February 2004 // Volume 42 // Number 1
"JOE by the Numbers" reports on our submission, acceptance, and readership rates for 2003, and discusses two significant numbers for 2004: "10" and "40." "February 2004 JOE" makes mention of some of the articles published in this month's issue and of what they have in common.
On Line and In Touch: Meeting the Challenges of Communication for Extension Professionals
Ten years ago the Journal of Extension moved to an electronic format
to better serve Extension professionals. A survey of recent JOE authors
showed strong support for the Web-based format of the journal. Authors
lauded the searchability of the database, the ease of the manuscript submission
process, and their ability to reach their field-based audience through
the electronic format. Some authors raised concerns about the credibility
of Web publications like the Journal of Extension and about slow
manuscript review turn-around times. The Journal of Extension has
instituted changes to address these concerns.
Co-Authoring Papers in Research Teams: Avoiding the Pitfalls
In many states, both county-based and campus-based Extension
staff are expected to conduct research and publish in both academic journals
and practitioner publications. More Extension professionals are now experiencing
the struggles associated with the sticky issues of authorship that faculty
have long experienced. We set the stage with several true stories and present
several points that can be used to avoid the common and difficult pitfalls
of authorship that create ill will, even among close colleagues. By using
the guidelines presented, it is possible to have professionally rewarding
co-authoring experiences and to avoid the quagmire that results from either
unthinking or unethical behavior.
Leadership Styles of Agricultural Communications and Information Technology Managers: What Does the Competing Values Framework Tell Us About Them?
The study described here compared the leadership styles of managers of agricultural
communications, information technology, and combined units among USDA-CSREES
state partners. A Web-based survey was used to collect data from 94 managers
in 48 states and USDA-CSREES. The survey collected demographic information
and also included the Competing Values Instrument: Self-Assessment, which
was used to measure leaders in eight manager roles. Conclusions from the
study include: 1) managers are more similar in their styles than dissimilar,
2) managers can benefit from training to strengthen and balance their skills,
and 3) state partners can diversify and improve their leadership by including
ORIGINS: A Valuable Web-Based Resource for Community Economic Development
This article describes a successful partnership among Oklahoma State University,
the University of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Together
they maintain an electronic database containing a wide range of Oklahoma-specific
data. The Internet has made this bulletin board, called ORIGINS, incredibly
easy for the average person to use. Recently, the biggest complaint regarding
ORIGINS is that it almost has too much data. Educators at the Oklahoma
Cooperative Extension Service at OSU have taken their wireless computer
lab on the road to try to teach community leaders about the Internet, about
ORIGINS, and about other tools available to help develop local economies.
Pond Management: An Evaluation of Web-Based Information Delivery
This article evaluates the effectiveness of Web site use in improving pond
management practices within New York and as a resource for improving pond management
information delivery. Using inquiry statistics generated by the Pond Management
Web site, we identified and addressed specific seasonal information needs.
Based on email survey results, more than half of the Web site users reported
making some pond management changes as recommended in the Web site. This Web
site clearly provides an improved ability to understand and address user needs
in a changing environment.
Micro Business Use of Technology and Extension's Role
Information and communication technology (ICT) has changed the way many firms
operate, but little is known concerning ICT use by micro businesses, businesses
employing 10 or fewer people. This article reports a study investigating ICT
use by 193 Oklahoma micro business owners. These businesses actively used computers
and the Internet. Many owners had Web pages, and those pages often generated
a profit, although typically very small. The findings can help Extension professionals
understand micro businesses better and assist them to develop programs focused
on helping owners use current technology to enhance productivity and improve
Educational Interests of Extension Agents: Implications for the Delivery of Educational Programming at a Distance
How interested are Extension agents in receiving education at a distance?
Are agents focused on earning a graduate degree via distance, or are they
inclined to pursue a certification, or even enroll for a single course?
Do agents perceive they possess sufficient competence to learn effectively
on-line? What do agents believe are significant barriers preventing
them from furthering their education via distance? If sufficient interest
exists, what steps should colleges of agriculture take to meet the needs
of this audience? This article reports responses from 238 Extension agents
in Georgia to questions about their interest in learning at a distance.
Research in Brief
Using Technology to Link Researchers and Educators: Evaluation of Electronic Conferencing
Extension Educators' effectiveness in the field is enhanced by the desire
and practice of keeping current in the research related to their work.
They often rely on conference attendance to learn first-hand from researchers
in their field. This article reviews the development, implementation, and
effectiveness of a 5-day electronic conference that connected educators
in the field and from multiple states with top researchers in a selected
area of study. Evaluation data showed that e-conferencing can serve as
a cost-effective educational approach for communicating information and
stimulating program and professional development. Recommendations for conducting
on-line seminars are offered.
Educational Needs of Beginning Farmers as Perceived by Iowa Extension Professional Staff
A survey of local and state Extension professionals in Iowa and implications
for Extension and beginning farmer education are discussed. Professional
groups differed slightly in their ratings, but perceived educational providers
to be useful overall. They rated the Internet as the most useful media
and gave low ratings to radio and newspaper. This contrasts with earlier
opinions of beginning farmers. The groups supported using input from farmers
and problem-solving methods, but disagreed when rating distance education
for program delivery. The topics perceived to be most important were in
the business area.
School Enrichment: An Investigation of the Degree, Impact, and Factors for Success in Colorado
School enrichment is efficient for 4-H in reaching diverse youth in large
numbers. But to what degree are agents utilizing school enrichment efforts?
What is the impact of these efforts? And what are the factors for success?
This article describes a sample of school enrichment activities occurring
across the state of Colorado. The research represents the experiences of
20 Extension agents who conduct school enrichment programs. Recommendations
for further study are proposed.
Identifying What 4-H'ers Learn from Community Service Learning Projects
The article reports a study determining what 4-H delegates learned from community
service learning projects conducted at Virginia's 4-H Congress. Four hundred
and fifteen 4-H delegates participated and completed open-ended reflection
instruments to address the research question. Delegates indicated they learned:
(a) the importance of helping youth and the community, (b) new skills and information,
(c) the significance of teamwork, (d) project ideas, and (e) resources to assist
with project implementation. Additionally, their feedback helped identify project
experiences that were ineffective. This information will ultimately assist
program developers to successfully integrate community service learning programming
into Virginia's 4-H curriculum.
Youth Perspectives on Food Safety
Many 4-H and Family and Consumer Science educators are interested
in educating 4-Hers about the importance of food safety and preventing foodborne
illnesses. Before planning a food safety program, it is important to ask
questions that will yield such information as what food safety topics interest
4-Hers and how they want to receive this information. Such questions, as
well as others, were asked of 285 4-Hers in an exploratory study. The study's
findings provide some guidance to Extension specialist and county faculty
who design and deliver food safety education to 4-H youth in their state/county.
Agricultural Biotechnology Training for Extension Educators
Public acceptance or rejection will be important to the future of genetic
modification technology. Given that the public reports itself to be poorly
educated about the subject, there is an education opportunity for Extension
educators. Pre- and post-tests measuring awareness and attitudes were administered
to 55 participants (46 Extension educators) in a biotechnology workshop. Respondents'
predict farmers will accept biotechnology as a practice sooner than consumers
will. Biotechnology workshop topics in reduction of pesticides, benefits to
the environment, control of released genes, safer food, harming the environment,
added nutritional value, and risk compared to pesticides were recommended for
consumers and farmers.
Ideas at Work
Developing a National Web-Based Learning Center for Natural Resource Education
The National Web-Based Learning Center for Private Forest and Range Landowners
is being built to be a "virtual natural resource education center" to
provide interactive online instruction for the target audience of all private
forest and range landowners and managers. Content for the Center is being
developed by land-grant universities across the nation. Content modules
will contain timely information on a particular topic relating to natural
resource management and utilize interactive Web features to enhance the
learning experience of the user. The Center will provide increased access
to accurate information on natural resource management to forest and range
An Effective One-Hour Consumer-Education Program on Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior Toward Functional Foods
An education intervention was designed by Purdue Extension to improve
functional food knowledge of Indiana residents. A questionnaire was created
to examine the ability of the intervention to change participants' knowledge,
attitudes, and dietary behaviors regarding functional foods. A 31-slide
PowerPoint presentation, accompanying script, and additional handouts were
created for this intervention. In this sample, a 1-hour functional food
intervention significantly improved consumers' knowledge regarding functional
foods immediately after the intervention and 6 weeks later. Participants'
consumption behaviors increased significantly at 6 weeks.
Rediscovering the Potential of In-Depth Training for Extension Educators
In exploring in-service training methods, Extension shouldn't forget
the potential of in-depth, face-to-face in-service training for facilitating
the integration and application of more complex knowledge and skills.
The Florida Innovators Program (FIP) is a 2-year professional development
program for Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H agents during which
participants develop a program for at-risk audiences. After program workshops,
agents implement their projects with the help of a seed grant and evaluate
and report on the results. Evaluation indicates that FIP's approach is
building the participants' capacity to implement community-based programs
and highlights program characteristics that enhance the value of face-to-face
4-H Site-Based Youth Development Programs: Reaching Underserved Youth in Targeted Communities
The very youth in most need of programs are often left outside the programming
circle. Reaching underserved youth is the impetus behind this article.
The purpose is two-fold: a) to discuss the reasons why many youth programs
fall short in reaching underserved youth and to offer practice-oriented
recommendations and b) to describe the site-based youth development program--an
innovative delivery method--and its effectiveness. Sources of data include
summative and formative program evaluations from Urban 4-H Youth Development
programs in Minnesota and supporting secondary research.
Tools of the Trade
Learning in Place Using "Common and Comfortable" Technology
Diminishing travel budgets, time constraints, and the demand for up-to the
minute information require constant creativity in training and development.
Using familiar technology, you have all the tools you need to deliver practical
and to-the-point learning opportunities for Extension professionals.
Innovative Tools in Public Education and Technology Transfer for an Emerging Offshore Aquaculture Industry
Although principally the same as other aquaculture operations,
the details involved in raising fish in cages several miles offshore in the
Gulf of Mexico can be hard to imagine--for both the general public and aquaculture
practitioners. The Offshore Aquaculture Consortium (OAC) turned to technology
innovation and to industry and university partnerships as "Extension
tools" to educate these stakeholder groups. The OAC established Cage
Cam to provide real-time Internet feeds of the offshore operations, an aquarium
exhibit for conceptualization, and a "How-to" feature on our Web
site for logistics transfer.
Creating an Interactive Home Food Preservation Tutorial in Flash
Many people would agree that they prefer to learn with interactivity,
rather than by just reading documents or watching videos. A Web-based learning
activity is available online 24/7/365. Macromedia Flash™ is a good
authoring option for learning sites, especially where interactivity is
desired. A tutorial, Food Preservation Basics, was created using Flash™.
The tutorial is basically an elaborate, interactive slideshow. Graphics,
text, interactivity, and animation were used to communicate science-based
principles in an entertaining manner.
Agriculture Environmental Management Information System: An Online Decision Support Tool
This article describes an enterprise information system, The Agriculture
Environmental Management and Information System (AEMIS), which provides
efficient and accurate access to the latest information about manure
management theories, methods, and tools for the livestock and poultry
A Web Site to Help Farmers Decide If They Can Afford to Retire
Because many farmers are concerned about whether they can afford to retire,
a Retirement Estimator for Farm Families was developed for use on the Internet.
Farmers are advised to consider life expectancy and think about how income
and expenses could change in retirement. Farmers can use the site to enter
their information on income and expenses in retirement and obtain feedback
on whether they can afford to retire. Links to other resources such as the
Social Security Administration and a life expectancy calculator are featured
on the site.
Strengthening Programs to Reach Diverse Audiences: A Curriculum to Planning and Implementing Extension Programs for Ethnically Diverse Audiences
This article provides the description, theoretical framework, scope and
organization, and usage of the newly developed Strengthening Programs to
Reach Diverse Audiences curriculum. The curriculum was developed by a multi-state,
multi-university, multidisciplinary team in order to increase the knowledge
and skills of Extension professionals and paraprofessionals on how to design
more effective programs to reach ethnically diverse audiences. Information
on how to obtain the curriculum is also provided.