Overcoming Barriers to Nutrition Education

The SNAP-Ed program is very aware of the logistical barriers that prevent low-income community members from attending a weekly course. Work schedules, childcare, transportation, and balancing a number of other expected and unexpected daily responsibilities makes regular attendance at classes more than challenging. Yet, there is valuable curriculum that has proven to be successful. So the SNAP-Ed program is ready to begin sharing the curriculum online to improve access and flexibility.

The look and feel of the course will be critical to learner engagement, so early in the project I made sure to observe an in-person course. From that experience it was evident learner interaction with peers and the instructor is the heart of the program and would need to factor heavily into the course design.

Rapid Prototyping in Instructional Design

In order to get the look and feel of the course "right," we have been utilizing a "rapid prototyping" approach to instructional design. That means the design, development, and evaluation phases aren't linear. We're starting with a scaled-down representation of the course by working with one hypothetical lesson modeled after the one I observed in person. Before we create any of our own media content, we simply utilize existing videos and images as place holders. Each prototype invites new conversation to get at a deeper understanding of the "right" fit approach.

We started with a mock up in Ning. Ning is a platform that focuses on social interaction, and would afford us the opportunity to have groups of students learn together over a specific amount of time.

This iteration of the model allowed us to continue the conversation about how learners would move through the content, and we determined that "grouping" was not necessary and might put up barriers and/or create logistical concerns that are unnecessary. This ah-ha moment opened the door to try Google Sites (with FlipGrid for interaction) and Blogger (using comments for interaction) as potential platforms.

Google Sites


The process of prototyping opens up the "black box" we each have in our minds, making coming to a shared vision much easier, preventing major back-tracking later in the project. We hope to bring one or more of our prototypes to a couple of focus group audiences later this spring to increase the likelihood of success even more by letting potential audiences in on the development process.

Are there any projects or growth opportunities for your program you've been thinking about that could benefit from a rapid prototyping approach to e-learning design?


During the University's Learning Management System (LMS) evaluation, we also had the opportunity to play with the Moodle Rooms "Snap" theme.

You can control the start and end times of a WebEx Meeting recording before sharing it with others. This is a nice option when you want to cut out unwanted chit chat, noise or even dead air at the beginning or end of your meeting. But for more extensive editing such as adding a title slide or editing content in the middle of the webinar, you can convert a WebEx recording to MP4 and then use video editing software (e.g. WeVideo.com) to edit, create a new recording and share it on YouTube. Instructions for both options are below.

Control the Start/End Times of a Recording

  1. Log into umn.webex.com
  2. Click Meeting Center
  3. Click My Recorded Meetings in the left navigation. 
  4. Find the recording you want to trim. Tip: play the recording before editing to write down the start and end times you want.
  5. Click the three dots on the far right side and select Modify
  6. Under the Playback Control, select the Partial Playback option. Note: your edits do not actually delete any content. It just controls the start/end time of your recording. 
  7. Enter the Start and End times you prefer
  8. Tip: Notice the Panel Display Options in this section. You can control which panels can be displayed during playback. 
  9. Click Save 

Editing a WebEx Recording

  1. Follow the instructions to download and convert your WebEx recording to MP4 format
  2. Edit your video in WeVideo.com or another video editing program. Learn more about WeVideo.
  3. Share it on YouTube
Questions and comments are always welcome!

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 14: Getting Fancy with WeVideo.com

(recorded March 28, 2017)
Tom, Amy, Karen, and Alison chat about how to get fancy with your video using WeVideo.com. Karen answers listener questions about Google Drive, and we share a good tip for when you're having a mousing emergency. 
Be sure to subscribe and let us know your feedback!

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Someone recently asked me how they can edit Microsoft documents that are stored in Google Drive, without having to download them first. Google Drive is great for storing and sharing many different types of files - Google documents, Microsoft documents, images, video, etc. Storing and sharing are one thing, but when it comes to editing Microsoft documents that are stored in Drive, it can get tricky.

One option is to convert your Microsoft documents to Google. Problem solved, right? Not really. Sometimes you need to keep documents in their native Microsoft format. Well, if you are using the download > edit > upload method, there is an easier way. In fact, there’s more than one way to edit them directly from Drive!

Edit with Microsoft Office

Install the Google Drive App and Google Drive will appear as a storage location in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. When you open a file in your Microsoft application, navigate to your Google Drive and open your document (click Open, Browse and select Google Drive).

With the Drive App installed, Save documents directly to your Google Drive by navigating to your Google Drive when you save your document.

Also, when you open Windows Explorer on your computer, you can access your Google Drive files without having to open your browser. This makes it really easy to transfer files between your computer and Google Drive.

For basic edits, just use Chrome

With a free Chrome extension, Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can open Word, Excel and PowerPoint right within your Google Drive.

Install the Chrome extension
  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Go to Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides
  3. Click Add to Chrome. The Extension installs on your Chrome toolbar.

Using the Chrome extension
  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Navigate to a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document
  3. Double-click on the document
You will notice the editor does not have all the features of editing in Word, Excel or PowerPoint but it allows you to make basic changes to the document without having to download it first. The Chrome extension will appear in the address bar. As you edit, google will continue to automatically save your changes to your original (docx, xlsx, pptx) document.

Mobile Apps for Editing Microsoft Documents

I use my phone to access and edit my Google documents all the time. I can edit Microsoft documents on my phone too, using the following mobile apps (Android or IOS):
  • Google Drive to manage your folders and documents
  • Google Docs to edit Word documents
  • Google Sheets to edit Excel documents
  • Google Slides to edit PowerPoint documents
With the Google Drive App and the Google Chrome extension, it makes it much easier to store, share and edit all of your documents in Google Drive. Please leave your questions or comments below!

banner: an introduction to wevideo

You might remember that we were trying WeVideo.com out when I made the 1:Button Studio Tour blog post. With our beloved Windows Movie Maker getting further and further out of date, we decided to invest in 100 Pro licenses for UMN Extension.

In this post, I'll share with you the basics of WeVideo and how UMN Extension personnel can get a license.

And if you're external, you can use the free version so might find this useful as well!

WeVideo: Primary Strength

One of the main advantages of WeVideo over other video editing software is that it allows for collaboration. This is something we struggle with in teams with video editing. Sharing the raw footage can be difficult, not to mention sharing the in-progress video editing files!
Since WeVideo is all online, it's like the Google Drive of video editing. 
You pick who to share it with and what they can do to your stuff. ISN'T THAT EXCITING? Squee.

If you're both working on the same "edit," WeVideo will lock the file while someone is actively working. So, although you can't simultaneously edit, you can at least still work on the same editing project.

WeVideo: Basic Editing

On top of collaboration features, WeVideo is a totally passable video editor. It does pretty much everything Movie Maker could do, plus a little bit more. I put together the video above demonstrating what I think are the most useful video editing features:
  • Green screen 
  • Webcam recordings
  • Screen recordings
  • Lower thirds
  • PowerPoint narration
  • "Cutaway" shots
WeVideo easily allows multiple video and audio tracks--so doing the coveted "cut-away" shot--where the audio continues but the visuals cut over to some photos or B-roll--is a very straightforward task!

Here's a screenshot so you can get the idea:

If you set up your YouTube account in WeVideo, it is just a one button publish to your YouTube channel! You can also download the file, or "publish" to Google Drive.

Get a License

If you think WeVideo would be useful in your video work, I encourage you to fill out our WeVideo license request form. Limited to UMN Extension personnel only for licensing reasons. Thank you!

So what do you think? Would you like me to demonstrate some "How-Tos" in a future blog post? What have you discovered about WeVideo?

banner graphic, totes optional: Podcast episode 13. Trello for Project Management

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 13: Trello for Project Management

(recorded February 22, 2017)
Tom, Amy, Karen, Terri, and Alison discuss this week's blog post on using Trello for project management. Terri was ambushed when "record podcast" just showed up on her calendar and she is a natural! We also share a couple great tools in the Tech Tips segment, including Flip Grid and Piktochart.
Be sure to subscribe and let us know your feedback!

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Have you ever worked collaboratively with a team and struggled to keep track of tasks? I suggest you try Trello. According to their site - "Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process." I find it useful because it keeps everyone in the loop during the whole process – even if you’re in different offices, working at completely different times. Here’s a deeper look into Trello’s features.


Trello consists of project Boards that can feature cards organized by different lists. When you open a Board you’ll see a blank canvas.

One of the things I like best about Trello is its simple User Interface and User Experience. Trello does not bombard you with too many options and all you have to do is click around to create lists and cards.

Each board has an unlimited number of lists. In each list, you can create cards. Finally, in each card, you have the ability to add details, which includes:
  1. Description – Explains what the card is about; can be as long or short as you need
  2. Members – Add specific people to the card and they will be alerted of any changes
  3. Labels – Can be customized per project
  4. Checklist – Allows you to add to-do items and check them off
  5. Due dates – Enforces a date to finish the steps on the card
  6. Attachments – Can add attachments, such as screenshots or documents, to the card for better explanations
  7. Comments – Members can communicate through comments
  8. Activity – Documents all the activity that happens within the card, keeping everyone on the same page


There are five action buttons on each card.
  1. Move – allows you to move the card to a different board, different list, or a different position on the list
  2. Copy – allows you to copy the entire card, or specific pieces of the card to create a new card
  3. Subscribe – allows you to get updates on the card changes
  4. Archive – once everything on the card is completed, you can archive it
  5. Share – You can share a link to the card, print it, or email it to someone

User Interface

Like I mentioned earlier, the user experience is one of my favorite features of Trello. Most of the actions require only your mouse or the Enter key on the keyboard. When creating new lists or cards, start typing in one, hit Enter when done, and you can start a new one. You’re able to click and drag the cards from list to list. You can do the same when reordering checklist items. Opening and closing cards requires a quick click on or off the selected item.

If you want to quickly edit a card, hover over it until the pen icon appears, click on it.

The background greys out allowing you to make and save a couple quick changes. You can’t do everything here, but it’s a helpful addition.

Describing Trello’s UI is not nearly as fun as actually trying it, so I would encourage you to check it out on your own!

Board Menu and Notifications

Back out at the board view, you’ll find a menu on the right side. This is where you can:
  1. Add members – include people you want to collaborate with
  2. Change Background - Change the color of the board background, which is only for your view
  3. Filter cards – you have several options for filtering. The one I find most helpful is filtering the cards assigned to me
  4. Power-Ups – Gives you options to integrate other apps with Trello
  5. Stickers – Are similar to emojis – fun, but without much added benefit for team collaboration
  6. More – Options for settings, labels, see archived items, sharing, and closing the board
  7. Activity – shows all the activity that happened on the board from every member

Different Boards

Finally, on the left side of the screen is a button that says “Boards.” This is where you can flip between different project and personal boards, create new boards, and see old ones.

I’ve been using Trello for a couple years now and love it. If you’re looking for a better way to collaborate with a team give Trello a try.