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Presentation at eXtension CoP Conference, Louisville, Ky, June 28, 2011. Rick Durham


<ul><li> 1. Who Answers Consumer Horticulture Questions submitted to eXtension?<br />Rick Durham and Candace Harker<br /> University of Kentucky<br />Consumer Horticulture CoP<br /></li></ul> <p> 2. AaE Answered Questions<br /> 3. History<br />eXtension work by CoPs began in 2005<br />Consumer Horticulture was one of 8 pioneer CoPs<br />Project Leaders: <br />Rick Durham, UK with Candace Harker FAQs<br />Mary Meyer, UMN with Karen Jeannette Basic content<br />Public launch of eXtension Gardens Lawns and Landscapes was February 2008 <br />Prior use of AaE beginning in 2007 by Mn Master Gardeners<br /> 4. Even before public launch, Consumer HortAaE became active<br />Ask a Minnesota Master Gardener redirected to the site in 2007<br />Horticulture questions asked by users visiting other content areas<br /> 5. Gardens, Lawns and Landscapes<br />Very popular content<br />~50% of requests for information to county Extension offices related to consumer horticulture<br />Extension Master Gardeners were already heavy users and advocates of on-line Extension information<br />Our vision was to use MG as Experts to answer AaE questions<br /> 6. Extension Master Gardeners<br />Nationwide network of trained, certified and motivated Extension volunteers<br />Diverse interests and expertise<br />Well connected to county Extension offices<br />Already answering public questions <br /> 7. Early data from GLL/Consumer Horticulture<br /> 8. eXtension FAQ/AAE ActivityMarch 30, 2006 July 20, 2008<br /> 9. Who answers our questions?<br />July 2008 data<br />States with &gt;/= 1 responder = 28*<br />Responder demographics:<br />State specialists = 32<br />County agent/educator = 42<br />EMG volunteers = 35<br />Other = 7<br />Total = 116<br />*Some responders cover more than one state<br /> 10. Questions keep coming, and coming, and coming.<br /> 11. AaE Questions<br />2006 17<br />2007 551<br />2008 2637<br />2009 (Aug) - 4029<br /> 12. Who answers questions-2009?<br />275 Experts historically for Hort (200 current representing 40 states)<br />MGs, county staff, state specialists, part-time eXtension project employee<br />34% answered 1 question<br />48% answered 2-25 questions<br />8.5% answered 26-50 questions<br />5% answered 51-100 questions<br />2% answered 101-250 questions<br />1.5% answered 251-500 questions<br />1 person has answered 1890 questions<br /> 13. Dilemma-sustainability<br />Minnesota MGs 25% of questions<br />Candace Harker 25% of questions<br />What do we do in 2010 when we have 10,000 questions?<br />What do we do in 2011 when we have 20,000 questions?<br />When will we be unable to answer all these question?<br /> 14. Problems and Solutions<br />Scalability <br />Reassigning questions was a problem<br />Question wranglers have been a big help<br />Buy-in by state/county staff<br />Slow in the beginning - Coalition of the willing<br />Institutionalization of eXtension and widgets<br />Engagement of Extension Master Gardener Coordinators with social media and on-line discussions<br /> 15. blogs.exetnsion.org/mastergardener<br /> 16. Trends in Ask an Expert activity for eXtension Consumer Horticulture<br /> 17. Hypotheses:<br />Institutionalization of eXtension should result in more AaE activity at the county level.<br />As more activity become localized, the number of questions answered by local experts should increase.<br /> 18. Procedure:<br />Answered AaE in category Horticulture<br />8 data sets from public site<br />April 1-8 in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011<br />September 20-27 in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010<br />4 data sets from widgets<br />April 1-8 in 2010 and 2011<br />September 20-27 in 2009 and 2010<br />Experts categorized by Master Gardener, Specialist, or County staff<br />Geographical origin of question and expert <br /> 19. Number of Questions analyzed<br />April Public Site<br />2008 62<br />2009 76<br />2010 164<br />2011 129<br />April Widget<br />2010 95<br />2011 67<br />September Public Site<br />2007 22<br /> 2008 54<br />2009 78<br />2010 88<br />September Widget<br />2009 50<br />2010 - 66<br />Total of 960 answered questions analyzed<br /> 20. Results<br /> 21. Who answers AaE Questions for September - Public?<br /> 22. Who answers AaE Questions for April - Public?<br /> 23. Who answers AaE Questions - Widget?<br /> 24. Totals Percentage by sub-group<br /> 25. Geographic origin of question and expert answer<br />September 20-27<br />April 1-8<br /> 26. Discussion<br />Currently have 405 Experts with horticulture preference representing 47 states.<br />Master Gardeners remain a very important component of Consumer HortAaE.<br />Question answering by county staff appears to be increasing.<br />For most recent data, ~90% of the questions were answered by an expert from the questions state of origin.<br /> 27. Questions?<br /></p>