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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:

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