October 7, 2008

Wrap Up

This was an adventure in technology. Pretty much everything was new to me. I did like setting up the web conference the best. Since I am not an Extension Educator, the thing I am most likely to use at work is the UChat which I intend to get set up. I will need to get my co-workers to get set up as well so we can use that instead of our "one liner" e-mails back and forth. Now that I have been introduced to so many new things, I need to find the time to go back and delve into things a little deeper and use them. That is the issue...time.....finding time to do one more thing on the computer, like blogging, etc. I know that for some things it will take time to get set up and then should help make us more efficient. If another course is offered I would take it. Thanks to Amy for setting this up for us.

October 6, 2008

UM Connect Web Conferencing

It was really easy to go in and set up a web conference. Obviously it would take a little more if I was really inviting people and had to coordinate the telephone conference as well, but it is really slick. I could see using this for team meetings at the very least. We could upload the agenda and various reports that we would typically get in hard copy at a face to face meeting. We do conference calls but this would be a little more interactive. I didn't do a lot of experimenting but would this allow people to all look at a document and edit it while everyone has it on the screen. I saw a demonstration of WebEx at a church event and people could do that and also "write" with their cursors in different colors. Each person would have a different color. I know that the EE's in Food Science participate in "webinars" on subject matter like Listeria bacteria sponsored by some Food Science Department or Health Department in the country. They also have a journal hour which has been a confernce call. The journal article and sometime power points are e-mailed out and they each look at their own screen. This might be a better way to do it. For some kinds of basic food safety training they might use this with an audience from the food service industry. It is very cool.

September 22, 2008

Communicating in 2.0/Instant Messaging

Once again I can see I am way behind with all the new technology. I suppose my co-workers and I sometimes do "instant messaging" just using e-mail. If we are working on our computers and it "dings" indicating a new e-mail, we may have several go back and forth setting up dates for upcoming food safety classes, or registration changes etc. We can have a string of several responses. I suppose instant messaging would be less cumbersome and the string of comments wouldn't keep getting sent back and forth. So maybe instant messaging would be ok. But what if you are not at your desk? In one of the articles, it said something about "turning the instant messaging off". That would be one more thing to remember to do. As it is, once a week I need to do dirt tools to add an automatic response to e-mail and change my voice mail. I work four days a week and do this every week so people know who to contact if they need help on the day I don't work. It would be one more thing for me to do.

If instant messaging goes to your phone does it count towards your text message allotment and then you pay for each one beyond that. I can see where that could be a problem for some people. A junior high student in our town is addicted to texting and racked up hundreds of dollars in bills.

I may have one of the support staff help me get set up with UChat just to see what it is all about.

September 17, 2008

Social Networking

I hear about My Space and Face Book and think of it as something teens and young adults do. I will have to see if my nephews can help get one set up. I know it is the way to reach young people and organizations such as schools and churches will have to move in this direction if we are going to connect with the kids.

As far as my work with the food science programs, I'm not sure if it would be helpful. Some of the folks who take our classes don't have computers. Others who have computers don't want to bother to go online to our secure registration site to register with a credit card. When I tell them over the phone that I can't take credit card numbers over the phone but I will give them the web site, they say they will just mail a check. So if their computer use is limited, I don't think a social networking site would help us publicize our classes.

I did set up an account on LinkIn. It was confusing to get it set up. But I am not very intuitive when it comes to computers. I need step by step instructions that I can print out and follow along. I did invite two people who are already connected and invited three people who are not. Hopefully I did everything correctly.

I did find my way to the spot where University alumni have registered. For the four years I was a student, there were over 3000 listed, so it would take a long time to find people--especially those who changed their names, as you couldn't just click on a letter of the alphabet. But if you were really trying to find someone you could spend some time and see if they had joined. Oddly enough I started in the A's and found a person my husband and I know through my husband's work with the NRECA. I didn't invite Jeff as I don't know him that well, but was pretty cool to find someone I know on the first page of names.

Once again I am overwhelmed by all of this technology. I guess I will continue to add to my knowledge as I need it for work or for connecting with others in my personal life and volunteer work.

September 9, 2008

Productivity Tools

This stuff is amazing. I looked at Tada lists. This is great. I am a list person so putting the lists in something more permanent than scraps of paper is a good thing. For work I could see setting up a list of all the things I need to do when making arrangements for the Food Safety classes. A master list would work, since the items are the same for all programs--find location, check with contact person about: room set up, AV equipments, refreshments, send brochures, send news releases, send confirmation letters and maps and text books, make final arrangements with the site. etc. I do all these things so the list wouldn't necessarily be shared. The Extension Educators might use a shared list as they pack to go teach the classes, especially if they are not in the same office and coming from different directions so they won't be car pooling. They could have a generic list and as one packs her part of the materials, teaching supplies, etc. she could check it off the list so the other instructor would know it is taken care of and that she doesn't have to bring that item.

On one of the sites (Google Docs I think) someone used the list option as a way to do the grocery list and family members could keep adding until the list got printed off (or maybe they had a blackberry and can look at the list and change it even when the shopper is in the store.)

On Zoho and Google Docs I could set up the registration spread sheets for the Food Safety classes. If everyone on the team had the rights they could go in and see how many and who has registered for any given class. Currently we keep the Excel spread sheets on our center share, so co-workers and support staff here can look at the lists, add or delete people on the days when I am not in the office. The EE's from the other regional centers have to e-mail me or call to find out how many are registered. I send them numbers at the time registration closes and lists for their attendance rosters, but sometimes they want to have an idea weeks before the class if it will be a large class or small class so they can start printing workshop hand outs etc. If we had it set up on a program like this, they could go and check themselves.

Slide Share could be used as a way for one EE to develop a standard power point/slide show for a given program and the others could use it through the internet. Now they e-mail files with the power point to each other, burn them on a CD or put them on a USB stick drive. Having them on an internet site would allow changes without having to send the whole power point presentation again. They would have to make sure they had internet access at the site where they are teaching, which isn't always the case. It would also be a back up if they got to a workshop and for some reason the CD didn't work or the file accidentally got deleted.

We could spend all our time exploring all these new methods just to see what they do and learning how to use them, that we won't get our real work done.

September 3, 2008

Wikis and other Collaborative Tools

This was an interesting topic. I have looked at things on Wikipedia when it came up as a source when I was doing a search on a given subject. I didn't know that it was collaboration and collection written by many authors. I just thought it was the online version of some sort of "encyclopedia", that it had been uploaded from a print format.

In the Extension Wiki there was a category for Food Safety for Small to Very Small Food Processors which caught my attention. I think Extension Food Safety professionals from about 20 states had registered to be able to add things to it. Minnesota was not listed. There was a place where the general population (if they would ever find the site) could click on their state and get to the state's rules about food processing and how to set up a business. I clicked on Minnesota and it should have takend me to a Dept. of Ag. Website, but the web site had moved, so I got some kind of message that the url was no longer valid. It did however, have an "Ask MDA Online form" that a person could fill out and it would get e-mailed to MDA. Ultimately they could get their info, it would take a little longer. Or maybe people would just do a google search for MDA to get what they needed.

If a group is going to have a wiki about a specific topic, they do need to pay attention and update it on a regular basis. Some of the entries I clicked on were last modified in Oct. or Nov. 2007. Maybe there is no new information to enter. The MDA link could have been updated.

I clicked on some of the other Subject based Wiki's. The Thomas Jefferson one was very interesting and detailed. By opening some of the portals, I found titles of unpublished thesis that I think are located in the Library of Congress. It would be great if someone was doing a term paper for a history class to have access to all of this. This one allowed "certified" Jefferson scholars to add information but the general population could look at it.

Maybe the Food Science Team needs to look at the Food Safety for Small to Very Small Food Processors and determine if we need a representative to sign up to participate in this topic on the Extension Wiki.

It was very interesting. I didn't know all these things are out there.

August 26, 2008

Podcasts

I am amazed at all the programming and information that is available on podcasts. I even found a Spanish language class--Coffee Break Spanish--with 15 minute Spanish lessons taught by two Scottish people. I wonder if I could learn to speak Spanish but would have a Scottish accent with it?

I searched one of the Podcast Search Engines for Food Safety and came up with lots of safety related things, but not necessarily food safety--fire safety, food related websites--not necessarily food safety.

Personally I think I could use this to get MPR and NPR programming. On their programming they always say the programs are available by podcast. It seems I listen to part of a program in the car, get to my destintion and never hear the rest of the program. There is a time limit where you can stay in the car and finish listening --"the driveway or parking lot moment". On the other hand I would have to find the time to listen to all the podcasts if I subscribed to them. I wouldn't want to be tied to the computer as a way to listen. At least with radio or the stereo I can crank up the volume if I am home and hear it in several rooms while I clean or cook. If this stuff can be down loaded to the car that would be great. I could listen to it later in the car when there is nothing else of interest and I'm surfing through the stations. Or maybe it is already possible to that with the right equipment. I'm a little behind on what is available in technology.

Work-wise I could see the Food Science team preparing short podcasts on specific topics geared to our current Food Safety Employee Training. This course is done for the information alone and not to get a certification. The courses with certification need a method where we know the person actually completed the course. People could listen to these at their convenience just like they do with our online courses.

August 19, 2008

Photos and Videos

I have not done anything with photo sites except to view the ones my sister's husband uploads from their vacations or family gatherings. He e-mails us with the site and we go and look at them. He uses one of the commercial sites, so we could order and purchase copies of the pictures if we want to. We haven't ordered any and sometimes I just check out the thumbnails and enlarge those I am interested in looking at.

After reading Bruce Schwartau's blog and he said his picture was on Flickr, I did a search for him and other people I know to see if anyone else came up. The only pictures that came up were of Bruce's presenting a workshop.

I did a search for a couple of different places. My husband was in Yei, Sudan in January. I typed it in and a lot of pictures came up. I will share this with him, as he commented on how there were a lot of pictures he wished he would have been able to take. Sometimes he just missed the opportunity--couldn't get the camera out fast enough etc. and some he wasn't allowed to take by the local security. If there were a picture or two that he really wants/needs to show something about the community, it might be worth it to contact the photographer to see if he could use it.

I also did a search for a town in New Zealand where friends of ours live. Some pictures came up and then I clicked to see more pictures by that photographer. He had uploaded over 1700 photos! Apparently he put all his trip pictures up and made them available to the public. I can't imagine putting up all our photos from a trip up on the web for all to see.

When we haven't been able to find photos in public domain for our Food Safety marketing pieces, we have gone on a site and purchased the rights to use a photo. I wasn't involved in how the process worked--ordering, paying with a credit card, etc.

August 12, 2008

RSS lesson

I think I figured this out. I have a Bloglines account opened and set up in my favorites. I have four feeds to be read. When I got into Bloglines I did a search for a blog that I know about "Hunger Rumblings" so I typed it in but got a different "Hunger Rumblings" than I was expecting. I then went to the home web site of the one I wanted and subscribed from there.

August 6, 2008

This is cool!

I just changed my template and it was really easy to do.

First Entry

I am a very non-techie person so this is very cool to learn how to create a blog. I've done Google searches for lots of topics like recipes and other information and came up with blogs that other people have developed. I never knew how they set them up. In my personal life, I was at a national church event last week and several of the workshops were on technology like blogs, facebook, webex etc. as a way for the church to communicate, especially with the younger generations. I didn't get to the blog session so this is good to learn how.

Did I miss something? What goes into Extended Entry and Excerpt?