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County Connectivity Landscape Dashboard Announced

 

COVID-19 has sped the adoption of virtual programming in Cooperative Extension across the nation and has highlighted a need for information about connectivity at the county level for use in planning virtual programs. A new tool developed by a team at Purdue University may help. With funding from eXtension Foundation, they’ve created a County Connectivity Landscape Dashboard to help Cooperative Extension professionals as they plan online programming and outreach methods. 

Dr. Roberto Gallardo, Director of Purdue’s Center for Regional Development and a specialist with Purdue Extension led the team. He said that “The County Connectivity Landscape Dashboard can be used by Extension professionals at the local level to inform their program design and delivery, particularly in making choices for reaching audiences with digital formats.”

The dashboard is intuitive and easy to navigate. Users can quickly identify a range of county-level statistics on access to the internet, computing devices, limited English proficiency, along with state-level metrics for comparison purposes. This can be helpful in program planning. Gallardo notes, “If a county’s share of children with no computers is higher than the state average, the Extension professional can plan accordingly by, for example, providing digital devices as part of their digital programming.” The goal of this project is to support Cooperative Extension Professionals in making data-driven decisions as they meet the needs of their communities in new ways in response to COVID-19. The funding comes from the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension cooperative agreement with USDA-NIFA through Oklahoma State University.

The dashboard is accessible here, and is free-of-charge.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit extension.org. You can view the terms of useat extension.org/terms.

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