Iowa Master Gardener Program via Adobe Connect

James Romer, P&S, Horticulture

Situation:

We have used several different vehicles in the past to deliver training to participants across the state.  Satellite, Iowa Communications Network, Face to Face, and Adobe Connect webcasting.

The Adobe Connect webcast system is used to deliver 7 training session of the Master Gardener program to participants across the state in both the Fall and Spring.  Participants travel to County Extension Offices and view the programs as a group.  Sessions presented via Adobe Connect include: botany and soils, plant pathology and entomology, wildlife management, turfgrass, fruit culture, home landscape design, and landscape plants.

Objective: 

This research project was designed to better understand the benefits and challenges of the Adobe Connect system through the actual users.

Activities/Output:

The Iowa Master Gardener Program is an educational and volunteer service program of Iowa State University Extension and the College of Agriculture. University faculty and staff in the departments of entomology, horticulture, plant pathology, animal ecology and agronomy and Extension field specialists work with County Extension staff to provide research-based horticultural information to the citizens of Iowa through the volunteer efforts of trained Master Gardeners.

A survey questionnaire containing 14 questions was developed and provided to the participants in the Spring 2007 Class on campus weekends.  Participation was voluntary.  A total of 188 (73%) participated in the survey.  The survey took between 10 and 15 minutes to complete.

Impact/Outcomes:

Participants most frequently rated the usefulness of the information received through Adobe Connect as very valuable (63%).  A total of 95% of the participants noted they would participate in another partial webcasting training.  This indicates that webcasting has been accepted as a way to deliver the Master Gardener training.  As well, a majority (82%) responded that they would participate in training if it was an all webcast format.  However, face to face delivery is still the most preferred way (67%) of presenting the material.

The switch to webcasting using Adobe Connect saves the program approximately $6,000.00 a year versus using the Iowa Communications Network.

2007
130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer

Page last updated: September 28, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu