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Technology Tips for New Employees

Connecting with Your New Communities

Tips for New Extension Agents

As new Extension agents, you have suddenly become very connected.

When you were hired, you became members of several new communities, including some or all of the following: a new home, a new town, a new county, a county center office, your county government, NC State University, NC A&T State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension (NCCE), and the National Land-Grant system. Just this week you’ve become part of a cohort of new NCCE agents who had an opportunity to meet face to face. This might be a one-time group, or you might find that by attending orientation together you have developed a lasting bond.

Over the course of your careers, you’ll see your communities form and expand to include more peers and colleagues as you take classes, serve on committees, participate in county, multicounty or multistate collaborations, and become active in professional organizations. In doing your jobs you’ll also be participating in, working with and forming new communities of learners.

Some, if not all of you are already members of some virtual communities and social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter. The use of social networks has grown rapidly within our extension system.

So how do you find time to establish your identity and connect with your peers in these many communities while you are also building and offering your educational programs within your counties? There are technology tools to help you with this process. Some of the tools were built especially for NCCE; others were created by eXtension, a national collaborative organization within the National Land-Grant system. Many commercial social media applications will become valuable to you for collaborating with your peers and reaching your clientele.

NCCE Tools

All of the NCCE tools mentioned below are linked from the One-Stop Shop, http://oss.ces.ncsu.edu/

Help the public and your peers find you:

  • Update your contact info and responsibilities
  • Add your photo
    • Responsibilities are searchable by others in CES
  • Use your county web site
    • Write news articles
    • Customize your topic area pages

Connect with co-workers:

  • Use the responsibilities and email tool (internal use)
  • Find other employees working on the same objectives you are (internal use)
  • Read and post internal information in the Intranet (internal use)
    • Note: when NCCE employees talk about “the Intranet” it’s this site: http://intranet.ces.ncsu.edu
    • Our Intranet used to be a wiki, so you might still hear that term used. It’s a WordPress site now.
  • Subscribe to the Announce mailing list if you want to be in the informal loop. This list is used by employees to share information about weddings, births, retirements, deaths, etc. of interest to extension employees. (managed by subscription). Instructions for this list and others  are listed here.

NC State Tools:

  • Use Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom web conferencing for formal and informal meetings
    • All faculty and staff with a Unity ID can host meetings.
    • Anyone can attend meetings.

eXtension

eXtension is an Internet-based collaborative environment where Land-Grant University content providers exchange objective, research-based knowledge to solve real challenges in real time.

  • Learn about eXtension: http://extension.org
  • Get an eXtension ID: http://people.extension.org
    • Subscribe to the ‘announcements’ mailing list
    • Check out the formal and informal communities
    • Tag yourself and list your social networking identities
  • Subscribe to get email announcements about the upcoming Professional Development opportunities:

Social Media

Online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media

Become familiar with NC State’s Social Media Best Practices and Guidelines

Where to learn more

  • Computer contacts
    • Your office has one or more “Computer Contacts.” Check with your County Extension Director to find out who holds this role in your office. They can help you with many technology related questions or direct you to the appropriate source of additional help.
  • CES Help Desk
    • The CES Help Desk provides information and computer support for Extension Information Technology supported hardware and software.
    • If you feel you need Help Desk support after talking with your computer contact, you may reach the CES Help Desk by calling 919-513-7000 or emailing [ces_help@ncsu.edu]
    • If you are in a county that receives IT support from your local county IT group, you should contact them for any questions specific to your equipment or county provided software.
  • Information Management Agents
    • Your Area Information Management Agent provides training on numerous IT-related topics, including most of social media topics mentioned today. Don’t hesitate to contact them with questions on these topics and others.
    • Need to find your Information Management Agent? See IM Agent Regions
  • eXtension
    • eXtension offers a variety of professional development opportunities each month covering topics related to eXtension applications and social media of interest to Extension workers. Visit http://learn.extension.org for all the details

Written By

Photo of Scott ByrdScott ByrdTechnology Support Analyst (919) 515-2983 (Office) scott_a_byrd@ncsu.eduExtension Information Technology - NC State University
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