Eviticulture as a Tool for Educating Future Grape Industry Professionals through Traditional and Nontraditional Teaching

Monday, July 22, 2013: 4:00 PM
Springs Salon A/B (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Eric Stafne , Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, MS
Chris Lake , Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR
The eXtension website (www.extension.org) is where non-biased content is posted to educate and inform different communities of interest.  Within eXtension, the Grape Community of Practice (GCoP) provides a national and international web presence through eViticulture (eViticulture.org) which was created by experts in viticulture and associated disciplines within the land grant university system.  Since content is science-based and peer-reviewed in an accessible online format, the website provides a rich learning environment that is available to all.  While the initial intent of eViticulture was to provide educational information and tools that meet the needs of the current U.S. grape industry, it has been effectively used to educate future industry professionals through university and community college courses and professional development programs. In these programs, eViticulture has replaced traditional textbooks which are quickly outdated, costly, and inconvenient to reference online. One of the main benefits cited by educators is the clear and concise format of articles providing a well-packaged yet efficient way to obtain information that can be used in preparation for class discussions or studying. The online format allows articles to be readily linked into learning platforms in online courses, further expanding the use of the website. Students indicated that the website has been helpful in obtaining viticulture information outside of classes, particularly when there are time limitations within courses.  The use of the eXtension platform makes teaching efficient for numerous audiences, spanning from current to future industry members. Often traditional Extension programs in commercial agriculture focus on current professionals without regard to the needs of those who are the future of the industries they serve. An integration of these resources in teaching is necessary to reinforce a life-long learning paradigm and foster a strong relationship between land-grant universities and students, both in their formal education and professional development through Extension post-graduation.