Tech, Social Media & RiV… Help is On the Way!

As any Extension professional knows who includes social media and other technologies into their programming, it’s that these tools aren’t easy to report in RiV at the end of each month…. (okay… each year!) This is an issue many of us have found ourselves in the past several years. We’re using (relatively) new tools, doing great things with them, and the reporting system isn’t keeping up. How to gauge impact from technology use, and then report that impact, is a topic our Ed Tech Team has been working on over the past couple months. We’ve been in contact with Debbie Lewis, as well as members of the Promotion & Tenure committee, to begin putting together easy-to-use guidelines, or at least tidbits of information for everyone in the organization to use during end-of-the-year reporting.

Here is what we know so far:

  • There IS a correct way to gauge and report social media impact, especially if you have a business page or fan page. If social media use is PART of a program, you should include reach and engagement data (post clicks, likes, shares, comments, etc.) under that particular program in RiV. If social media use is not part of a specific program, it still needs to be reported under “Programs”, but by itself separately. Additionally, if you write blog posts, that information should be reported under “Creative Works”. (We’ll post more detailed information on how to do this in December.)
  • There IS a way to get analytics and/or impact data with each social media tool. Some tools provide this information much easier than others. Facebook for example, provides mind-boggling amounts of data in their “Insights” for business and fan pages. Twitter impact data, however, is harder to gauge if you’re not using a social media manager platform for analytics (i.e. Hootsuite or Sprout Social).
  • It DOES help to have a tech or social media strategy in place before diving in. When our intended outcomes or impact are documented early on, it’s easier to track impact for reporting purposes. If you’re not sure where to begin, list 2 or 3 goals or outcomes for your tech or social media use and then track how you’re fulfilling those goals over the next few months.
  • Our Ed Tech team is working hard to assist with how to properly document and report technology and social media use for P&T purposes, and we will be offering our recommendations to the P&T committee.
  • If you are struggling trying to figure out how to report what you’re doing, you’re not alone. This has been an on-going issue since URS turned into OSU:Pro and OSU:Pro gave way to RiV… all while many of us began working very, very differently. It’s become not about how the reporting system is going to adapt to how we’re working (it will never be able to keep up), but more about where can we report activities to accurately get credit for things we are doing?

What to look for in December:

  • A series of EdgeU Tech Blog posts on how to report social media and technology use and impact in RiV
  • Updates on technology use and how to report/document for the P&T process
  • Based on the responses we received from the organization-wide Social Media Survey (we’ll share those results soon), there will be two different social media workshops offered in each EERA next year – a “Basics” workshop and an “In-Depth” workshop. Both workshops will provide information on how to find, document, and report social media use. Dates and locations of each workshop will be announced at Annual Conference.

In the meantime, please consider attending one of the RiV Webinars via Carmen Connect offered in the coming weeks. The next session is today (11/19) at 1:00pm. Additional dates and times are listed below:

  • November 20 – 10 am to noon – CarmenConnect
  • December 3 – 10 am to noon – Columbus, 4-H Center, Multi-Media Room (second floor)
  • December 11 – 9 am to noon – Ag Administration Building, Room 5 – geared for promotion / tenure candidates




Introduction to Quick Response (QR) Codes

What is it?

It is that little square that seems to be popping up in all sorts of places. Flyers, store windows, soup cans, game controllers, and a bottle of lotion are all found to have this square of tiny dots in what seems to be a random pattern. However, the pattern is anything but random and the impact of the square is anything but tiny.

The code “consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background” (Neal, 2012, para. 3). A cousin of the traditional barcode a QR code does differ in several ways. For one, it holds a great deal more information. “While a traditional bar code can hold a maximum of 20 digits, a QR code can hold up to 7,089 characters” (Crompton, LaFrance, & van’t Hooft, 2012). It is scanned like a bar code, but provides information up and down and from side to side. Speed is another advantage of the QR code over the bar code; it can be read more than 10 times faster than other code” (para. 8). The code can contain a variety of data, including plain text, GPS coordinates, phone numbers, or website addresses (Crompton et al., 2012).

What is the Purpose?

What exactly are you supposed to do with a QR code? Scan it! There are a number of ways to read a QR code. If you own a smartphone or tablet device there are a number of free readers available in those online stores for download. One that I currently have loaded is the NeoReader for the iPhone. ( It can be found on iTunes for download at Another popular reader is the QR Droid App for Android operating devices. Access Google Play link for quick download at For those of you without a smartphone or tablet device there is another option! QR codes can be ready straight from your laptop! Visit Code Two Reader

Information shared with QR codes can vary. The options can be nearly endless, but many of the codes access links to extra information about a product, or a coupon for services from a business. Social media, V cards (contact information), and Wi-Fi connections are also applications that are often seen with QR codes.

There are many applications that Extension professionals can utilize with QR codes. Marketing with flyers, collection of survey information at a conference, or playing an interactive “scan-venger” hunt with your audience can help them engage with their devices.

Creation of QR Codes

The creation of your own QR codes is easy, and customizable for those who are interested! QR stuff ( is a site that I commonly use for the creation of QR codes. You click what kind of connection you wish for the code to make and copy the URL to the box. Once created you can save the QR code and insert it into any document such as word, PowerPoint, or publisher.

Ideas for application will be addressed in a future blog post, but I would love to hear about the QR codes you are using in your program! Feel free to leave a comment or email me at to share.

Happy QR coding!

This is a live and functional QR code you can scan! Use it as a test to make sure your application is working.


Crompton, H., LaFrance, J., & van’t Hooft, H. M. (2012). QR codes 101. Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(8), 22-25.

Ed Tech in Action with the Live Healthy, Live Well Team

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend a Live Healthy, Live Well program team meeting. This FCS group has done a wonderful job of including technology and social
media into their program – and it’s now an OSUE Signature Program. Live Healthy, Live Well is a nutrition challenge during which participants receive e-mail newsletters, and follow the program’s blog and Facebook page. Both the blog and Facebook page are updated regularly, even outside of the program’s challenge dates, which helps to drive more potential participants to the program’s information.

During this meeting I shared and discussed the following resources with the team:

Time was also spent discussing their current format for the Live Healthy, Live Well e-mail newsletters, which they felt were in need of an upgrade. I shared a couple examples with the team (see the OSU Buckeyes image below – screen captured from their Facebook page).

Of course, Live Healthy, Live Well digital newsletters won’t be sharing the same information as the OSU football Facebook page. So we chatted about how we could transform the e-newsletters become a bit more visual and not as information-dense while still getting needed info to participants. The key here can be links, links, and more links – all complimented by a very visual template. This also will drive more traffic to their blog and Facebook page, which is a goal they’ve decided needs to be part of their overall social media strategy. E-newsletters are beginning to look more and more like a page in a magazine as the appeal of seeing information in visual form and in short snippets crosses over from Facebook (see other examples below).

As a result of the meeting, the Live Healthy, Live Well team is considering experimenting with paid promotions on their Facebook page to reach more potential program participants. I’ll also be working closely with them to communicate how they can best show and report their impact via the technological components of the program (in RiV in particular) – which is an issue we’ve been struggling with in Extension for years. This will be a major focus of our next Ed Tech meeting this Wednesday and we hope to have this information posted and ready for the organization in December – just in time for all the RiV procrastinators out there! (I can say this because I’m one of them.)

In the meantime, please consider inviting an Ed Tech (or more than one…) to an upcoming project or program team meeting to help your group think through some of the issues, concerns, ideas, and aspirations of technology use in Extension. We are here to help. I feel that in just the past few short months, we’ve already gained a lot of ground.