May Professional Development Activities

eXtension’s professional development opportunities are open to all Cooperative Extension faculty, staff and employees. No pre-registration is required. Please share this announcement with others and encourage them to pick a topic and try it out!


This month we are offering 30-minute sessions on a several topics
including US Agencies in Second Life, how CoPs can work in Second Life,
and Google Buzz. Give us 30 minutes and we’ll teach you something
useful! These sessions will be held at our Web Conferencing Center at and your telephone. Plan to
join the session 5 minutes before the starting time. Each session will
be held at 2:00 Eastern Time (1:00p CT, 12:00p MT, 11:00a PT, 10:00a
AT; 8:00a HT) unless otherwise noted.

* May 6 at 2:00 ET, a 30-minute session “How Can Our CoP Get
Started In Second Life?”
with LuAnn Phillips, eXtension Virtual Worlds
Coordinator. The Morrill Islands in Second Life are available to any
CoP for project development. This can start as small as an information
kiosk, and grow over time to become an immersive experience linked to
a Moodle course. We’ll go over the steps needed to begin, and then
brainstorm some ideas for each other’s content area. (For CoP Leaders
and Members)

* May 19 at 2:00 ET, is a 30-minute session on how the U.S. government
agencies are using virtual worlds for training, outreach, and
collaboration. Government agencies such as the Dept. of Energy, NASA,
NOAA, USDA, and all branches of the military are actively involved in
a variety of virtual worlds platforms. The Federal Consortium for
Virtual Worlds (FCVW) consists of members from government (federal,
state & local, & international), academia, and corporate sectors. It
provides a venue to share best practices and lessons learned for the
collaborative use of virtual worlds, address common challenges, and
create structures to share resources. In this session learn about the
consortium and some of the government projects.

* May 20 at 2:00 ET, a 30-minute session “What’s All the Buzz
by Kevin Gamble. This session will introduce you to the new
social conversation starter, Buzz, introduced by Google this past
spring. It’s a place for you to share thoughts, interesting links,
photos, your activity streams from other applications, and to
jumpstart conversations around those items. What makes Buzz
interesting is that it is integrated into your Gmail so that your
contacts are already in the tool and easy to find. It eliminates from
the get-go the problem of convincing your friends to join you in this
new social space. They’re already there. This session will show you
how the tool works, and get you over the initial learning hump so that
you can be off and running. We’ll also talk about how this tool can be
used in your Extension programs to connect with our public. (For all

We’ve joined the Ask an Expert sessions together for an hour, included
a monthly AAE Question Wrangler Meetup time, and also have two ACE
SIGs sharing their professional development with all of us. Take a
look, and add to your calendar!

* Tuesday, May 4 at 2:00-3:00 ET, Beginning with the Ask an Expert
by Aaron Hundley and Ask an Expert Discussion Double Header by
Aaron Hundley and Beth Raney. Learn the basics of the Ask an Expert
System with Widgets and stick around for the AaE Discussion for
current participants of the AaE system. How to use the Ask eXtension
widget to receive and answer questions directly from your county
Extension web site or Extension-related blog. This widget adds
question-asking capabilities to your site, but uses the power of the
eXtension Ask an Expert and FAQ systems to assist you in answering.
Take questions from your clients, and use the 40,000 questions in the
FAQ system to assist you in providing a timely and accurate answer.
This session will introduce you to the Ask an Expert system, the Ask
an Expert widget, show you the latest features developed, and will
discuss what is necessary to begin using it immediately in your own
county sites and blogs with helpful tips. Then we will have a
conversation to discuss current implementations and ideas for the AaE
system with those who have been working in the AaE system. (For all

* May 12 at 2:00-3:00 ET, A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making: A
strategy for dealing with complexity
, by Anne Adrian, Kevin Gamble,
Beth Raney, and Jerry Thomas. This session will be an online version
of the recent complexity workshop conducted at The Ohio State
University Leadership for Tomorrow Conference. The presenters will
start with an exercise where attendees will define a problem or issue
the Extension system is facing, discuss a framework to help to
classify the issue, examine strategies for addressing different
problems, and see some examples of some recent sense making exercises
conducted by the presenters with implications for the future of
Cooperative Extension. Ample time will be allotted for discussion of
problems identified in the opening exercise, and for participant
questions and group discussion. This Professional Development session
is offered in partnership with the ACE Leadership & Management SIG.
(For all Extension)

* May 13 at 2:00-3:00 ET, Taming Twitter – How to find and share value
140 characters at time
, by Dan Toland, communications specialist for
the Ohio Farm Bureau. He has been at the front of the organization’s
push into social media. Having developed Ohio Farm Bureau’s Facebook,
Twitter and YouTube accounts, Toland manages, monitors and maintains
the organization’s social media presence and Web site on a daily
basis, while also keeping an ear to what others on the Web are saying
about OFBF, its members and their issues. (For all Extension) This
Professional Development session is offered in partnership with the
ACE Social Media SIG.

* May 18 at 2:00-3:00 ET, Question Wrangler Monthly Meetup with Beth
Raney and Kevin Gamble, eXtension. As each state identifies Question
Wranglers to help with questions submitted via Ask an Expert by the
public at, we’ll hold this session to help you get
familiar with your role, the tools available to make it easier, and
share experiences & tips. (for eXtension Question Wranglers)

Second Life is an immersive 3-D virtual environment, inhabited by over
a million users from all over the world. You can learn to use Second
Life to meet with colleagues, to create 3-D models that would be too
expensive or impossible to make in reality, to provide guest speakers
for a real life group, to teach using role play or group problem
solving, to make content in your subject area available to a worldwide
audience. This is an emerging and transformative technology, much like
the early days of the Internet, and is expected to change the way most
people experience web content within the next five years.

In Second Life, you will find that eXtension has a virtual fairgrounds, a model county office, projects in development on
assistive technology, turf grass, pest management, and more. In Teen
Second Life, we have Bailey Island available for any 4-H educator to
use for programming. Each month eXtension hosts several community
events in Second Life. It is best to spend two or three hours
orienting yourself to the Second Life environment before attending an
event. You should know how to walk, sit, chat, use voice, and

Instructions for entering Second Life are here:

LuAnn Phillips, Second Life educator, is available to assist you, and
can be reached at or by instant message
to Thynka Little in Second Life.

Please consider joining the Facebook group “Cooperative Extension Second Life”.

May Second Life Events:

* May 6 at 2:00-2:30 ET, 30-minute session “How Can Our CoP Get
Started in Second Life (and why would we want to)?

* May 17 at 9:00AM-10:00AM (Pacific), 12:00PM-1:00PM ET, Second Life
New User Help Session
. Meet at the Virtual County Extension This meet up will
focus on helping new users with developing skills. Free items, avatar
styling help, and your questions answered! (For new SL users, mentors
welcome to assist!)

* May 19 at 2:00-2:30 ET, 30 Minute Session: US Government Agencies in
Second Life
: USDA, NASA, military, and more…(Recap of Federal
Consortium of Virtual Worlds Conference.)

Add these dates & topics to your calendar, and plan to join us on for
one or more of these sessions in May!!

TO PARTICIPATE in any of the sessions held in our Web Conferencing Center…
1. Five minutes before the start time, go to our Web Conferencing
Center meeting room at

2. You will be presented with a login screen that has an “Enter as
Guest” option.

3. Enter your first name; your last name, and your
institution/university, then click the “Enter Room” button to join the

4. To hear the audio of the workshop and participate in the Q&A
portion of the workshop we will be using a built-in teleconferencing
capability of Adobe’s Connect Pro conferencing software. Once you log
into the meeting you will be presented with the option to enter your
callback number, your phone will automatically be called. After
entering your number you will be automatically called and joined into
the audio portion of the Web conference on your phone.

If you or a colleague would like to get notices about upcoming
professional development sessions offered by eXtension, go to and Click “Join

Recordings of many past professional development sessions can be found
at the main eXtension wiki at and
scroll down under Professional Development heading and find
“Recordings of eXtension Professional Development Sessions”, or search
on the word Recordings.