Engaging Audiences Online: Webinar Best Practices and Tips from the Field

With the announcement of OSU Extension gaining access to Zoom hosted meetings and webinars, Jamie Seger, Morgan Domokos, and Brian Raison offered a “Webinar Best Practices and Online Teaching Tips from the Field” during the 2016 OSUE Annual Conference. Further training on recommended Zoom equipment, use, and teaching via webinar will be offered by the Ed Tech Unit and CFAES IT Services in 2017.

Questions about Zoom and teaching via webinar in the meantime can be sent to Jamie or Danae.

Extension and the Maker Movement: Events Ideas and Collaborative Partnerships for Every Impact Area

During OSU Extension Annual Conference last week, our Tech Faire transformed into a Maker Fest, featuring sessions from #Adulting to homebrewing and Ohio makerspaces to home gardening.

Click the images to access a PDF of each flyer. Questions about how you can help OSU Extension become more involved in the Maker Movement? Contact Jamie or Danae.




Save the Date: OSU’s INNOVATE Conference + Extension Post-Conference Event

Save the Date for the 2016 Innovate conference + special Post-Conference Event for OSU Extension professionals!

May 11th & 12th 


From the Innovate Community blogWith Excellence as our theme for 2016, we’re sharing innovations that let educators re-imagine their instruction without sacrificing pedagogical quality and rigor. It’s fun to experiment and enjoy the novelty of cutting edge technologies, but a focus on excellence is what drives meaningful implementation.

Innovate is a time for bringing people together across disciplines and across adoption barriers. The conference is built with the educator in mind: you don’t have to be tech savvy to fully participate in this day of presentations, demonstrations and valuable dialog.

Innovate is The Ohio State University’s annual conference exploring teaching and learning with technology. The highly engaging one-day event is built upon six years of successful conferences: 95% of 2014 participants learned something that could change the way they think about or do their job, 96% reported they would like to attend a similar event in the future, and the repeat attendees every year support this number. Innovate is hosted by Ohio State’s Office of Distance Education and eLearning.

While geared toward OSU faculty, with participation numbers growing each year of the conference, so too have professional development sessions relevant to outreach education and Extension initiatives. And in 2016, the OSUE Ed Tech Unit will be hosting a post-conference event for OSU Extension on May 12th. Innovate will be held at the Ohio Union, while our Extension event will be hosted at the 4-H Center. More details can be found here.

To be updated when registration and other details for Innovate become available, you can sign up to receive email updates or follow @InnovateOSU on Twitter. We’ll also share updates here on the Ed Tech blog!

We hope to see many of our Extension colleagues this year at Innovate in May!


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?

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:


How to Write for Online Audiences

The Ed Techs have shared several examples of online writing best practices in the past couple of years, including one created by CommTech and one from the CDC. This morning, I came across another one. Below is a Slidedeck from Jennifer Chilek (Ed Tech for eXtension’s Network Literacy CoP) on writing for online audiences.

In the slides below, she includes examples of best practices as well as succinct info that’s usable and to-the-point. If you have questions about converting content that’s currently in a traditional pub or curriculum into quality content more suited to an online audience, please let us know in the comments below or don’t hesitate to send me an email (seger.23).

Ed Tech in Action: Apply NOW to Test Google Glass!

Infographic from TechNorms.com

Infographic from TechNorms.com

Are you interested in testing out Google Glass as a programming tool? The Ed Techs are now recruiting interested individuals to participate in a Google Glass pilot project. Those who are selected will be able to “check out” a pair of Glass from one of the Ed Techs and use them over a 3-4 week period. When you pick up your Glass, an Ed Tech will walk you through set up and what their capabilities are for every day use. You will also receive a handy tip sheet to use as a reference guide. You then have the loaner period to test out Glass for yourself, see what the possibilities could be for their use in Extension programming, and even utilize them in your own programming and educational methods.

We (the Ed Techs) have tested out Glass ourselves for several weeks and see the following potential uses for them in Extension:

  • Point-of-View (POV) out in the field, during demonstrations, etc.
  • Hands-Free navigation of social media, Google Hangouts, and other online programming tools
  • The increasing takeover of wearable devices over mobile devices (think iWatch becoming more popular than iPhone… because it will eventually happen).

Ready to test Glass out for yourself?

Click here to submit your request and information!

Want more info? Watch this video demonstrating how Google Glass is being used as an educational tool.

Using Webinars to Teach: Training Slidedeck, Recap, and An Opportunity for Staff!

Last week, the Ed Techs hosted an online training about utilizing webinars as a teaching tool. The PPT is below, as well as a summary of the main points. A recording link to the webinar itself will be included as soon as we receive it.

Are you interested in presenting an educational webinar?

We know how busy you are, and so the Ed Techs are offering to provide preparation training, hosting, and “back-end” support for program and support staff who wish to present educational webinars in 2015!  These will not be professional development webinars we are all used to, but rather webinars intended to educate our online clientele (How to Respond to Temper Tantrums, 3 Simple Ways to Stick to Your Budget, How to Diagnose Pest Disease – as examples). We are requesting that individuals interested comment on this post, or contact us directly with the following information:

  • Webinar Topic
  • Title and Category (if you would like to call it a “Webinar” or “Lunch & Learn” or something similar)
  • Target Audience
  • Requested Date & Time to Present Webinar

Send the above information to any of the Ed Techs-

Jamie Seger: seger.23

Kim Roush: roush.143

Heather Gottke: gottke.4

Training Slidedeck



7 Tools for Using Webinars to Teach


  1. Basic Plan: timing, marketing, brief content

Design:Webinars screenshot

2. Visual Appeal: large images, one key point on each slide

3. Layout/ Structure: divide content into 10 minute segments or less, set up webinar session to promote interaction with different pods, discussions, polls, and activities

Interactive Elements (demonstrated in CarmenConnect):

4. Polling / Quiz / Questions

5. Chat Box

6. Whiteboard

7. Online Search

Link to Recording: TBA

Webinars as a Teaching Tool = A Top Priority for 2014

Last Fall when we asked everyone in the organization to tell us what they needed to know about social media via an online survey, an additional need was heard loud and clear. Many are ready (and waiting) for training on how to best use webinars as a teaching tool. We’ve used webinars as a self-ed and professional development tool, but now this informal learning format is also offering our clients a convenient way to educate themselves as well – and we all need to be providing them information with this method. Many businesses and even government agencies (the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative for example, are already using Google Hangouts to inform and educate the public.)

One of the focuses for our Ed Tech group for 2014 will be developing training opportunities on how to best teach via webinars. But first some decisions need to be made, including which webinar tools we should focus on for training. Initial thoughts from our group include:

  • Carmen Connect (we realize many are not comfortable using CC as a teaching tool yet)
  • Google Hangouts On Air
  • Adobe Connect via eXtension

We need to hear from you! If you’ve used or participated in educational webinars (think = for our audiences: farmers, parents, youth, etc.) what tools seemed to work best? Which didn’t? Which tools would you prefer to learn how to use? What suggestions do you have for how we can best use these tools? An online discussion here will help drive our decisions and planning as we move forward with this year’s trainings.

~The Ed Tech Team

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. (http://www.NeoReader.com) It can be found on iTunes for download at https://itunes.apple.com/app/neoreader-qr-reader-barcode/id284973754. Another popular reader is the QR Droid App for Android operating devices. Access Google Play link for quick download at http://q.qr.ai. 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 http://www.codetwo.com/freeware/qr-code-desktop-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 (http://www.qrstuff.com) 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 gottke.4@osu.edu 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.