Date of this Version
eXtension (pronounced e-extension) is an online resource transforming how faculty can collaborate and deliver equine education. As the first Community of Practice launched from eXtension, HorseQuest (HQ) offers free, interactive, peer-reviewed, online resources on a variety of equine-related topics at http://www.extension.org. This group has adapted traditional educational content to the online environment to maximize search engine optimization, to be more discoverable and relevant in the online world. This means that HQ resources are consistently being found on the first page of search results. Also, by researching key words searched by Internet users, HQ has guided new content direction and determined potential webcast topics based on relevance and frequency of those searches. In addition to establishing good search engine optimization, HQ has been utilizing the viral networking aspect of YouTube by uploading clips of existing equine educational videos to YouTube. HorseQuest content appears in mainstream media, is passed on by the user, and helps HQ effectively reach their community of interest (horse enthusiasts). HorseQuest partners with My Horse University to produce webcasts that combine concise knowledge exchange via a scripted presentation with viewer chat and incoming questions. HorseQuest has produced and published content including 12 learning modules, 8 webchats, 21 webcasts, and 572 videos segments. After the official public launch, there was a steady increase in average number of visits/mo and average page views/mo over the 26-mo period. These regressions show a statistically significant increase in visits (P < 0.001) of approximately 450 visits per month and a significant increase in page views (P = 0.004) of about 373 page views per month. HorseQuest is a resource for several state 4-H advancement and competition programs and will continue to be incorporated into traditional extension programs, while reaching and affecting global audiences.