How Different Generations Consume Online Content

Do Baby Boomers prefer to use internet browsers instead of their smartphones to look up information? Do Millennials want to receive more information via Twitter than any other source? Social Media Today recently published an article that lays out the answers to these and other questions about how different generations consume online content – down to the difference in time of day usage. The infographics in the post help to visually describe some of the gaps that exist between the different generations. However, with all of the differences that do indeed exist, one thing was constant: the “sweet spot” for word length looked to be 300 words… not a word more. Click the image below to go to the full post and view the entire infographic.

Source: Social Media Today

Source: Social Media Today

The PEW Research Center recently updated their social media use survey results, which are very useful in determining which social media platforms to use depending on your audience and topic. Despite assumptions that youth aren’t using Facebook, the study proved that to be wrong. Facebook is still way ahead of all other social media platforms in terms of usage. Other insights and info are in the full report.

How might this information change how you currently use social media to reach online audiences?

Formal vs Informal Learning Environments: Moodle or Blog?

POST method

With so many options available to Extension professionals to deliver educational information online, it’s difficult to know which tools and learning environments are more suitable for different curricula or program topics. Some tools available to us operate in a more formalized learning environment – like an online course for credit or certification. Examples of formal learning tools are Moodle or Carmen. Most Extension programs should not utilize Carmen, since participants need to have a name.# in order to access the course. Informal learning tools are blogging platforms (, social media, educational webinars, Twitter Chats, and now even Live streaming. These are tools that can get much of the same information out to an online audience, but in an informal way. Remember to use the POST method when being strategic about what technology and learning environment you use… start with People… not with the technology. Below are some examples of when a formal learning environment would be appropriate, and when an informal approach makes more sense.

Classes or Programs that Award Certification

If you are currently teaching a face-to-face or online program that awards certificates or credit once the participant has completed the program, than it would be more appropriate for this program to be created in Moodle or a similar formal learning environment platform. If your class requires a lot of hands-on learning and application, it may be more appropriate for it not to go online and remain as a face-to-face program.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Budget or personal finance program (or similar) that awards a completion certificate to participants.
  • Classes in which quizzes are required or beneficial.
  • Curricula that can not or should not be be broken into topical segments to share via informal tools such as social media.

Campaigns or Program Themes

If you plan to focus on a topic theme over a specific period of time (an example would be sending out educational information and facilitating classes on local food during the summer months), than an informal learning tool like utilizing a blog or posting to social media would be more appropriate.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Networked social media campaign during which multiple social media feeds are sharing information on your specific topic during a specified period of time.
  • A series of 30-minute educational webinars.
  • A series of 2 minute videos.
  • A blog post series dedicated to your specific topic or focus area over a given period of time.
  • A Twitter Chat focused on your topic area.
  • Live streaming via Periscope or Meerkat during a local food event at your Fair.

Program Participant Follow-Up Opportunities & Further Education

Online audiences in 2015 take it upon themselves to search for educational information they’re looking for. Continuing education is becoming much more informal than it ever has been in the past because people tend to search what they want to learn and informally network with others who want to learn the same things they do. This gives us as Extension professionals the opportunity to tap into this desire and follow-up with previous program participants at the same time. With today’s online audience in mind, informal learning environments are much more effective for this.

Examples of how it can be applied:

  • Creating a Facebook group page (private or public) for Dining with Diabetes participants to join and share, learn, and keep in touch with one another after completing the program. This group page could be utilized to also share upcoming educational opportunities.
  • Invite previous program participants to regularly held Twitter Chats.
  • Ask program participants to subscribe to your blog or sign up for educational webinar announcements via email.
  • Create a hashtag for your program or topic area. Use this hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.
  • Always give participants your program’s social media links and information for follow-up.

What are your thoughts? Any other suggestions for formal and informal learning environment tools that we can utilize in Extension?


How to Share Your Outlook Calendar [Video]

If your county or regional director has requested that you share your Outlook Calendar with them, or if you just want to share it with colleagues, below is a great step-by-step video from that walks you through the process:

You may also find this video helpful on how to subscribe to other calendars (this also works for importing your Google Calendar if you do not plan to make changes to it from Outlook):

As always, please let us know in the comments if you have questions or concerns about this recent change to Outlook-only work calendars. If you have technical questions or issues, those can be directed to Don Ordaz.


How to Sync Outlook’s Calendar with Your Google Calendar: Three Options

My entire life is in my Google Calendar... this won't be an easy adjustment...

My entire life is in my Google Calendar… this won’t be an easy adjustment…

Show of hands – how many people panicked recently when your County Director mentioned that per University policy, we’ll all have to switch to Microsoft Outlook’s calendar to keep track of our daily schedules? I know I didn’t particularly have a good feeling in my stomach. I’ve kept track of my work, personal, and kids’ sports schedules on Google Calendar for more than 5 years… and, being the Google Geek that I am, I don’t feel like switching over any time soon. For those who would like to continue utilizing Google Calendar, but don’t want to manage two separate calendars, you do have a few options.

Google Sync used to be the tried-and-try method of syncing Outlook with Google Calendar. But it’s now long gone with Google no longer offering or supporting it as of August, 2014. Boo. BUT this is the best summary I’ve found with new options that are out there if you really want to sync your calendars without switching completely to Outlook

I apologize for the lack of a step-by-step video, but there simply aren’t any good ones out there yet since the change with Google Sync occurred so recently. I’ll keep searching and let you all know if I find anything – or share a video link in the comments if you come across one!

You also have the option of only syncing both calendars on your mobile device. When you log into your OSU email and Google account from your mobile device, it will pull both calendars into your mobile device calendar. Of course, this however will not allow you to edit one event on both calendars simultaneously… you only have access to both calendars in one location. Bummer, I know.

Of course, the final option is to simply stop using Google Calendar and completely switch over to Outlook. You can do this by importing what is currently in your Google Calendar… and then only use Outlook from that point forward.

Questions? Let us know in the comments or you can contact Don Ordaz with technical questions and issues. If you have found a better tutorial than the ones shared so far, let us know in the comments!


Intro to Microsoft Outlook Calendar [Video]

By now, you may have heard that it is preferred for Extension staff to begin utilizing Microsoft Outlook for their work calendars. Many people in the organization (like me) have been using Google calendar for years and are finding this transition a bit rough.

Below is a video primer on using Outlook Calendars, we’ll also have more information posted to the blog throughout this week on making the transition (or beginning from scratch) to Outlook calendars.

If you have already switched to Microsoft Office 2013, here is a video for that version of Outlook:

If you prefer a printed step-by-step guide, you may find NDSU’s Tips and Tricks for Outlook PDF Guide more useful or Microsoft’s version.

Let us know in the comments what other questions, concerns, etc. you have about this change! You can also contact Don Ordaz with technical questions and issues.


CFAES Online Course Design Workshop

A while back, those in Extension received an invitation to register for a CFAES Online Course Design Workshop. The workshop is being held simultaneously in Wooster, Columbus, and virtually NEXT Wednesday, May 13th. But there is still time to register! The day will consist of walking through hands-on learning to design online curriculum and/or trainings via Moodle or Carmen. (Note that only those with name.# accounts can access Carmen courses, so it may not be an appropriate tool for Extension online programming. Moodle, however, is still appropriate tool for any course or training that requires or offers a certificate upon completion.) This workshop has been a collaborative project between our new CFAES Director of Online Learning and Engagement (Deana Namuth-Covert), Instructional Development Specialists at ATI, myself, and many others.

  Click here to register to attend in-person or virtually.

I will be attending a portion of the workshop in Columbus and will be available for any questions Extension colleagues in attendance might have. I will also send out a follow-up announcement to Extension participants after the workshop. Look for a blog post in the coming days on the differences between formal and informal learning environments, and when which is most appropriate to utilize.


More information on the Online Course Design Workshop:


Digital Scholarship is Getting the Attention it Deserves

Eric Stafne, Extension Professor from Mississippi State University, has posted a very interesting and thought-provoking 5-part series on the eXtension Educational Technology Learning Network’s blog this week. In this series, he discusses his favorite definition of digital scholarship, how digital technology and scholarship best connect, outlines barriers to digital scholarship and offers solutions to how Extension can address these barriers.

I encourage everyone in Extension who is interested in traditional media, digital media, and scholarship, as well as the future of academic content, to read this series and offer your input on the digital scholarship blog posts. You can also Tweet your reaction and thoughts using the #EdTechLN hashtag and be part of the conversation.

Click here to access the entire digital scholarship blog post series by Eric Stafne. 

During the entire month of May, the #EdTechLN is shining the spotlight on digital scholarship and its impact on Extension. Next week’s #EdTechLN TweetUp (May 7th at 2:00pm EST) will focus on this topic. You can join and follow the TweetUp by going to:  If you’d like to take a look at the last TweetUp discussing digital scholarship, which focused on “Traditional Pubs. vs. Digital Content” you can access the summary here.

It should also be noted that we’re addressing digital scholarship questions and issues here in Ohio. The Extension Promotion and Tenure Committee is working hard to discuss solutions to how we define quality digital media and content.  A handout presented to the P&T Committee to begin this discussion is below:


Don’t Forget to Invite an Ed Tech!

As the craziness of 4-H season and summer event planning gets underway, we would like to remind everyone to not forget to invite an Ed Tech to your upcoming team/committee meetings and inservices! Between Heather and myself, we currently have the equivalent of one full time staff member providing Ed Tech services and support, but we’ll make every effort to attend and hope to grow the Ed Tech unit by two additional full time positions by the end of 2015.

Contact Heather

Contact Jamie