Are MOOC’s Forever?

Intriguing article yesterday in the Chronicle of Higher Education. In a nutshell…..Daphne Koller (co-founder of Coursera) in an interview told that Coursera had pulled down some of it’s initial courses, because they had found out that the new learner didn’t want to participate in a course that started on a specific date and ended on a specific date, but rather wanted to find courses that they could start when they wanted to and complete as quickly as they wanted to complete.  Motivated learners now want to binge learn!

As a self-proclaimed binge t.v. show watcher (because let’s face it, your favorite show is never broadcast live when you have the time to actually watch it) and as an avid lifelong learner, I love the concept of binge learning!!! Maybe my next vacation will actually be a staycation packed with binge learning opportunities? 

I think that the concept of providing opportunities for binge learning is a great opportunity for Nebraska Extension.


Posted in Delivery Strategies, Teaching, Web-based Learning | Leave a comment

Thank You Jay!

So Jay Jenkins had the good eyes and sent me a kind email letting me know that I had scheduled this Zoom meeting for 10:00 PM instead of AM.  I have made the corrections and look forward to seeing everyone online tomorrow for the NGE Webinar!

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Tuesday’s NGE Webinar: Back to the Basics: Human Subjects Regulations and the IRB

Back to the Basics: Human Subjects Regulations and the IRB
Presented by Becky Freeman

Obtaining IRB approval or a not human subjects research determination is an important step when conducting human subjects research and program evaluation. Not having IRB approval when it is required could lead to serious consequences with funding agencies and potentially not being able to publish results. In this presentation, the basic human subjects research definitions and regulations will be discussed. The submission and review processes will also be explained. Case studies will be included to better illustrate levels of review and determinations that are made.

Time: Jul 12, 2016 10:00 PM (GMT-5:00) Central Time (US and Canada)

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +14086380968,264822160# or +16465588656,264822160#

Or Telephone:
Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 264 822 160
International numbers available:

Or a H.323/SIP room system:
H.323: (US West) or (US East)
Meeting ID: 264 822 160



Posted in Evaluation, Grants/Funding, Institutional Review Board, Scholarship/Creative Work | Leave a comment

Completion Paradox

I’m still pondering an article I read in yesterday morning’s Chronicle of Higher Education….”For Students Taking Online Courses, a Completion Paradox“.  The article explains that research conducted on online post-secondary courses suggests that while students may receive a lower grade in an individual course offered online than they would have if they had taken the course in a face-to-face classroom….BUT, that the completion rate for degrees is higher for students who have taken at least one online course.

Several factors are discussed as possible contributors to these findings… however, “for many students the convenience of online can mean the difference between staying in a degree program or dropping out”. That one indicator is very powerful for me…. and I think that within Extension it’s a factor worth noting.

Would it be possible to increase engagement of clientele if we offered more comprehensive curriculum online…. for their convenience? Could we engage tertiary clientele online?  IE Train the trainer type courses.

For those of us working with the online Livestock Quality Assurance course, we know that youth have multiple options for completion of their quality assurance requirements, however, we have data to suggest that most of our Nebraska youth select the online option.  …Is this a factor of convenience or a lack of local choice?  Or a financial factor?  (The online course is $5, the cost of participation in a face-to-face course that is offered for free is approximately $14 per youth when taking into account transportation and adult driver’s time.)

We don’t have data that would tell us what the passing rate is for face-to-face classes, but we do know that the majority of youth who get into the online course are successful in completing the three required modules in less than an hour. We also have data to suggest that if they experience difficulties registering for the course, that there is a significant drop in the number of those youth who actually complete…. lending a strong argument for why supporting these online courses is so important.

According to the Nebraska Department of Commerce, the average commute distance in Nebraska is 20 miles… So if someone were to drive their kids to a face-to-face training or attend one themselves, they have at least an hour wrapped up into the course and transportation.  So does online extension education constitute convenience? Are there licensure or certifications that we currently are offering only in a face-to-face format that maybe needs a face lift and brought into a modern world?

I get it that our role in Nebraska Extension isn’t necessarily to make education convenient… but isn’t that why we are stationed across the state in local offices…. an office that is convenient to our Nebraska clientele.

How far away is your smartphone?



Posted in Scholarship/Creative Work, Teaching, Uncategorized, Web-based Learning | Tagged | Leave a comment

How to Create a Cloth Poster


This 56″ x 36″ poster fit in a quart-size plastic bag!

I’ve been getting several inquiries of how I created a cloth poster for a national meeting that included these attributes:

  • Cost about $25, which included postage
  • Designed in PowerPoint
  • Doesn’t wrinkle, weighs about as much as a t-shirt and can be carried in a quart-size plastic bag

I just completed designing another poster for a meeting this year and put together some screen shots of what I did. Click on the link at the end of this post to download a copy of my description.

Continue reading

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Best Practices When Blazing the Trail for Online Learners

June Next Generation Extension Webinarconnie

UPDATE 6/10/16: The recording for the webinar can be viewed using the link 

Download the 2 handouts: 

⇒ Please take a minute after viewing the webinar to answer these two feedback questions. Your responses are anonymous and not linked to your names: Click here to provide feedback. 

In this webinar, Dr. Connie Fisk, Extension Educator – Regional Food Systems, discusses best practices for course design that she’s learned as an instructor and reviewer of online college courses across the country.  She focuses on recommendations for competency-based courses such as those offered by Extension professionals through and share steps for making your Microsoft Office documents ADA accessible.

Dr. Fisk gives a brief overview of one common course evaluation rubric and how it is used for peer review of online courses.  These same standards are also useful when planning a face-to-face program as they are all focused on what the instructor develops before learners arrive.

Dr. Fisk has been teaching online since 2008 and has been a Quality Matters Certified Peer Reviewer of online courses since 2014.  She received a Master Distance Educator Award from the Wyoming Distance Education Consortium in 2014 and in 2015 was honored to be included in the Hall of Excellence for QM Reviewers.


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When and How to Interview End Users [Webinar]

UPDATE 5/10/16: The link to view the recording is

Join us on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 10:00 CT
Connect URL:
We will be speaking using your computer speakers.


Vishal Singh, CEO & Founder of Quantified Ag

Our speaker will be Vishal Singh, CEO and Founder of Quantified Ag, a precision livestock data analytics company based in Lincoln, NE. Vishal recently spoke on this topic at Eureka and what Extension professionals need to ask end users when designing successful Extension programming.

Talking to end users often comes too late in the creative process. Learn why it’s important to do this early and often. Also, it’s extremely important that your questions for end users be the right ones. Otherwise you can sabotage the process. Vishal will talk about the techniques he used early in the development of his company, Quantified Ag.


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