Ask an Expert Task Force:
 Findings and Decisions
Agenda
•   Objectives
•   Methodologies
•   Some numbers
•   Observations
•   Steps forward
•   Discussion
Objectives
• Assess CES' ability to operate an AaE
  system
• Assess the performance to date
• Determine people’s expectat...
Methodologies
• Survey of the public users
• Focus groups of
  specialists/educators/volunteers
• Interviews with Director...
Methodologies
• Survey sent to 6,557 clientele
  o response rate:   504
  o P (.05)= 376
• Interviews with
  Directors/Adm...
Some Numbers
Questions Submitted/Answered
Who is Answering Questions:
The Ask an Expert Long Tail
Who is Asking Questions:
     Demographics
Knowledge of CES
Observations
How Does the Public Perceive
 Answers from eXtension?

Not based              Science-based
on science




Not trusted
   ...
Science-based/Trusted
What the clientele said:

“I am glad to have my other research confirmed
however by a trustworthy so...
How Did the Public
              Describe Their Question?

A curiosity                        Critically
                 ...
Importance
What the clientele said:

“I was worried about food safety for my family if I
planted my vegetable garden as pl...
Speed of Response
Speed of Response
What the clientele said:

“I didn’t expect an answer so quickly. In the matter of
an hour or so..the res...
Speed of Response
Our CES faculty/educators say it is
unreasonable for us to expect them to
respond to questions over week...
Utility by Response Time
(What role did the answer play in solving the problem)
                Questions answered in 2 da...
Utility of Answer
What the clientele said:

“We were supplied with the information we wanted in
an expedient, competent an...
Visualization of Quality of Answer




This cluster of user        Axes
stories indicates that eX   – science-based
answer...
Simplicity/Complexity
What the clientele said:

“I did not really get an answer...I did ask a fairly long,
drawn out and c...
Valued Activity
Administrators observed that AaE
is not considered scholarly work,
but saw the value in reaching-out to
cl...
Valued Activity
Responding to questions coming
through AaE generally receives little
professional credit… most tenure-
tra...
Decisions
Decisions
• Need more people within and outside
  CoPs answering questions.
• CoPs need to focus on recruiting and
  ident...
Decisions
• Performance metrics must match
  clientele expectations.
• Develop content that appeals to more
  diverse demo...
Discussion
Ask an Expert: Findings and Decisions
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Ask an Expert: Findings and Decisions

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Presentation highlighting the major findings and decisions of the eXtension Ask an Expert Task Force, June 2009.

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Ask an Expert: Findings and Decisions

  1. 1. Ask an Expert Task Force: Findings and Decisions
  2. 2. Agenda • Objectives • Methodologies • Some numbers • Observations • Steps forward • Discussion
  3. 3. Objectives • Assess CES' ability to operate an AaE system • Assess the performance to date • Determine people’s expectations • Assess AaE system usability • Determine resources required to operate the system
  4. 4. Methodologies • Survey of the public users • Focus groups of specialists/educators/volunteers • Interviews with Directors and Administrators • Analysis of logs and other metrics
  5. 5. Methodologies • Survey sent to 6,557 clientele o response rate: 504 o P (.05)= 376 • Interviews with Directors/Administrators in 14 states • 5 focus groups (Specialists/Agents) • Log analysis
  6. 6. Some Numbers
  7. 7. Questions Submitted/Answered
  8. 8. Who is Answering Questions: The Ask an Expert Long Tail
  9. 9. Who is Asking Questions: Demographics
  10. 10. Knowledge of CES
  11. 11. Observations
  12. 12. How Does the Public Perceive Answers from eXtension? Not based Science-based on science Not trusted Trusted
  13. 13. Science-based/Trusted What the clientele said: “I am glad to have my other research confirmed however by a trustworthy source.” “I got a reply that, although not what I wanted to hear, I trusted” “I had a very prompt reply, with very accurate information plus direction to a paper.” “A Google search provided an answer but I needed someone with authority and experience to corroborate...”
  14. 14. How Did the Public Describe Their Question? A curiosity Critically important Of little Of significant economic economic need need
  15. 15. Importance What the clientele said: “I was worried about food safety for my family if I planted my vegetable garden as planned.” “Squirrels have been eating my house. We tried several suggestions, and the situation is improving.” “He gave practical information about how to decide what is best for my family, as opposed to necessarily doing what's best for the tree. Very helpful.”
  16. 16. Speed of Response
  17. 17. Speed of Response What the clientele said: “I didn’t expect an answer so quickly. In the matter of an hour or so..the response was very helpful. I am thrilled with this service” “I will not keep a client waiting a week for a response. My suggestion would be that if you are going to provide this question and answer service, you need to respond in a timely fashion (within 2 days)”
  18. 18. Speed of Response Our CES faculty/educators say it is unreasonable for us to expect them to respond to questions over weekends and holidays... “Office hours should be published... But, during such office hours, 48 hours seems an appropriate response time.” - Faculty/Agent focus group
  19. 19. Utility by Response Time (What role did the answer play in solving the problem) Questions answered in 2 days or less Insignificant Very important role role Questions answered in 3-7 days
  20. 20. Utility of Answer What the clientele said: “We were supplied with the information we wanted in an expedient, competent and professional manner (which is so unbelievably rare these days).” “I do know it took four days for me to get an answer and I thought at the time if the answer was needed was urgent, I would have been in trouble.” “To be frank, it’s kinda hit or miss and I’m not sold on the 'quick' response promised.”
  21. 21. Visualization of Quality of Answer This cluster of user Axes stories indicates that eX – science-based answers are mostly – trusted viewed as Trusted and – simple/complex Science-based.
  22. 22. Simplicity/Complexity What the clientele said: “I did not really get an answer...I did ask a fairly long, drawn out and complicated question. I was rather disappointed in the short answer.” “The answer was well-written and included even more information that I had expected.” “The ‘Expert’ forwarded an article but it did not address the specifics of my question... ” “As a person who has been involved in Dairy business, I knew what we should do... but unfortunately what I got was very simple concepts.”
  23. 23. Valued Activity Administrators observed that AaE is not considered scholarly work, but saw the value in reaching-out to clientele. - Director/Adminstrator interviews
  24. 24. Valued Activity Responding to questions coming through AaE generally receives little professional credit… most tenure- track faculty receive little credit for such activity. - Director/Administrator interviews/Focus groups
  25. 25. Decisions
  26. 26. Decisions • Need more people within and outside CoPs answering questions. • CoPs need to focus on recruiting and identifying appropriate responders, and on professional development. • Must answer questions outside of currently launched CoPs. Need strategy.
  27. 27. Decisions • Performance metrics must match clientele expectations. • Develop content that appeals to more diverse demographic. • Focus on online engagement. • Recognize AaE is reaching new, online audiences.
  28. 28. Discussion

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