February 2011 // Volume 49 // Number 1
JOE by the Numbers 2010
In "JOE by the Numbers 2010" I report on the 2010 submission and readership rates and announce JOE's current acceptance rate: 29.4%. I also highlight the Top 50 Most Read Articles lists, pointing out that one of the new entries was published in 1998 and another in 1984. (All JOE articles still "live" and can still "speak" to us.) In "February JOE" I highlight the two Commentaries, first two Features, and first two Tools of the Trade articles, just six of 32 articles making up an excellent issue.
Fairs and Other Exhibitions. Have We Really Thought This Through?
"The Fair" is deeply woven into the very DNA of Extension. Investment of time and other resources in fairs by Extension personnel makes it arguably the largest single program in all of Extension. Perhaps it is so much a part of our program that we seldom think to examine our involvement or evaluate why we do what we do in regard to our role(s) in conducting those events. This article questions the remarkable dearth of information regarding the actual value of the fair in regard to youth development as opposed to other means of fulfilling our mission.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Fairs and Other Exhibitions. Have We Really Thought This Through?”
Extension's Progress in the Paperless Revolution: Balancing Digital and Paper
This article examines the theory of a paperless workplace and its possible implementation in Extension, based on the advantages and disadvantages involved. Despite decades of discussion, many organizations, including Extension, have still failed to fully implement a paperless system. Paper is an integral part of our work; however, with budgetary cutbacks and the "going green" move, we need to reevaluate our dependency on hard copy documents. Consider the benefits of a paperless workplace and impacts of implementation for Extension and the community we serve.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Extension's Progress in the Paperless Revolution: Balancing Digital and Paper”
Ideas at Work
Preparing Volunteers to Meet the Developmental Needs of Youth Audiences
4-H volunteers and staff are often faced with providing educational programs and opportunities for youth with wide ranges of age and ability. To address this challenge, researchers from the University of California Cooperative Extension developed and tested a Best Practices Matrix that outlines domain-specific, age-appropriate characteristics of youth and their applications to 4-H programming. Post-implementation surveys that included six forced-response and five open-ended questions were collected from 48 adult volunteers who attended volunteer development workshops. Outcomes indicated that participants improved their understanding of youths' developmental characteristics and how to use the matrix to help improve their project and activities.
So, You Want To Move Out?!—An Awareness Program of the Real Costs of Moving Away From Home
The So, You Want To Move Out?! program was developed to help teens explore the financial realities of moving away from home. This 3-day camp program allows youth the opportunity to interview for a job, work, earn a paycheck, and pay financial obligations. After paying expenses and trying to put some money away in savings, the participants begin to grasp the difficulty of meeting day-to-day living expenses. Based on the evaluation, participants gained at least a basic knowledge of the concept of living within their means. The goal of the program is to increase youth financial literacy.
Piloting a Cooperative Extension Service Nutrition Education Program on First-Grade Children's Willingness to Try Foods Containing Legumes
Many nutrition education campaigns targeting children in the United States focus on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, but most don't specifically promote legumes. The project described here sought to pilot the effect of an Extension nutrition education program on first grade children's willingness to try foods containing legumes. A significant difference was observed in the distribution of children who took snacks containing legumes from pre- to post- through follow-up education.
Pest Private Eye: Using an Interactive Role-Playing Video Game to Teach About Pests and Integrated Pest Management
The trend toward encouraging adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in schools has increased in the last decade. Because IPM helps reduce risk of human pesticide exposure, reduce allergens and asthma triggers, save energy, and protect the environment, it's essential that IPM awareness continue not only with current school administrators, parents, and staff, but with students as well. This article discusses how UNL Extension developed, piloted, and evaluated Pest Private Eye and the Case of IPM in Schools, an educational video game that teaches children about pests and IPM, and potential impacts its lessons will have on future generations.
A Reduction of Risk Behaviors Through Teen Interactive Theater Education (TITE)
This article provides a brief overview of the Teen Interactive Theater Education (TITE) curriculum, the theory behind its inception, and the expected outcomes. TITE is an innovative positive youth development program that engages young people in the consideration of pertinent topics in today's society through the use of experiential activities such as writing and performing skits about avoidance of risky behaviors. The program is grounded in the six elements of positive youth development and reflects the nine principles of effective prevention programs. Preliminary evaluation results indicate significant changes in the desired direction for interpersonal skills.
Tools of the Trade
Can I Breathe Yet? Reflections on My First Year in Extension
Gain insight into the rewards and challenges of Extension through the eyes of a novice 4-H agent. Exhilarating yet exhausting, a whirlwind of opportunities, issues, and adjustments confront new Extension personnel as they acclimate to the unique Extension environment and lifestyle. There are lessons discussed here that will advise both new personnel and their supervisors about life in our world of Extension from the novice perspective.
Strategies for Ensuring High-Impact Outreach and Scholarship
How do you become an effective Extension professional—produce scholarly work, provide strong educational programs for clientele, and show impact and outcomes? It requires proactive planning so that valuable impact can be measured and shared with appropriate stakeholders. Learn how the Department of 4-H Youth Development, Rutgers Cooperative Extension uses a programming model that makes scholarship a natural part of everyday work. Expand and enhance your Extension scholarship while highlighting and strengthening local program efforts.
Economic Impact Analysis of 4-H Youth Livestock Projects Using IMPLAN
4-H, like all Extension programs, must answer the charge to demonstrate its long-term impact. This article introduces the idea of using IMPLAN, a software program that can be used to estimate economic impacts, to evaluate the impact of 4-H livestock projects. An example is provided based on data from a real county 4-H program. Using IMPLAN enables 4-H to describe the estimated economic impact from one of its largest project areas. Agents can and should use IMPLAN results to help communicate the value of 4-H to state legislators, county commissioners, and key stakeholders.
Tips and Tools: The Art of Virtual Program Evaluation—Measuring What We Do with Pizzazz
Evaluating and communicating the results of 4-H programs are critical for Extension. The measuring of the goals and objectives guide the program. It helps with issues in Extension's accountability, program direction, and even one's personal satisfaction. This article focuses on a quick, easy, and exciting method to conduct program evaluation using the InterWrite TM PRS system, which is one of the most powerful and flexible electronic classroom performance system that can be used in almost any group setting. It stores and analyzes data. It has been used successfully in a new 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology (4-H S.E.T.) program.
Behavior Change Strategies for Successful Long-Term Weight Loss: Focusing on Dietary and Physical Activity Adherence, Not Weight Loss
This article helps Extension professionals guide individuals in a successful long-term weight loss program. A program should focus on behavioral changes (improving eating habits and physical activity), not just weight loss. In order to do this, Extension professionals should implement behavior change strategies that motivate individuals to initiate and maintain healthy behaviors that fit their lifestyle in approachable and convenient ways. Behavior change strategies demonstrated here (self-efficacy and self management strategies) are examples that can be incorporated into a weight loss program and could help to maintain those healthy habits even after a program ends.
Tips for Organizing an Educational Agricultural Commodity Trading Club
Educational commodity marketing clubs have been an effective tool for producers to develop their grain and livestock marketing skills. These groups are further enhanced when the participants engage in "actual trading" versus "paper trading" techniques. When a club chooses to try actual trading, it becomes more complicated than pooling monies together. Group members need to think of personal liability and state and government regulations with which they need to comply. This article attempts to assist Extension educators as they guide groups through the steps that will limit their personal liability and bring them into compliance with federal regulations.
Boom Sprayer Calibration Made Easy with an Excel Spreadsheet Program
The tool described here is an Excel spreadsheet that is designed to make the computations of boom sprayer calibration easier. Mathematical and human errors are serious concerns in conducting an accurate calibration. The program smoothes out all the bumps so all the operator needs to do is gather the data and enter it into the program. Any adjustments when a nozzle is replaced and re-tested are automatically re-calculated by the program.
Strengthening Small Ruminant Producers' Enterprises Using the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)
Extension professionals can assist potential producers, current producers raising goats and sheep, and those who are expanding their enterprises to understand, participate in, and reap the benefits of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Extension professionals can help these small ruminant producers manage tradeoffs between risk and reward of NAIS that will affect production and marketing of animal-derived foods. Working with Extension professionals and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, these producers can meet the USDA recommendations for the NAIS and enhance their ability to meet consumers' demand for high-quality animal-derived foods while expanding and strengthening their enterprises.
Hoophouse Contributions to Farm Profitability and Food System Sustainability: Lessons from Michigan
This article discusses work in Michigan to test the contributions of hoophouses to farm profitability and food systems sustainability. On-farm enterprise budgets and farmer interviews reveal that hoophouses can earn profit for farmers producing fresh, locally grown produce throughout the year, but that production and marketing management are critical to success. A series of training and educational activities are underway, including efforts to create model business plans and familiarize agricultural lenders and professionals with this technology. Greater resources are needed to develop and implement train-the-trainer models, to ensure delivery of needed expertise with sufficient quality control guarantees.
The New Digital [St]age: Barriers to the Adoption and Adaptation of New Technologies to Deliver Extension Programming and How to Address Them
With the rise of social media and the need for statewide program cohesiveness, The Ohio State University Extension has the opportunity to position itself as a catalyst for technology adoption and adaptation nationwide. Unfortunately, many barriers exist to the successful use and implementation of technology, including an organizational structure that does not cater to the short turn-around new technologies demand and ideological generational divides among all who are affected by the organization. In order to allow new technologies to positively affect Extension programming, we must first break through such barriers with a powerful combination of enlightened knowledge and hands-on training.
Extension Learners' Use of Electronic Technology
Extension clientele use electronic technology for entertainment, communication, and business. Educational programs that use electronic technology can enhance learning. To learn more about use of electronic technology among Extension clientele, we surveyed 80 university students and 135 potato farmers. We found that the farmers were likely to use more technology than the students were. We also found that younger people used more technology and that awareness of technology and source of news were other significant variables. One implication for Extension practitioners is that use of electronic technology by farmers should not be underestimated.
Outreach, Applied Research, and Management Needs for Wisconsin's Great Lakes Freshwater Estuaries: A Cooperative Extension Needs Assessment Model
This article outlines a needs assessment model for Extension natural resource programming that could also be adapted for a wide variety of other programming areas. We use the methods and results associated with Wisconsin's Great Lakes freshwater estuary needs assessment to demonstrate the various aspects of the model. It incorporates diverse input by using a two-phased approach that combines Nominal Group Technique and survey research. A concise summary of the steps involved in the model is provided to assist practitioners that would like to adapt the model for use in future Extension programming.
A Retrospective Pretest-Posttest Evaluation of a One-Time Personal Finance Training
Attempts to measure the impact of Extension programs have been implemented to varying effects for many years. Using data from several economics of personal finance workshops designed to teach high school teachers about a state's new personal finance performance standards, this article reports the results from of one type of evaluation, a retrospective pretest-posttest, that is useful for one-time, short duration workshops where the extra steps and additional costs of traditional pretest-posttest evaluation may not be warranted. A discussion of the benefits of retrospective pretest-posttest evaluations, including reduced response shift bias, concludes the article.
Helping Clientele Understand Elements of the Local Economy Through Input-Output Modeling
Extension clientele often seek assistance from Community Development professionals in understanding how their local economies operate. Provision of local economic data has long been an important role for Extension. But many of the questions clientele raise require substantial analysis of this data. This article demonstrates how an input-output model (IMPLAN) can be used to describe a local economy with considerable precision. The model is appropriate for estimating the economic impacts of current or proposed activities. We include estimations of impacts of initial job losses stemming from the recent recession as well as impacts of a long-term plan for economic recovery.
Factors Influencing Adoption and Implementation of Cooking With Kids, An Experiential School-Based Nutrition Education Curriculum
Little research has been conducted to examine factors leading to adoption and implementation of nutrition education curricula. Data from two Web-based surveys (n = 313) and 27 interviews were used to explore how Diffusion of Innovations' perceived attributes contributed to adoption and implementation of Cooking with Kids (CWK) food and nutrition education curriculum. Results suggest programs that create or adapt nutrition education curricula for use in schools should emphasize experiential methods and ease of use to increase adoption and implementation. Perceived simplicity predicted intended use. Ensuring that users have adequate information and planning time to overcome barriers is essential.
Creating Programs to Help Latino Youth Thrive at School: The Influence of Latino Parent Involvement Programs
Parent involvement programs can play an essential role in the academic success of Latino youth. This article reports the effectiveness and evaluation of two new Extension programs that help Latino parents become more involved in their youths' academics. The Latino Parent and Family Advocacy and Support Training (LPFAST) targets parents of K- 8th grade students, and the Juntos Para Una Mejor Educación (Together for a Better Education) program was created to serve 6th-12th grade Latino students and their parents. These two programs demonstrate innovative approaches to involve communities and schools in Extension programming.
Preferred Educational Delivery Strategies Among Limited Income Older Adults Enrolled in Community Nutrition Education Programs
The study reported here explored educational delivery preference of limited income older Oklahomans. Sixty participants 60 years or older enrolled in Community Nutrition Education Programs observed three educational delivery strategies and participated in a group discussion. Two researchers independently coded focus group transcripts and frequency counts to identify common themes and patterns related to preferred educational delivery. Findings indicate that educational delivery preference was rooted in the inclusion of experiential and relational aspects of the presentations. A combination of preferences for educational delivery strategies was noted, supporting the use of multiple educational strategies when developing Extension programs for older adults.
Now They Know: Helping New Mothers Gain Parenting Knowledge and Become Aware of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Programming
The Guide for New Parents is a cross-programmatic educational resource developed to help new mothers adjust to parenting and learn about Family and Consumer Sciences Extension (FACS) programming. Approximately 8,600 new mothers were reached, and responses from a diverse and representative sample of mothers revealed that this resource was perceived as useful and promoted public awareness of FACS Extension. Future educational resources that integrate content across Extension programs for targeted audiences can be useful in building greater public awareness and utilization of the various resources available from Extension.
Research in Brief
Workplace Issues in Extension—A Delphi Study of Extension Educators
Using the Delphi technique, expert Extension educators identified and prioritized those workplace issues they believe will be the most important to attract, motivate, and retain Extension educators/agents over the next 5 to 7 years. Obtaining and then utilizing a talented, highly motivated workforce during a period when many will be retiring will depend upon thoughtful long-range planning by Extension leadership.
The Evaluation Attitudes and Practices of 4-H Educators
Extension educators are expected to conduct program evaluation. An Internet survey was sent to county 4-H educators in Ohio to examine their evaluation attitudes and practices, as well as barriers to conducting evaluation. Respondents indicated a range of attitudes about evaluation and limited use of different designs and methods. Having enough time was the greatest perceived barrier. Educators are encouraged to use a diversity of designs and methodologies and to cover a range of topics. Capacity building efforts should include clarity of expectations; opportunities for educators with different needs, interests, and prior experiences; and addressing barriers to evaluation.
Does the General Public Relate to the Term "Integrated Pest Management"?
We conducted a random telephone survey of single family residents in San Diego County to gather public opinion related to use of the term "Integrated Pest Management" or its abbreviation. Only a small percentage of participants (4.9%) had heard the term or its abbreviation. When various definitions of IPM were suggested, individuals preferred terms stressing environmental and human safety such as "Earth-Friendly Pest Management" and "Responsible Pest Management." Our survey results show that IPM educators should use different terminology when working with non-professional gardeners or the public in general in order for the audience to relate to the IPM concept.
Meat and Poultry Buying at Farmers Markets: A Survey of Shoppers at Three Markets in Oregon
Farmers markets can be a valuable direct marketing channel. Meat and poultry, relatively new market products, have not achieved widespread success, many vendors reporting low sales and profits. To understand this lack of consumer enthusiasm and acceptance, we surveyed consumers at three Oregon farmers markets using a simple, effective research method (n>1100). Nearly half had never purchased meat or poultry at a farmers market. The main reasons meat and poultry consumers do not buy more or any of these products at farmers markets are price, inconvenience, and food safety. Consumer education recommendations are given to expand sales of these products.
Just Be It! Healthy and Fit Increases Fifth Graders' Fruit and Vegetable Intake, Physical Activity, and Nutrition Knowledge
Just Be It! Healthy and Fit reduces the risk factors for childhood obesity for fifth graders using hands-on field trips, in-class lessons, and parent outreach efforts. Pre-test and post-test scores from the year-long classroom instruction showed a statistically significant increase in fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and nutrition knowledge for the students. Parents also gained nutrition knowledge. The program enables students who are at risk for childhood obesity to develop a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of health disorders such as diabetes and heart disease in childhood and in adulthood.
A Survey of Educational Needs and Online Training Perceptions in the Wood Products Industry
A sample of 651 wood products industries were surveyed to determine their educational needs and quantify their interest in receiving continuing education via an online format. In the survey, respondents were asked to rank, in order of priority, their educational needs. With a 15.2% response rate, survey respondents (n=99) indicated that an online course in Marketing is the primary need, followed by an online course in Business Strategy Development, given a list of 26 distinct subject areas. Moreover, 88% of members indicated that they are highly interested in receiving continuous education in a Web-based online format.
Using Blogs to Disseminate Information in the Turfgrass Industry
The ability to provide regional information to turfgrass professionals in a timely format can help them avoid potential problems. While traditional, hard-copy based Extension materials can provide a wealth of information, the ability to communicate brief yet current updates can be invaluable. Two Web-based blogs were developed to provide information to turfgrass managers on a local (iaTURF) and international level (Turf Diseases). Data indicated that the blogs reached an average of 34.9 to 148.4 people per day. The use of blogs is an effective means to deliver timely information to a geographically diverse and large number of turfgrass managers.