April 1999 // Volume 37 // Number 2
Results? Behavior Change!
Planning programs that result in clientele making changes in their behavior provides challenges to Extension professionals. These include motivating our clientele to adopt new behaviors, supporting individuals as they make changes, determining what constitutes a behavior change, and measuring the degree of change. Time spent documenting behavior change as required by the Government Reporting Act may result in fewer programs but increased impact of educational efforts. In addition to implications for program staff, administrators, too, are challenged by the need to substantiate practice adoption.
A Contrast of the Australian and California Extension and Technology Transfer Processes
Distinguishing features of the California and Australian Extension programs are identified and discussed. The purpose of this activity was to identify similarities and differences between the two approaches, with an interest in evaluating how privatization or cost-recovery might alter California Extension programs. The commonalities of the Australian programs were determined by in-depth interviews with Extension providers or users in seven states or territories. The conclusions were that fundamental differences in philosophies and objectives of California and Australia make direct comparisons difficult, that there are important similarities and differences between the two approaches and that there are opportunities for both systems to learn from each other or adopt portions of the other's methodology that are appropriate to their respective missions.
Rural Recreation in Illinois: The Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project
This explains how comprehensive summer recreation programs may be introduced into small rural communities. Property tax revenue in small rural communities does not appear to be a viable source of funding for summer recreation programs. While some city funds may be available, this article indicates that there are other multiple sources of possible funding. One of the key components of the Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project is the professional training and the professionalism of the recreation directors who are students in the recreation curricula of several state universities. Professional direction and citizen support contribute to the success of such programs.
Assessing In-Service Education: Identifying Barriers to Success
This study examined Pennsylvania's in-service education process for county Extension educators. All county educators were surveyed to determine preference for in-service delivery, format, and type, perceived amount of voice in determining in-service offerings, and reasons for not attending in-service training. Ways to integrate the in-service process into the plan of work process were also investigated. County Extension educators find it increasingly difficult to commit time to in-service education. They desire more distance-delivered training and an active voice in planning and selecting in-services. Changes made to Pennsylvania's in-service and plan of work processes as a result of this study are discussed.
Readers' Views Regarding the Electronic Journal of Extension: Results of Subscriber Surveys
JOE subscribers were electronically surveyed in 1996 and 1998 to determine use and usefulness of the Journal. Results showed that Web access of the Journal doubled in 1998; that in both years feature articles were accessed the most; and that readers feel the ideas and information in the Journal are useful and will be used some time. Positive features included easy and quick access, archival search, downloading, and networking with authors. It was concluded that the electronic JOE has engaged Extension personnel in scholarship and fills a useful role for the profession.
Development and Design of a "Gateway" to Food Safety Information on the Internet for Extension Educators
Consumer education is essential to decreasing food borne illness. Extension educators need food safety information that is both accurate and timely. Many are using the Internet as a tool for distance education, as it offers "just in time training" and information retrieval. The North Carolina CES developed a food safety information retrieval system on the Web. Upon completion, the system has received much national attention. It was rated "Among the Best" by Tufts University and featured as one of the top ten Web sites for food safety and nutrition information in a USA Today article.
Research in Brief
Using Video of a Master Farmer to Teach Others
An inexpensively produced videotape of a master dairy farmer showing how he manages his dairy farm had a significant educational impact on other dairy farmers. A survey of farmers who watched the video showed that every dairy farmer identified something important they learned from watching it. Sixty-nine percent of them adopted one or more new practices in their business. Keys to successful video production were an articulate master farmer who uses innovative production practices; an inquisitive team of university faculty asking questions as they toured the farm, and careful preparation and use of audio and video equipment. Inexpensively produced videos of masters in other fields may have similar impact.
Community Coalitions: Identifying Changes in Coalition Members as a Result of Training
Educating citizens to be better able to serve on community coalition members is an important role of Cooperative Extension. The purpose of this project was to identify changes community coalition members perceived as a result of training and being a coalition member. Areas measured were changes in: (a) skills in coalition building, (b) actions on public policy, and (c) knowledge of community needs related to youth issues. Results of paired t-tests showed that participants had significantly greater coalition building skills and increased actions on public policy. Implications of these findings and ways to effectively implement coalition member education are discussed.
Ideas at Work
All Foods Can Fit - All People Can Fit: Using Plays about Food To Promote Healthy Eating and Body Image to Young Children
A majority of girls and young women struggle with body image, food and weight problems. Extension Educators have utilized "All Foods Can Fit - All People Can Fit," a musical production designed to help address the development of a healthy body image. Children learn that all foods can be a part of a healthy diet, and that regardless of one's physical appearance, all are equal. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods show that the messages of balance, variety, and moderation and healthy body image were received by a majority of the children.
Organizing for Central Business District Revitalization
Extension can play an important role in the development of a coordinated central business district revitalization effort. When viewed as an impartial observer without specific personal agendas, Extension is ideally suited to act as an organizing agent in the development of a coordinating committee structure. Communities of all types and sizes possess volunteers interested in revitalizing the central business district. Extension programming enabled these volunteers to realize their potentials and constraints, define their objectives, and develop strategies for action. The relationships that have been developed as a result of the project have been far-reaching and should be long-lasting. The methods that have been successfully employed in this program can be used by others in Extension facing similar tasks.
"Ohio 4-H CARTEENS": Peer Intervention Safety Program
The Ohio 4-H CARTEENS is a peer education program designed to reduce the number of second time juvenile traffic offenders. 4-H CARTEENS has been in existence for ten years. The unique aspect of the program is that teens collaborate with the juvenile court system and the Ohio Highway Patrol in 34 counties. The teen presenters utilized court violation data to determine program content. Junior leaders or other teen facilitators plan and run the two-hour safety programs. With guidance from the Ohio Highway Patrol and training by the 4-H Youth professional, the facilitators cover topics such as defensive driving techniques, rural road safety, and overcoming negative peer pressure.
Tools of the Trade
Assessing Your Collaboration: A Self Evaluation Tool
Many scholars have studied the collaborative process and have suggested that there are several key factors that promote or inhibit the collaborative process. Given the importance of these factors, a self-evaluation tool was developed to assist existing and forming groups. This self-evaluation tool examines thirteen, factors that can influence the collaborative process. The information gained from this tool can provide group members with an understanding of the strengths and challenges they face as they work to reach their goals.
Designing A Farm Resume
Competition for rental acreage is increasing. As demand for renting farmable land increases, producers wanting to rent land must become salesman of their management practices to differentiate themselves from the competition. Rental land may not always go to the highest bidder in either a cash, crop-share, or flexible rent arrangement. Now, environmental factors and communication with the land owner are criteria for gaining the right to farm the land owner's ground. This paper outlines the method whereby producer skills and producer management practices are summarized through development of a farm resume.
Cronbach's Alpha: A Tool for Assessing the Reliability of Scales
Summated scales are often used in survey instruments to probe underlying constructs that the researcher wants to measure. These may consist of indexed responses to dichotomous or multi-point questionnaires, which are later summed to arrive at a resultant score associated with a particular respondent. Usually, development of such scales is not the end of the research itself, but rather a means to gather predictor variables for use in objective models. However, the question of reliability rises as the function of scales is stretched to encompass the realm of prediction. One of the most popular reliability statistics in use today is Cronbach's alpha (Cronbach, 1951). Cronbach's alpha determines the internal consistency or average correlation of items in a survey instrument to gauge its reliability. This paper will illustrate the use of the ALPHA option of the PROC CORR procedure from SAS(R) to assess and improve upon the reliability of variables derived from summated scales.