Virtual extension- an oxymoron?

Without a doubt the nature and spirit of extension work contains contradictory impulses. Over time there have been ebbs and flows, from models of technology transfer to a more civic and participatory strain. But one thing that has remained true has been the embodied nature of extension work. Agents, educators, call them what you will – there has been a physical presence representing “being in community”. What seems to be happening, or at least existent as a threat, is a contraction of the embodied nature of extension work. Technology is being applied in ways that remove the physical manifestation – welcome to extension, I am your agent avatar– and privilege the connected.

So, is virtual extension an oxymoron? Can extension work occur in the network only? In my humble, yet considered, opinion this is a thin sort of extension, if it even merits that designation. Which doesn’t even engage the argument of access. Is extension work becoming a botique venture?

“Extension work is not exhortation. Nor is it exploitation of the people, or advertising of an institution, or publicity work for securing students. It is a plain, earnest, and continuous effort to meet the needs of the people on their own farms and in the localities.” Liberty Hyde Bailey

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Virtual extension- an oxymoron? by ptreadwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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