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Digital Information Brokers: Preparing Front-line Support Staff to Find and Direct Others to Online Resources

County support staff members have long been the ‘face’ of our Extension systems. They are the first people the public interacts with when visiting an Extension office or the first voice heard when someone calls with a question. With fewer Educators/Agents covering more territory, these county-based staff members often have no one to turn to with questions. To better prepare Michigan State University Extension support staff to help clients find information and answers, a one-hour hands-on training in Adobe Connect was developed and offered to over 80 county and campus staff members in small groups. They practiced asking questions, searching for information, and finding experts using features of eXtension and MSUE. This session will describe the process used in Adobe Connect and the short term outcomes of the trainings. It will also serve as a forum for others to share creative ways their states have dealt with shrinking human resources and expanding needs for knowledge and information at the local level. A handout will be shared with screen shots of the adobe connect layouts used. Another handout called “Finding Information in eXtension: A Guide for Support Staff” will also be shared: http://www.slideshare.net/vanden34/digital-info-brokers-handout.

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The Extension Foundation is a non-profit designed to be the engine fueling U.S. Cooperative Extension’s advancement in making a more visible and measurable impact in support of education outreach from land-grant universities/colleges located in every state and territory. Extension Foundation is embedded in the U.S. Cooperative Extension System and serves on the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). The Foundation provides an array of opportunities for Extension professionals that foster innovation creation, the adoption of innovations at member institutions, and increased impact of Extension programs. This work is supported by your membership dollars and funding from USDA-NIFA, grant no. 2020-41595-30123. For more information on Extension Foundation membership, please visit extension.org. You can also find our Terms of Servicee here

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