April 20, 2010

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eXtension - Military Families Meeting with NIFA

April 20, 2010

Present: Brent Elrod, Lisa Lauxman, Kevin Gamble, Kyle Kostelecky, Anne Adrian, Jerry Thomas, Dan Cotton, Beth Raney

Brent share information concerning slides Cathann Kress just shared concerning the Military Families Partnership overall. She spoke to the three key priorities and the role the Military Families CoP will play to engage and bring together people to discuss and synthesize research and available resources. She talked about four resources of particular use to the helping professionals.

Military Homefront Defense.gov Social networking tools eXtension.org (key source for MF helping professionals)

Also, he shared the need to come up with either a different interface to the wiki or another content management tool(s). The MF CoP will need to develop and publish some content. Brent confirmed the goal is for the MF CoP to publish content to extension.org and not to an alternate site.

eXtension staff explained the wiki is used to develop and publish content such as basic articles, certain curriculum, etc. Other tools are used by CoPs to manage questions (AaE and FAQ), events (Calendar), courses (Moodle), video (YouTube), etc.

eXtension has been/is looking for another content management platform, but the challenge is to find something that meets our needs without requiring a lot of customization. There are no simple “off the shelf” solutions. Drupal is being looked at, but it has its complexities. Whatever we do regarding an alternate CMS, it will take time to find another solution and we are looking for an enterprise solution. eOrganic uses Drupal, but it took them quite a bit of time to develop the application to meet their needs; they provide a feed of their content to eXtension.

Lisa mentioned that Craig Wood is working with her, a CYFAR representative, the National 4-H Council (Nancy Shaff) and others on a team focusing on youth oriented content development targeting youth. They are scheduled to meet May 17-18 in Washington, D.C. They too have many of the same questions regarding content development.

One strategy to consider may be to identify a person(s) to join the MF CoP to collect content that needs to be published, place it in the wiki, format it, mange the review process and publish it. Many CoPs use such a model (i.e., LPELC, Family Caregiving, etc.) and it works well. Over time, others may receive training and learn to participate. Regardless of the wiki, Drupal or whatever the ultimate choice, there will be a learning curve.

It appears social media is where the engagement needs to occur; however, there are other choices (i.e., blogs, etc.). Given all the descriptors, gravitating to a social media, highly interactive framework makes sense. We need to consider places where helping professionals may already be working (i.e., milblogs, Military Home Front, etc.). Anne will be working on identifying and implementing appropriate strategies.

Brent suggested weekly meetings be scheduled to establish regular dialog. The first meeting will be held at CYFAR. Brent will identify a time and space for us to meet. Kyle, Anne, Kevin, Dan, Brent and Lisa will all be attending. A regular meeting schedule will be identified at CYFAR.

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