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The Learning Center

General Overview

Module 1: The Internet and the Manager – This module covers the growth of the Internet, focusing on farm usage of computers and the Internet. It also provides an introduction and short biographies of the five farm business owners who share their experiences in using the Internet to manage their businesses. Learners are introduced to common and useful terminology and get a brief tutorial on performing searches on the Internet.

Module 2: The Internet as a Communications Tool – This module highlights different Internet tools that facilitate communications. Reasons for business communications and their importance to management are addressed. These reasons include sales and marketing, customer service, public relations, professional networking, and internal management of the business. There is also a review of Internet-based options available to farm business managers for communicating. These include Web sites, blogs, email, list managers, multimedia, discussion groups, and chats/instant messaging.

Module 3: Business Planning and Market Research on the Internet – This module provides a brief overview of the business planning process. This includes sections on developing the business's mission statement, performing situation analysis by analyzing the business and the external environment, defining the goals and objectives, and then establishing strategies to reach those goals and objectives. This discussion is followed with ideas on how managers may use the Internet to accomplish these tasks.

Module 4: e-Commerce – This module provides ideas and instructions on how to buy and sell over the Internet. Learners will review how to use their Web site, or other Web sites, to market and sell their products. This includes discussions of online shopping carts, security, and other key issues. Additionally, learners will review how to find and purchase materials over the Internet.

Module 5: Developing & Maintaining Your Own Web site – The fifth module moves from the management issues discussed in Modules 3 and 4 to the more technical issues of developing and maintaining a Web site. Web site development is discussed first, starting with obtaining a Web site domain name then covering the topics of choosing content, designing the site, and choosing a hosting service. As part of the site design section, information on designing a Web site yourself versus hiring someone to design it for you is provided. Throughout the module, the learner will find links to services that may assist with Web site development, tips for choosing service providers, and tips for designing a high-quality Web site. The module also addresses maintenance of a Web site after it has been developed and includes information on monitoring the performance of a Web site and keeping Web site content up to date.

Module 6: Promoting Your Web site – This module addresses many methods that can be employed to promote a farm business's Web site. Promotion techniques include getting registered with and listed by search engines, using banner advertisements, generating media exposure, getting involved with professional organizations, getting listed on other peoples' Web sites, and using product and existing marketing materials as Web site promotion tools.

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