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Extension Technology and
Computer Services


University of Missouri-Columbia   Extension Technology and Computer Services—ETCS

  April 2000
Vol. 17, No. 2

A Technology Newsletter for Extension Specialists



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IPM Teleconference Plus
by Bill McFarland

Dr. Barb Corwin, Extension Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology, and the IPM team, under the direction of the Plant Protection Programs Steering Committee, have initiated weekly communications between campus faculty and field staff. The IPM Teleconference Plus uses telephone conferencing and simultaneous viewing of JPG images and other documents stored on the Extension Network Share server. The time is used not only to diagnose problems, but also to place timely recommendations and reference materials in the hands of field staff.

Corwin says, "The IPM Teleconference Plus is a revival of the old teleconferences we had back in the early to mid-80's. At that time, we had to imagine and try to visualize the symptoms described by regional staff and we usually ended up requesting samples. And if we wanted them to receive written information, that meant waiting for delivery by US mail or in the `Friday pack'. The new teleconference takes advantage of the great linkage between campus and the regions that ETCS has accomplished."

Field staff and campus faculty connect via an 800 telephone number, then use the Internet Explorer (IE) web browser to view images and other files that have been posted to the current week's folder under the shared IpmTCPlus folder. Field and campus faculty are asked to place images in the folder prior to the weekly event. We found that JPG images, generally taken in the field with our digital cameras, are best viewed by opening them in a Web browser. IE, which works the fastest for our networks, also has other advantages over Netscape; PowerPoint presentations as well as Word documents will open directly.

The Plant Science Unit extension faculty meet in the ETCS Technical Library for the weekly Wednesday morning event. A Polycomm teleconference unit, supplied by IPM, is used to enhance voice quality, over that of a speaker phone. Campus faculty collectively view the files in question and respond during the telephone conference with questions, suggestions, and ideas. Field staff, who join the teleconference from their desk, are directed by voice to view the same images and files from their desktop computers. This is a tremendous opportunity for campus faculty to learn what is on the minds of our clientele around the state. Through voice and images, field staff can communicate existing environmental conditions, crop growth stage, disease problems, and frequently asked questions.

Dr. Bill Wiebold, chair of the Plant Protection Programs steering committee, said that the IPMTC Plus is not meant strictly for diagnosis. For example, Dr. Chris Starbuck, State Specialist for Woody Ornamentals, has posted documents outlining chemical controls for reducing fruiting of sweetgum and the harmonization plan for management of Japanese beetle in nursery stock. Dr. Laura Sweets, State Extension Field Crop Disease Specialist, has posted printable documents outlining the decision making process for applying fungicides to winter wheat, as well as the list of labeled fungicides.

The files and images for the IPM Teleconference Plus can be posted to the S drive, and viewed at The images and documents will be archived at the end of the season.

For more information, contact Barb Corwin at or 573-882-3019.



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