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NDSU Cloud Storage Provides Opportunities to Work Remotely and Share Data

Cloud-based storage -- the ability to store and share data online -- is a very useful tool to those who find themselves working from a remote location or collaboratively. NDSU now has two cloud storage options: Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive Pro. These two options are very similar and provide a reasonable amount of storage space: 30GB for Google Drive and 25GB for SkyDrive Pro.

Google Drive is just one in a set of tools created by Google for online use. This 30GB of space can act as a storage area accessible from both work and home, and as a space to share documents with others. Google Drive can be accessed by either a Web browser or a client installed on your computer/portable device. To access from the Web, visit the Google home page, click on the "sign in" button in the upper right corner and log in with your NDSU credentials. If you have not yet set up your NDSU account with Google, follow the NDSU instructions.

Learn more about Google Drive. If you've used Google Docs or other Google services with a gmail account, you'll be asked to choose your @ndsu.edu or @gmail.com account at login.

Microsoft SkyDrive Pro offers 25GB of space that also can be used for both online storage and file sharing. It can be accessed from a tab in your Office 365 Webmail, through a downloadable app on your computer/portable device or through features integrated into Microsoft Office 2013. As with Google Drive, files can be shared with and edited by others. Due to its utilization of SharePoint, the SkyDrive Pro integration inside MS Office may appear somewhat confusing.  When saving a document in Office 2013, SkydriveSkyDrive Pro will appear as a SharePoint icon titled "North Dakota University System."

For additional information, visit the MS Office SkyDrive Pro site or the information on how to start using your team site, SkyDrive Pro, and Newsfeed to share documents and ideas.

While both options are similar in operation and offerings, how you currently use online tools will be the best barometer as to which one will fit your needs. If you primarily collaborate with others using Google Docs or other Google tools, Google Drive may be your best choice due to its familiarity and integration with other Google products. If you are more accustomed to using SharePoint and/or Microsoft Office to work with others or are not using any Google tools, SkyDrive Pro may be the better bet. With direct access to it from Office 2013 and the online NDSU email portal, SkyDrive Pro is easy to access and one less password to remember.

However, the real benefit is that you don’t’ have to choose; you can have both. Even if you only use one for collaboration, the other can be used for storage. With a combined total of 55GB of storage space, you can easily do your work and also keep backup copies of your most important files.

Learn more about Collaboration and Storage options and how to choose one.

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

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Write the Right Word: Incidents vs. Incidence

“Incidents” and “incidence” are not interchangeable, even though they sound alike.

“Incidents” are events or occurrences. For example: “Researchers have found no evidence that the two incidents of foodborne illness are related.”

“Incidence” refers to the range or rate of occurrence of something, especially something unwanted. For example: “The high incidence of heart disease in men 40 and older is alarming.”

“Incidence” also can refer to an affecting occurrence. For example: “The incidence of stem rust in wheat in 2013 prompted Extension specialists to warn producers.”

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

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Write Good Survey Questions to Get the Most Meaningful Responses

Many of us have attempted to complete a survey that was confusing or too long, and in general, just a pain to finish. If you want to get good data or feedback, it’s important to understand the user experience and not make it a painful process.

When helping with the evaluation forms for the 2013 Fall Conference, I noted there were more than 60 breakouts/activities to evaluate. Even if you didn’t attend a particular one, it was necessary to at least choose “did not attend”.  Using the “drop down” menu was very painful because first you had to click on the arrow to get to the options, and then the second step was to click on your choice. When there were more than 60 activities to rate, this became very cumbersome.

 drop down

 

 

 

I suggested using “radio buttons” (circles) instead which involves one click, making it easy for the user. The committee felt it was a good move.

radio button

 

Recently I was invited to complete a form, where the organization asked which date I was interested in volunteering. They used the “open text” box format, so I could type in anything I wanted.

text field

 

I typed in "Oct. 10". But there are many ways to type in that particular date:

  • 10/10
  • 10-10
  • Oct 10
  • Oct. 10
  • October 10
  • 10/10/13
  • 10-10-13
  • Oct 10 2013
  • Oct. 10, 2013
  • October 10, 2013
  • Otcober 10
  • and so on

Information including the date available to volunteer will be nicely captured in spreadsheet. But since everyone has their own way of entering a date, the person analyzing the data is going to have a headache in trying to make sense of it. Some start with words. Some start with numbers. There's no easy way to sort the date. In the bullets above, there are 11 ways to say "October 11" and it could get really messy without a consistent format to answer in. Instead of using a text box, I would have used a drop down in this case with a month and a date. Then it would be easy to sort the data by standard replies.

Here are some of the more commonly-used question types for forms. Some offer close- ended responses while others offer open-ended responses.  

Closed-Ended Responses

1. Radio Buttons

  • Use only when one option can be chosen
  • Works well for “Yes” or “No” questions
  • Example: Will you be able to attend? Yes or No

 2. Checkboxes

  • Use when more than one option can be chosen
  • Works well when for “choose all that apply” questions
  • Example: Which electronics do you own:
    X Toaster
    X TV
    X Game console
    Mobile phone

3. Scales

  • Use when you want to give a range of at least 3 measurements
  • Works well to provide a range of responses
  • Example: How useful was this presentation?
    1= very useful
    2= somewhat useful
    3=not so useful
    4= not useful at all

Open-Ended Responses

Text Boxes

  • Use when you want the respondent to have freedom to add information in their own words.
  • Works well when you’re not able to anticipate responses or there are too many to choose from.
  • Meant for short responses.
  • Example: What band would you like to see play next year?

Paragraph Boxes

  • Same as Text Boxes, but you’re allowed longer responses.
  • Example: having a comments section under any previous question so that a person can elaborate or comment on the option they chose.


Further Reading on Survey Design

Basics of Survey and Question Design (from HowTo.gov)
How to Choose Survey Questions (from eXtension)
Examples of “bad” survey questions

If you need help designing your survey, please contact me or Bob Bertsch (701) 237381

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

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Always Link to Public URLs in Ag CMS

When you are sharing a link to an item in your Ag CMS site, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the web address (URL) of the item as you see it when logged into Ag CMS and the URL of the item as the public sees it. The two URLs can be similar but the place each of them leads is very different.

Whenever you share a link to an item on your Ag CMS site, whether you are posting a link to Facebook, sending it by email, printing it in a newsletter or creating an external link to it on your site, your should always use the public URL, not the URL you see as a logged-in Ag CMS user.

If the URL starts with "https://" and/or has "misc-sites," "rec-sites," "county-sites" or "academic-sites" in it, it is a URL intended only for Ag CMS users, not the public. In most cases, if you share that URL with someone they will be redirected to the Ag CMS login page when they click it.

Ag CMS URLs intended for the public start with "http://" and should never contain "misc-sites," "rec-sites," "county-sites" or "academic-sites." For example, when I am logged in to Ag CMS and view the NDSU Extension website, I see it at this URL, https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/misc-sites/extension. If you click that link, you will probably be prompted for an Ag CMS username and password. When you view the NDSU Extension website, you are seeing it at the URL, http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension. At that URL, anyone will be able to see published items in the site without logging in to Ag CMS.

Always use the public URL when sharing published Ag CMS items, even if you are sharing them with other Ag CMS users. It's the best way to be sure the people you are sharing with will be able to see what you want them to see.

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

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How to Change Your Password for Ag CMS

Once logged into Ag CMS, go to the gray tab in the upper right of your screen and choose "Preferences".

 Preferences

 

Click on the "Password" tab and enter your Current Password.

Type in your new password, and then type it in again to confirm it.

Password tab

Check out these tips from eXtension on how to create a strong password.

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

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Use Correct NDSU Logos

NDSU green 2 linesSure, we all want to support the NDSU Athletics teams, but the bison logo is to be used only by the Athletics department. According to University Relations' logo use guidelines, bison mascot logos are trademarked and are the property of Athletics. They are to be used only for materials related to Athletics or with permission from Athletics.

An NDSU logo should be prominent on all NDSU communication with the public. The "NDSU" logo is a graphic, not just the four letters typed, so be sure to use an official University, department, AES or Extension logo.

A clear space equal to the height of the “NDSU” lettering is required on all sides of departmental logos. No text, patterns or other graphics should appear within this space.

If you need help creating a logo that meets Facebook, Twitter or other requirements in addition to NDSU's, contact Ag Comm Graphic Designer Dave Haasser at (701) 231-8620.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Facebook Page Set Up

We've posted a lot about Facebook Pages like how to schedule posts or adding multiple photos.

If you need to know how to get started, or need help with branding or how to add Admins, check out my recent presentation:  Facebook Page Set Up .

While you're at it, go here to Like us on Facebook

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

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New Feature in Ag CMS: Upload Multiple Files

so many filesThis new feature will save you time if you need to upload multiple items to Ag CMS. All you need to do is add a portlet and upload your files. Find out how to use the Quick Upload portlet.

Photo courtesy of Business Insider

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

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Write the Right Word: There, Their, They’re

Even though “there,” “their” and “they’re” sound the same, they don't have the same meaning, and they cannot be used interchangeably.

  • There - indicates a place. For example: Are we there yet?
  • Their – a word to show something belongs to someone. For example: The cows in the small pen are their cattle.
  • They’re – a contraction for “they are.” For example: They’re going to start the wheat harvest tomorrow.

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

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Ag Google Custom Search Explained

The Google Custom Search box on Ag CMS and some other Ag websites searches only the Web servers that Ag Comm is aware of that host content for NDSU Agriculture and Extension. It is not a full Google function that searches the entire Web. The box is in the upper right on computers and tablets, and in the black footer on mobile devices

Here are the sites the Ag Google Custom Search now includes:

www.ag.ndsu.edu/
www.ndsu.edu/soils/
www.ndsu.edu/range/
www.ndsu.edu/nrm/

www.ndsu.edu/snrs/

www.ndsu.edu/entomology/
www.ndsu.edu/vetandmicro/
www.ndsu.edu/4h
www.ndsu.edu/aben
www.ext.nodak.edu/
www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/
http://ndawn.ndsu.nodak.edu/

If you’re aware of sites that should be added, let Roger Egeberg know.

Search is usually a quicker way to find information than navigation. Just be sure to use words that are as specific as possible. For example, searching for “mold” in our Google Custom Search will provide results on mold in homes, white mold on vegetables and mold in stored corn. But searching for “white mold soybeans” gets you right to that information.

Also, write Web documents so keywords are in headlines and subheads and at the beginning of paragraphs. Writing for the Web is much different than writing for print, so follow these guidelines.

Another useful Google Custom Search is https://search.extension.org/ that searches Extension websites from around the country.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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