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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Source - Fall/Winter 2009 > Timely topics reach people online

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Timely topics reach people online

Online learning

Convenient, virtual workshops from Extension allow learners to meet their needs on their time, and everyone benefits from the cost savings.

Online education may never replace the classroom, but it's proving to be a convenient and effective addition to Extension's offerings. Advancing the use of technology in education is one way Extension is cutting costs and meeting needs in a fast-paced world.

Case in point: Extension's horse program. A webinar on equine genetics allowed horse breeder Tom Tweeten of Prior Lake to learn more about issues associated with horse abandonment while keeping up with chores at his stables.

"The webinar helped me determine which horses have the problems that cause them to end up unwanted and abandoned," says Tweeten. He appreciates not paying to travel to a workshop and being able to watch the recorded programs again for review, he says.

An online seminar also emerged as the most efficient way to reach pork producers and industry leaders this spring. Extension swine program leader Mark Whitney moved quickly to deliver accurate information on the H1N1 virus throughout Minnesota, the country's third-largest pig farming state.

"Our partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board to develop the PorkCast program helped us reach out with information to the state's pork industry," Whitney says. "In one morning, we went from developing a H1N1 presentation to marketing it, to delivering a live webcast by noon."

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