Getting in the Knowledge Groove

August is a great month. We finish our summer projects and vacations, decide on fall projects and get ready for a new school year.  I remember getting ready for school and the clean-slate feel of it. I’ve been out of school for a long time, but the new beginning feeling remains.

Reinforcing that back-to-school feeling are recent JOE articles by EDEN delegates.  Chuck Schwab’s article describes a pilot evaluation of an internet educational module. The evaluated module is one portion of Chuck’s Tractor and Machinery Virtual Classroom. The classroom, intended for 4-h’ers, focuses on safety. There are four interactive modules: IconMatch (featured in the article; one goal is to familiarize tractor and machinery operators with universal symbols), Tractor Explorer (demonstrates physical locations of operational controls and describes their basic functions), Give Me Five (demonstrates hand signals), and Lights ‘n Stuff (not operational at this time). Hitch & Go Safely is also available (match vehicle with wagon). Fun ways to learn!

 In Washington, teaching the youth about the relationship between biosecurity measures and disease transmission risks falls to volunteer leaders, but what do they know about biosecurity–and where do they get their information? Susan Kerr and colleagues at Washington State University collected materials through an Internet search to learn that information on biosecurity in 4-H livestock projects is available from many sources, including Extension, but none of them specifically target volunteer leaders who oversee livestock projects. The authors also gathered information from faculty, staff and volunteer leaders to determine the need for educational materials. In response, an online module (not yet available) about biosecurity was developed for the volunteer leader audience. Learn more about this assessment that can be adapted across the country.

What kind of development support does your institution provide for new employees? Expectations for new faculty are outlined in Roadmap for Excellence in Extension. Kris Saunders and co-author Diane Reese describe the process Utah State Extension uses to assist new Extension faculty through the tenure and promotion system. If you supervise employees in the tenure track or you are in a tenure track position, you’ll find this article to be quite informative.

What articles have recently piqued your interest?