Finding Answers in eXtension A Guide for Support Staff (as Digital Information Brokers) Cooperative Extension Systems in every state across the country help people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical issues, needs and opportunities. This mission is accomplished in many ways. One way is by providing reliable, research‐based answers to the myriad of questions we receive from our constituents daily, on the phone and in person as they visit our offices around the country. A powerful source of information is available to you through eXtension. What is eXtension, and how can clients use it to find information? eXtension is a national, internet‐based collaborative system that enables Land Grant University content experts to exchange research‐based knowledge, build knowledge repositories, and link with the public to help solve real challenges in real time. There are three main ways to tap into this resource: 1. Use the Ask an Expert (AaE) system. What is AaE? AaE is a national online system for asking questions and receiving answers quickly on a broad range of subjects. Experts are Extension Faculty from Michigan State University and from universities across the country. How can I use it? Use it to find answers to specific questions you are asked when there isn’t an expert immediately available. You can find the AaE button at the main eXtension site: http://www.extension.org/, in the right column. Click(1) it, type in your question, add a picture if you choose, then click(2) “Search for an Answer.” You’ll get a list of links to articles and previous answers that have your search words in them. If none of these is relevant, click(3) “Send to Ask an Expert”. Then fill in the information asked and click(4) “Submit my Question.” Four clicks, and you’ll receive an answer by email, hopefully within 48 hours. 2. Search the data base at http://www.extension.org/. This contains information contributed by over 46 Communities of Practice. On the right of the orange bar type some key words in the ‘Search’ box and see what you can find. You can also search by resource area topics under ‘News’, ‘Articles’, and ‘Answers’. 3. Search the data base at http://www.extension.org/search. This contains URLs to websites and documents from almost 1,000 Cooperative Extension sites from 74 Universities. Type your key words in the search box. Questions? Contact: Lela Vandenberg Jerry Thomas Terry Meisenbach MSU Extension OSU Extension eXtension email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
This handout is available online at: http://tinyurl.com/dibs2012
How to Help Clients with Questions: Finding MSUE Experts AND Finding Information in eXtension An Online Training for MSUE Support Staff Dr. Lela Vandenberg Leadership & Professional Development Specialist Michigan State University Extension Description: The purpose of this one‐hour session is to provide MSUE’s frontline personnel with the knowledge and skills necessary to help clients find information, answers to their questions, or Michigan experts they can talk to. Participants will learn how to find Michigan experts on various subjects how to search for an answer or ask a question in eXtension’s Ask an Expert system how to direct clients to two other eXtension searchable sites—Search.ext.org, Public Site which topical websites are good sources of information The session will be participatory and hands‐on, with a limit of 10 participants per session. Each participant will have several opportunities to search for information or people. Useful handouts will also be shared. Handouts Getting Started with eXtension Finding Answers in eXtension: A Guide for MSUE Find an Expert AND Ask an Expert (bookmark for the public) Process In advance, send the Adobe Connect session link, the three handouts listed above, and the agenda with the MSUE website link, the eXtension public link, and the Search CES link.
1. Welcome Layout Welcome people; comment on the poll and chat pod intros Go over the agenda & goals. Tell them that I see their role as one of information broker, i.e. they’re like librarians, helping direct people to sources of information, but not necessarily finding the information for them. Explain that I’ll be asking them to do things on various websites, and then asking them to come back in the room. Make sure they know how to find the room. 2. AC logo Layout Show the logo and make sure they know to come back. May be a tab in their browser. 3. Sharing Layout a. MSUE Info MSU information—share screen of MSUE website: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/ . Show the search box and search for 4‐H, then go to 4‐H website. Show “Find an Expert” button, click, and show them the site PRACTICE: Have them go to the link (put in chat pod), and search for someone in their district who knows about field crops. Give them 3‐4 minutes and then have them report. b. Ask an Expert Have them go back to the AC Room. Share screen and show them the AaE button. Ask: How many of you have used AaE to ask a question for a client? Did you get an answer? Then share screen, ask a question, and show them where it goes and how it gets assigned and answered. PRACTICE: Ask a simple question in AaE that can be answered with a word or phrase. Tell them it would help to identify themselves when they’re doing that, e.g. This is ____from the ____ office. A client has this question…. c. eXtension Site Share screen of eXtension website: http://www.extension.org/ . Tell them that this is where the many ‘Communities of Practice’ have websites and links to all sorts of info. Use the search box to find information. Try ‘honey bee nutrition’ and see results. Tell them they can also search topics under ‘News’, ‘Articles’, and ‘Answers’. PRACTICE: Go to the link (put in chat pod) and search for something a client might ask about. Give them 3‐4 minutes and have them report. d. Cooperative Extension Search Share screen of CE Search: http://www.extension.org/search. Search for ‘drought in Michigan’. Also show ‘institutional partners’. PRACTICE: Have them go to the Site (put in chat pod) and search for something a client might ask them about. Give them 3‐4 minutes and then have them report. 4. End Layout Have a poll pod with a wrap up question. Have a file share pod for them to download the handouts if they don’t have them. Ask if they have any more questions. Thank them for participating and ask them to fill out a very short Survey Monkey. Have survey link in weblink pod and send them to it.