Agriculture Communication


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Agriculture Communication

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Intro to Email List of the Month

NDUS listservWelcome to a new regular feature in Let’s Communicate. Many of us use the Listserv system provided by the N.D. University System to create email lists. Agriculture and Extension have many organizational email lists. To keep those internally, a document with the email lists overseen by administration is in the Ag Info Center.

The settings for Listservs have been:

  • open so that anyone can send a message to the list
  • moderated where someone has to approve a message before it goes through to the recipients
  • closed where only those on the list can send to it.

However, recently some of the open lists have been edited so that only emails can send to the lists, which eliminated the spam.

Please use the appropriate email lists to target your messages to reach the faculty and staff you need to reach. Yes, it’s easy to just send to all-ag, but that is a super list that combines the allext, all-exp and all-coa lists – more than 1,100 people across the state in a wide variety of positions. Does your message truly apply to all of them? If not, please review the list of email lists to select the most appropriate one(s) for your message.

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

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Copyright and Trademark Violations are Real and Serious

trademark symbolI received an email in early August from a name I didn’t recognize with the intriguing subject line “Trademark Misuse.” The letter from an attorney’s office said I had uploaded to SlideShare a PowerPoint “which references several of our client’s trademarks.”

Yes, I had developed a program based on a training I’d taken from the company, but I’d mistakenly assumed that gave me the right to share the information. Wrong! And to make matters worse, someone I didn’t know had downloaded my PowerPoint deck and shared it in another online platform and another person edited my PPT and uploaded it to a website. I immediately took my PPT off SlideShare and tried to contact the two who had used the slide deck.

This is a good reminder that, even if it’s for educational purposes, we must follow copyright and trademark laws. Yes, classroom teaching of enrolled students has more leniency, but I’m not as familiar with those details. I thought my short program would have fallen under fair use guidelines since I just used small portions of the book, but the book’s phrases were trademarked. Lesson learned!

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

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Turn Off Responses in Google Forms

Perhaps you sent out a Google form for event registration and the event is now over. Or maybe you put a time limit to when you wanted people to fill out an evaluation. Or the Drought form is sent to agents for weekly reporting, they accidentally click on last week’s link vs. the most recent one so their responses are not seen. Those are examples of situations where the form has done its deed and you no longer need responses. Here’s a quick video (13 seconds!) that shows how to turn off responses in Google Forms from eXtension’s Instructional Technologist Molly Immendorf.

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

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Virtual Communication Camp

In 2016, NDSU Ag Communication staff created Virtual Communication Camp (VCC), an online course to help Extension professionals gain valuable communication skills, better understand communication and education in the digital age, and produce text, images and video that they can use in their educational programs.

Now we are working on transitioning VCC into a self-paced learning experience. We'd love you to take it for a test drive!

Please enroll in VCC, try it out and let us know what you think. Here's how:

  1. Go to the eXtension Campus login
  2. If you already have an eXtension Campus account, login. If not, click the “Create New Account” button and follow the directions for setting up your account,
  3. Once you are logged in to eXtension Campus, find the Virtual Communication Camp course. You’ll find it under the “Professional Performance” button or by searching for “Virtual Communication Camp”
    VCC Enrollment 1
  4. Once you find the course, you should see the self-enrollment option below the course description. Use the enrollment key “VCC2018” to enroll.
    VC Enroll Key

  5. Check out the “Pre-work” section of the course to get familiar with the layout .

If you have any trouble enrolling, please let me know. Thanks!

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

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Restore Previous Files on Cloud Drives

When working on files in Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, the files are automatically saved without you having to hit the save button. Recently, someone was working on a shared Excel online file and accidentally deleted some information and wondered if she could go back to the previous version. The answer is yes. Both Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive will let you view and restore the previous version of files by right clicking on the file and following these instructions:

Google Drive Manage Versions
Microsoft OneDrive Version History

For more information about working with cloud files, contact or me.

, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-6403

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Write the Right Word: Was or Were

Do you ever wonder whether you or someone else has used “was” or “were” correctly?

In their simplest form, both are in the past tense, meaning they should refer to something that already happened. Which one you use depends on whether you are talking about one or more than one person, animal or thing.

For instance: “She was 10 years old when the family moved to the farm.” “The animals were in the barn.”

The confusion starts when you use the subjunctive mood. It’s for situations that are hypothetical or contrary to fact, or you’re expressing doubts, wishes or regrets. The bottom line is you use “were” in all these cases.

For example: “I wish I were done with my chores. Then I could go to the movie.” The speaker obviously isn’t done with the chores.

Or this: “If your dad were home, he would help you with your project.” This indicates the dad is not home.

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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Google Forms - Quick Video Tutorials

Have you heard about Google Forms? They are really easy to use for you AND your clients. Whether you're taking registrations for the Horse Clinic or seed orders, or collecting drought information, Google Forms makes it easy to collect information and share it.

Check out the Google Forms Playlist with 5 videos, about 20 minutes total.

, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-6403

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Write the Right Word: More Sound-alikes

Whether to use “capital” and “capitol” can be confusing. They sound alike but aren’t interchangeable.

A capital is where a seat of government is located. For instance, Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota.

Capital also refers to money, and sometimes includes equipment or property belonging to a person or business. For example: “The producer had enough capital to buy more land.”

A capitol is the building that houses the U.S. or a state government. For example: “The North Dakota Capitol is 21 stories tall.”

Two other words that be confusing are canvas and canvass.

A canvas is a strong, heavy cloth used for items such as sails and tents, or as a covering. It’s also a surface on which artists paint. For instance: “He covered the pile of wood with a canvas tarp.”

A canvass is a survey or review. For example: “Election officials will meet Thursday to canvass the votes from Tuesday’s election.”

Canvass also can mean to solicit something. For instance: “Joe Smith will canvass his neighbors to see how they feel about the proposed street lighting project.”

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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Eduroam Connection Issues

Recently, some changes were made to the Eduroam wireless network that now requires Windows to prompt for your NDSU email address ( and your NDSU (not NDUS) password to connect.

Unfortunately, in some cases, people are not seeing the login prompt.  Generally, this is caused by Windows failing to clear out its previously stored credentials. When attempting to connect, Windows continues to try log into the wireless using your old credentials which no longer work.

To fix this, you will need to locate the network management screen within Windows and clear out the old credentials..  The instructions to get to this screen is different depending on which version of Windows you have.

Windows 7:

  • Click on Start > Control Panel.
  • In the Control Panel window, in the upper right-hand corner, locate the View by option.  Set it to small icons if it is not already set.
  • Now, in the list of icons, click on Network and Sharing Center
  • In the Network and Sharing Center screen, on the left, click on the link labeled Manage Wireless Networks
  • Locate the eduroam wireless network in the list that appears, right click on it and select Remove to delete it.

Windows 10:

  • Click on Start > Settings Gear icon Windows 10 Settings Icon on the left side of your start menu.
  • Click the Network & Internet Option
  • Click Wi-Fi on the left hand side
  • Near the top of the screen, click on Manage known networks
  • Locate the eduroam wireless network in the list, left click on it and click the Forget button that appears.

Once you have performed this task, try re-connect to eduroam again.  This time it should prompt you for a login and password.  If it does not, the issue may be more in-depth and require a technician visit.  For these situations please contact the  (231-8685) for additional assistance and to submit a ticket.

, IT Systems Specialist 

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3 Tips for Searching Our Websites

With thousands of pages in our domain, finding something through our custom Google Search can be difficult sometimes. Here are 3 search tips that might help.

  1. Use quotes to search for an exact phrase
    Putting quotation marks around your search phrase returns results that contain those exact words in that exact order.
    Here are the results of search on our sites for a news release titled "Net Farm Income Drops 30 Percent."
    Search results for net farm income drops without quotes
    The news release I was looking for came up first, but the results also include items that contain the word "dropped" instead of "drops" and items that have the words "net farm income" in that order, but not "net farm income drops."
    Here are the search results when I included quotation marks. All the results include the specific words I searched for in the specific order I wanted them in.
    Search results for net farm income drops with quotes

  2. Include and exclude keywords
    You can emphasize keywords in your search by putting + (a plus sign) in front of them and exclude other keywords by putting - (a minus sign) in front of them. Here's a search of our sites for the keyword "stress."
    Search results for stress without exclusions or emphasis
    3 of the top 5 results are related to farm and ranch stress, but what if I'm looking for items about other kinds of stress? In the search below, I emphasized stress, (+stress) and excluded farm (-farm) and ranch (-ranch), removing the farm and ranch stress items from my search results.
    Search results for stress with emphasis and exclusion

  3. Use "allintitle" to search for words in a title
    Sometimes we know or have a good idea of the title of the item we are searching for. In the example below, I was searching for a particular publication about feeding corn to beef cattle, so I searched for the keywords "corn," "beef"," and "cattle."
    Search results for corn beef cattle
    The publication I was looking for came up first, but I also got results about feeding wheat and utilizing corn residue. In the next example, I used the "allintitle:" command, so my results include only items that have all 3 of my keywords in the title.
    Search results for corn beef cattle using allintitle command
    Because I used "allintitle:" I only got 4 results back, all of which include all 3 of my keywords in the title.

These tips work in any Google search, not just the custom search on our domain, so try them out and let me know if they help you find what you are looking for.

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

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