In a time when Extension Educators are being asked to do more with less, using distance learning technology can broaden your reach while using fewer resources. Combining face-to-face interaction with remote broadcasting, a team-run, modified hybrid course has resulted in successful practice change among participants. Seventy-five women at three locations across the state were reached simultaneously through distance education. When working with a remote audience, the use of social media (such as Facebook or Twitter) is a necessity. This technology helped reduce the feeling of isolation frequently expressed in our often rural audience. It made the three separate locations feel like one large group. Evaluations of the 2012 course indicate that the Rutgers Annie’s Project Team discovered a method of education that saved both precious time and resources yet with minimal loss to participant satisfaction and networking. Surveys revealed that 93.5% of the women shared what they learned and 50% of the participants had completed their business plans six months after the course. On the last day of class, when asked “what has stuck with you the most?” evaluation comments include: “the power of networking”; “being motivated to actually make the business plan and networking with other women”; and “the diversity of presenters, networking and cooperative atmosphere”. In corroboration with evaluative data, these comments indicate success of the program and our primary goals have been met (networking and creating business plans).
|Conference||2014 Women in Agriculture Educators National Conference|