable local impact by helping them accomplish their work more effectively using an online constellation of people, resources and tools. Michigan State University Extension has a long and active history with eXtension and continues to partner with this great initiative. Here are 10 facts about our involvement with eXtension that you didn’t know.

  1. In 2015, 2,446 questions from Michigan residents were answered using the Ask an Expert system.
  1. 167 MSU Extension specialists, educators and volunteers helped to answer these 2,446 questions through Ask an Expert.
  1. eXtension also has two communities of practice led by MSU: All About Blueberries, led by Extension educator Mark Longstroth, and Community Planning and Zoning ‒ Land Use Planning, led by Extension educator Glenn Pape.
  1. For the Land Use Planning Community of Practice, MSU Extension and eXtension are partnering to pilot a third-party service to see if we can increase the usefulness of content and potentially generate new revenue sources together.
  1. This pilot partnership is not out of the ordinary; MSU Extension has a history of building new models with eXtension – such as MyHorseUniversity, which continues to have a strong relationship with the HorseQuest community of practice.
  1. Three members of the newly formed i-Three Issue Corps are from MSU: Mariel Borgman, Kaitlin Wojciak and Garret Zeigler. They are contributing to the Michigan Supply Chain Wizards that will address key issues in food systems and climate.
  1. MSU Extension also has almost 40 online courses available through the eXtension Campus/Moodle Because of MSU’s premium membership with eXtension, there are several important benefits available to MSU Extension staff.
  1. Recently awarded to MSU Extension, the $1.48 million New Technologies in Ag Extension grant includes instructional design by Gwyn Shelle, administrative support provided by Angela Jernstadt, with Chris Geith serving as the primary investigator.
  1. Gwyn is also a recipient of one of nine Innovation grants eXtension awarded last year out of almost 50 proposals submitted. Gwyn and Katie Ockert are presented at the National eXtension annual conference that takes place in San Antonio, Texas, March 22‒
  1. Bruce Haas served a critical role as a key advisor to the i-Three Issue Corps in the new “boot camp” at the event.

Thanks to Chris for welcoming me and sharing such great news from eXtension.

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eXtension awards grant for developing adaptive learning techniques

The eXtension Foundation has identified nine projects that will be funded as part of its 2015 Innovation Request for Proposals. Forty-eight proposals were submitted, and nine were awarded for the granting period of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. Grantees will be required to engage in face-to-face meetings with the eXtension Foundation to gauge impact, conduct at least one professional development session on the project, and make a presentation at the 2016 National eXtension Conference next March.

Gwyn Shelle, Alan Pilkenton, Dawn Earnesty, Ellen Darnall and Erin Powell submitted the proposal “Building Personalized Learning Experiences for Adult Learners Through Adaptive Learning Techniques,” for which they have been awarded the grant. This project will evaluate and pilot adaptive learning tools for future Cooperative Extension programming. Adaptive learning refers to a nonlinear approach to instruction that adjusts to student needs as they progress through course content – resulting in a customized experience for the learner based on prior knowledge.

The team of experts will research several existing adaptive learning tools and consult with experts in the field of online learning who are currently implementing adaptive learning into their programming. They will design and deliver adaptive learning activities within existing Michigan State University Extension online courses through several selected pilot projects. Specific objectives of the project include:

  • Increase knowledge of adaptive learning tools through research and collaboration with leaders in the field of online learning who are investing in adaptive learning tools. Many adaptive learning tools will be assessed and ranked based on potential use within Cooperative Extension Services programming.
  • Design and deliver adaptive learning activities within existing online courses through several selected pilot projects. Online focus groups will be administered to receive qualitative feedback on the effectiveness of the adaptive learning method.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the adaptive learning activities through online evaluations, retention rates compared to traditional online content, and general course data.

This grant will go a long way toward helping MSU Extension reach our audiences in new ways, and we’re excited to see where it goes!

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