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Have Your Elevator Speech Ready

We all have read, heard or seen legislative news stories coming out of Bismarck. With these news stories fresh in our minds, it is a good time to think about what you would say if you had a few seconds with a legislator.

Are you prepared to deliver a short message (30 seconds) about why the work you do is important to his or her constituents?

That short elevator speech is what you want people to hear and remember.

  • Introduce yourself – My name is [your name], and I work for [insert name] as a [job title].
  • Give him or her a few quick facts on how the organization has made a difference. I know, there may be 10, but you have only 30 seconds.
  • Ask a question back. Is there more I can share?
  •  Jot down what you want to emphasize and memorize it.
  • While delivering your message, do it with confidence.

Some examples:

Hi. I’m Rich Mattern, and I work for the NDSU Extension Service and Research Extension Centers across the state. I take research-based information and write about it so it can be passed along in various media to those who want it in quick and an easily understandable form.

I’m Jack Spah. Glad to meet you. I am a pulse crop breeder in the NDSU Plant Sciences Department. Pulse crops, such as lentils, play an important role in North Dakota agriculture because of their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil and the healthy benefits of eating pulse crops. My job is to develop new varieties that will grow well in North Dakota, which will improve the state’s economy.

Hi. I’m Brittney Olson, a food and nutrition specialist in Mercury County. I use my expertise to help individuals make unique, positive lifestyle changes so they live a longer, healthier life. The food and nutrition information is based on research by leading scientists.

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Write the Right Word: Numbers or Words

Trying to decide when to use figures or words can be confusing.

The general rule is to spell out numbers below 10 and use figures for 10 and above. However, like most rules, this one has several exceptions. Here are a few of the common instances when you would use figures for amounts below 10:

  • Measurements such as cups, gallons, teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces, pounds, tons, kilograms, milligrams, feet, yards, inches, miles or kilograms per gallon or hour, and temperatures
  • Money ($1, $1 million, 5 cents)
  • Ratios, scores, vote totals and ages for humans or animals
  • Percents/percentage
  • Chapter and page numbers
  • Clock time (1 a.m., 4 p.m.) except for noon and midnight

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Use Google Maps in Ag CMS

You can insert Google Maps into Ag CMS pages, events and news items, making it easy for people to find county offices and events. Check out this How-To on YouTube (3:02).

By the way, if you need to get screenshots or do quick recordings (less than 5 minutes long) like this, you can download Jing for free. It's easy to use. Download Jing 

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 241-6403

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If CRAAP Doesn't Work for You, Try SMELL

In my recent post, "Think Before Hitting 'Share'," I suggested using the CRAAP test (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose) to evaluate online content before sharing it.

Image courtesy Luke Gattuso, http://www.flickr.com/photos/dogwelder/John McManus offers another useful tool for testing online information in his post, "Don't Be Fooled: Use the SMELL Test To Separate Fact from Fiction Online." Here's the SMELL test.

S stands for Source. Who is providing the information? 
M is for Motivation. Why are they telling me this?
E represents Evidence. What evidence is provided for generalizations?
L is for Logic. Do the facts logically compel the conclusions?
L is for Left out. What's missing that might change our interpretation of the information?

Whether you use the CRAAP test, the SMELL test or both. Make sure you take the time to see if something stinks before sharing content online.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

Image courtesy Luke Gattuso

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Marketing: Photos are Important

Girl in greenhouse

Images have never mattered more to marketers, brands, social media managers and customers. How can you use images to create an emotional connection? One strategy is to give context to your images by showing people in their natural setting, such as in the field, home, cafe' or office compared with cold, static shots.This helps people envision themselves in the same setting and may inspire them to use our services or products.

Bruce Sundeen has some tips on taking high-quality photos, Please share your photos on the Ag Comm Flickr group.

As with all marketing strategies, keep in mind your long-term, big-picture goals. Using images and visual social media strategies should be just one part of a comprehensive, integrated marketing strategy. The key to marketing success on social channels and beyond is all about producing engaging content,and your visual strategy should be no different.

(Some information used with permission from PRWeb)

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Tegrity & CMA Replace Streamed Recording & ConferenceMe

All meetings and classes offered over the Interactive Video Network (IVN) now utilize Tegrity for recording. This recording is done at the host site rather than on the IVN servers. Tegrity requires some equipment modifications in the video rooms. It can record a live event and pre-record presentations. Tegrity requires a computer in the room, a free software download and audio adaptations. Minimal training is needed since the presenter needs to set up the record feature. For more information and recommendations for adapting, contact David Belgarde with NDUS Advanced Learning Technologies (ALT) at (701) 777-4232.

Also, Polycom’s Converged Management Application (CMA) has replaced ConferenceMe. CMA is desktop-based software that allows users to connect to classes or meetings from their computer if they do not have access to a videoconferencing room. A webcam, USB headphone with microphone, user account and brief training are required. To create an account or learn more, contact Daniel Erichsen at (701) 231-5136 or David Belgarde at (701) 777-4232. For technical difficulties during the event, call the ALT help desk at (701) 777-6486.

Linda McCaw, Ag Videoconference Scheduler, (701) 231-7881

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Upcoming Computer Support Changes May Affect You

NDSU will be retiring support for Windows XP at the end of June. Any computer, on or off campus, still running Windows XP will need to either be upgraded  to Windows 7 or replaced with a newer model to continue receiving technical support.

To find out if your computer can be upgraded, visit the Ag IT Advisory Group (AITAG) hardware baseline and compare your computer to the Windows 7 upgrade table. If your computer is the same model or newer than the computers listed, you can request an upgrade through your departmental software contact. If you have questions, contact the ITS help desk at (701) 231-8685, Option 1.

For those of you on campus, the switch from Novell to Active Directory (AD) is drawing near. In about one month, everyone with computers not migrated will not automatically connect to the shared drives. In the next couple weeks, many of you will receive email from the NDSU help desk discussing the migration of the U, S and X drives. These messages will provide details on the upcoming move and what you need to do (if anything) to prepare. Please be sure to read these messages!

Since computers running Windows XP are not being connected to the Active Directory, they will need to be connected to the new shared drives manually. More information can be found on the ITS File Services website under Connect to Windows File Services.

Jerry Ranum, Desktop Support Specialist; ITS Help Desk, (701) 231-8685

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Think Before Hitting "Share"

Almost every day I see at least one post on Facebook that makes me think, "Is that for real?" Images like the one below about U.S. soldiers being denied breakfast are great at getting people motivated to click the "Share" button, but are they true?

Soldiers Going Hungry LetterLike most inaccurate content, the letter in the photo below has a tiny grain of truth in it, but on the whole is untrue.

When you are active on social media, whether personally or professionally, it is important to be able to distinguish content that can be trusted from rumor. Often a quick search will tell you if there is evidence to support the content being shared.

Before you retweet or share something on social media, take a moment to assess the reliability of the info. One quick way to test information for reliability is to use the CRAAP test. CRAAP is an acronym that stands for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose. Ask questions like:

  • Is the information current?
  • Who is the author or publisher?
  • What are their qualifications?Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Can you verify the information from another source?
  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?

If you want to learn more, Steve Judd of the Network Literacy Community of Practice has a helpful blog post, "Is that so? - Assessing the reliability of online information".

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Hangouts On Air Pilot

Google+ (Google's social networking tool) Hangouts allow users to easily invite up to nine other users at a time into a high-quality video conferencing environment. I am a member of the Network Literacy Community of Practice (CoP), and we have used Google+ Hangouts along with Google Drive (formerly called Google Docs) to create content collaboratively in real time. It's a pretty great tool.

Google has taken Hangouts to another level by allowing them to be broadcast via YouTube. You can have a Hangout with up to 10 people who are able to share their video and voice, and share that Hangout with the world. These Hangouts are called Hangouts On Air, and I think they can be a great tool for education. They are broadcast live and remain archived on YouTube.

I have participated as a contributor in a couple of Hangouts On Air sponsored by eXtension and the Network Literacy CoP. Here's one I moderated on personal vs. professional online identity (youtu.be/bVIbvHzcV0M).

Ag Comm Web Services is looking for teams of collaborators who would like to pilot Google+ Hangouts On Air. If you have a team of six or more people who share an educational goal, and you can commit to the time and training required to produce six Hangouts On Air in 2013, we would love to work with you.

Sonja and I will provide training, assist with setting up required accounts, help with technical troubleshooting and do whatever we can to make your experience with this new tool a success.

If you have a team that is interested or you'd like to talk more about this project, please contact us.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381
Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Write the Right Word: In vs. Within

Despite common usage, “in” and “within” shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

“In” describes the location of a person, animal or thing. For example, you would say: “The stray cows were found in the corn field” or “Oak and elm trees are common in North Dakota forests,” NOT “The stray cows were found within the corn field” or “Oak and elm trees are common within North Dakota forests.”

“Within” implies a sense of limits on something. Thus, you would say: “You must complete this test within 30 minutes.” This indicates you can’t take more than 30 minutes to complete the test, but you can take less time.

“In” also can be used in a time sense, but it indicates a certain activity will take a specific amount of time. For example: “I can walk around the block in five minutes.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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