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Conference Name WV Annie’s Project Online Course: Understanding Online Best Practice for Adult Learners

Jodi Richmond, Doolarie Singh-Knights, Brandy Brabham, Alexandria Straight, and Daisy Bailey


WV women farmers help preserve small farms, improve local food systems, and enhance rural economic and social development. They face issues of limited acreage and market access, dwindling farm income, and gender disadvantages in traditional male-dominated farming environments. Additionally, many of these women struggle to find focused guidance, technical assistance, relevant resources and on-going support relative to their farming/business needs.

In 2012, the WVU Extension Service began offering a statewide Annie’s Project in six regional locations, as well as an online curriculum. This overall project responds to an expressed need for continued risk-management education for female farmers and provide tools and strategies to mitigate production, marketing, financial, legal, and human risks associated with marketing agricultural products. The online curriculum was designed to extend risk management programming to the growing cadre of tech-savvy female agripreneurs, or those unable to access the face-to-face sites because of constraints due to finances, location or scheduling. The online curriculum utilized innovative teaching and delivery methodologies (peer-to-peer interaction and online delivery) to help participants strengthen participants’ risk-management roles in farms/agribusiness.

This poster will provide an overview of the WV Annie’s Project online course experience, including curriculum development and implementation, participants’ perception of online versus ‘face-to-face’ programs, the challenges and advantages of online delivery compared to the six “traditional” regional programs, and best practice recommendations for adult learners in future online programs. This information can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of future extension online programs to better reach new and/or underserved audiences.