Interactive Web-based Technology Has Wide Applications for Extension Programs

in HortScience
Bodie PennisiUniversity of Georgia, Horticulture, CAES Griffin Campus, Griffin, GA, 30223

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The Internet has become a valuable tool in education in the traditional classroom. Although electronic publications and other visual information in the form of PowerPoint presentations, with or without streaming video, have proven very effective in disseminating information, these forms lack interaction with clientele. Horizon Wimba software circumvents this limitation by allowing interaction between presenter and remote audience as well as between individual students while the lecture is in progress. This Web-based tool was evaluated in two Extension programs, Master Gardener and county agent trainings. With both types of audience, evaluations showed high satisfaction and effectiveness of the delivery of information. Evaluations also showed that Master Gardeners who use the Internet on a regular basis considered the Web-delivered interactive lecture format similar to face-to-face interaction. Master Gardeners who do not use the Internet on a regular basis listed that Web-delivered interactive training could be used as a supplement to traditional face-to-face interaction. County agents were very comfortable with the format and indicated high interest in participating in future trainings via the Internet.

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