Professional Development


What We Do

The Organizational Development (OD) Team is responsible for face-to-face and online learning opportunities related to keystone events such as New Staff Orientation and Fall Conference, in addition to workshops and training posted on the MSU Extension Organizational Development homepage and online courses in Desire2Learn (D2L). Unless another organizational development team member is coordinating or leading a training, Anne Baker, Learning and Talent Development Specialist, is the point of contact for professional development. 

Most of the training coming from the OD team focuses on topics that cut across multiple disciplines.  More content-based ("technical") training often comes from work teams and institutes. 

Online Training Sources


New Staff Orientation 

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

All new employees are enrolled in this course automatically, and are expected to take it in the first few months of employment. You should already have this course in D2L. Contact Anne Baker if you do not to be added.

Essential Employee Training

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

All new employees are enrolled in this course automatically, and are expected to take it in the first 3-4 months of employment. Continuing employees will also find many of the topics useful and are encouraged to complete appropriate modules as well.

Topics: Budgets, Civil Rights, MS Outlook & Productivity, P-Cards, Travel (Concur), Zoom, Brand Standards & Marketing, Meeting Efficiency, Philanthropy & Development. Contact Anne Baker if you do not to be added.

VEND Cash Register System

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

This course is required for anyone who will be using the cash register and VEND system. You can self-enroll here then enter through Desire2Learn.

Evaluation Expedition

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

Employees involved in program evaluation or who want to better understand how programs are evaluated should take this course. Register to take the course.

Teaching and Learning

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

This is a growing collection of modules for those who develop or deliver educational content. You can self-enroll here then enter through Desire2Learn.

MSU Extension: Leading & Managing

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

This course, which is still under pilot, is recommended for anyone in a supervisory role. You can self-enroll here then enter through Desire2Learn.

Designing Online Extension Programs

Self-paced course series in Desire to Learn (D2L)

Have you thought about developing an online or blended course for your program? Register for this self-paced, 4-session online training to get started on the right path! Sessions include the topics below.

  • 101: Design & Organization
  • 201: Instructional Content
  • 301: Activities & Assessment
  • 401: Implementation Strategies

Best Practices for Designing & Delivering Zoom Meetings & Webinars

Self-paced Course in Desire 2 Learn (D2L)

Online Course for Staff - Best Practices for Designing & Delivering Zoom Meetings & Webinars: Zoom meetings, Zoom webinars, and best practices for developing engaging virtual learning environments for your participants: REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

Zoom! And Best Teaching Practices

Short video and companion PDF

Condensed overview of how various Zoom! features can be use used for teaching online and aligning to pedagogical principles. 

Zoom & MediaSpace Resources

Online Resources

For general information on Zoom and  MediaSpace (hosting platform for Zoom recordings) including templates, resources, guidance and more visit: Zoom and MediaSpace Resources.

Training is available Monday through Friday via Zoom from 11am to Noon through Friday, April 2nd, 2020:

For assistance with using Zoom for your programming email or contact Gwyn Shelle at

D2L (Desire2Learn) Resources

Online Resources

For information on getting started with D2L, the platform used for MSU Extension courses, visit: D2L Resources.

MSU Extension Online Delivery Tools

Online Resources

For an overview of tools available for MSU Extension online delivery visit: Online Delivery Tools.

Grants Development 101

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

This course, which is still under pilot, is recommended for anyone who currently applies for grants or anticipates doing so in the future. You may self-enroll here and then enter through Desire2Learn.

elevateU- various topics

Self-paced courses that are accessed through elevateU, in EBS.

Log into ebs to access it under "My Career and Training." You have access to thousands of searchable videos and courses. Our favorites are kept in The Library under Unit Specific Programs > MSU ExtensionLearn more about elevateU.

What Every Extension Worker Should Know

PDF of book.

Resource for acquainting new faculty and staff to the basics of Extension.

.CMS Training

Online resources

If you will be updating MSU Extension webpages, you need to learn this is our content management. The basics are available on the MSU Extension .cms training page.

PEARS Training

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

Comprehensive online course on using PEARS. If you have access to PEARS, you should also have access to this course. Contact Norma Lundeen if you do not. More information on PEARS training and support.

Spartan 365

online videos and references / TEAMS group

MSU IT's "Dive into 365" website has many resources for you to become more fluent in Microsoft 365-- which is referred to at MSU as Spartan 365. 

For more advanced training and support, search for and join the open "Spartan 365 Power Hour" group in TEAMS. They meet weekly online to train on 365 and record and post those trainings.

Social Media (Facebook) training

Online recordings

CANR has a website with the recordings on past social media Zoom trainings.

MSU Extension: Becoming a Better Writer (Pilot)

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

The goal of this course is to provide you with the information, tools, and strategies needed to be able to monitor your own practice of writing. Please self-enroll here.

MSU Extension: Preparing to Submit Your Educational Project to an Editor

Self-paced course in Desire to Learn.

The course will guide those who develop or will be developing educational materials which will be edited by MSU Extension editors. Please self-enroll here

Massive Open Online Courses

Self-paced online courses on many topics.

edX -
Coursera -

Note: Many courses are free to audit in both, but not all. However, through 2020, Coursera has offered MSU free access to all of their courses. Contact Anne Baker at for more info.

 Finding more training

PEARS and the OD Events calendar are both regularly updated with training information.  PEARS includes all events in the OD News / OD website as well many other. We recommend all Extension employees get access to PEARS for this reason. In Pears, select Plan > Professional Development > Events Catalog.


The Professional Development Event Catalog


Financial Support for Training

There are two endowed funds that are available to Extension staff for pursuits of professional development and advanced degrees: The Endowed Fund Award and the K.J. Moilanen Memorial Scholarship Fund

Other funding is available but varies by employee position type. Please also see funding sources on the MSU Extension Human Resources Professional Development pages.


Anne Baker

Anne Baker

Learning and Talent Development Specialist
MSU Extension