Agriculture Communication


Learn About

NDSU’s degree programs in Agricultural Communication


Ask an Expert

Let's Communicate RSS Feeds

RSS Feed IconComplete Feed

RSS Feed IconWrite the Right Word Feed

Agriculture Communication

| Share

Audio Help for Skype Calls

Able to get into a Skype meeting but can't hear any sound? This has happened to more than a few people who I've been on Skype calls with. All you have to do is see what audio device is set up with your call. This video that shows you how to switch between speakers when you're in a Skype call and this one shows you how to set up new audio and video on Skype. Feel free to Skype me anytime (as long as my status is green or "go") to test your Skype audio.

Sonja Skype status

, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-6403

| Share

Ag Comm Webinar: Online Surveys

Online forms are a great way to gather registration information, participant feedback and more. In this Ag Comm webinar shows you how to create online forms using Excel Surveys and Microsoft Forms in Microsoft Office 365. We also talk about Google Forms and Qualtrics, and share some ideas for using online forms in your work.

The notes from the webinar are available in a Google Doc that you can edit. Please feel free to add your own tips and insights to the notes.

| Share

Upcoming IT Survey

Over the next couple of months, Ag Comm Computer Services will be working to contact each of our county offices to conduct a survey on how they use IT, what their current equipment status is and who their primary support people are.  We are looking to update our information in order to better understand each office's support needs.

This survey will include a questionnaire and a small piece of software to be run on each computer that will provide us with a list of technical details of each machine.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact or .

, Ag Comm Computer Services

| Share

Managing Collaboration in Google Docs and Word Online

Google Docs and Microsoft Word Online are both great tools for collaborating on a document, but it can be unnerving to have multiple people editing a document, sometimes simultaneously. What happens if someone messes up a deletes something important? Can I revert to an earlier version?

If you are using Word Online for collaboration, you should start be creating the document in Microsoft Word on your desktop, not online in Office 365. This allows you to turn on "Track Changes." When you open that document in Word Online, you won't see the tracked changes, but you will see them when you open it in Word on your desktop.

Another option for managing collaboration in Word Online is the use of comments. New comments can be added under the "Review" tab in Word Online. Suggesting changes to a document in a comment rather than changing the text directly, allows your collaborators to discuss the changes before accepting them.

If you're collaborating on a document in real-time, and the changes become overwhelming, turn on "Show Edit Activity" under the "Review" tab in Word Online. That will show who is making which changes to a document. This only works while you have the document open. Once you close the document and re-enter, you will not see any of the editing activity that took place before you closed it.

Google Docs makes managing collaboration a little bit easier than Word Online. "Suggesting" mode in Google Docs allows you to edit the text of a document, but only as a suggestion. If you are editing something created by someone else, it will email that person to let them know about the change.

Google Docs Suggestion

To turn on "Suggesting" mode in Google Docs, click the "Editing" button near the top-right of the document your are editing and choose "Suggesting."

Google Docs also gives you access to the full revision history of a document. By clicking "File," then "See revision history," you can see all the changes made to a document since its creation along with who made the changes. You can also revert back to any of those previous revisions.

Collaborating on a single document (without emailing it back and forth), sometimes in real-time, can be scary. I hope these features help put your mind at ease and get you started collaborating online.

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

| Share

Write the Right Word: Acknowledgments

You’ve no doubt seen or heard the following: “I’d like to thank So-and-So for his help with this project.”

By including the “I’d like to,” you are saying just that: You want or intend to thank this person. But you’re not actually doing it.

Simply say: “Thank you to So-and-So for his help with this project.” Or this: “Thanks to So-and-So for his help with this project.”

This direct approach eliminates unnecessary words and accomplishes your goal.

By the way, “acknowledgment” does not have an “e” between the “g” and “m” unless you’re writing for British or Australian audiences.

Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

| Share

Tech Terms Defined

purple question mark





Here's some terms I've explained recently when working with staff.


Google is more than just a search engine. It owns a huge suite of tools. Probably the most commonly known are:

  • Gmail (“Google-mail = Gmail”)
  • YouTube. Did you know Google owns YouTube? Google search is the world’s most used search engine, and YouTube is in the second spot
  • Google Apps - short for Google Applications. This is a package of tools for businesses or school that includes a whole suite of Google documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more.
  • Google Drive is a place to store all your photos, documents, spreadsheets and other files in the cloud
  • Chrome browser

The Cloud

Information is accessed over the internet vs. on a device.

Operating System

Type of program that runs your device

The top 3 are:

  • iOS- Apple products such as iPhone, iPad, iPod. Mac OS is short for Apple Macintosh computers
  • Windows - Microsoft software, phones and tablets
  • Android - Google operating system on phones and tablets

Microsoft Products (for NDSU Employees)

  • Office- includes Outlook Calendar and usually Word (word processing), Xcel (spreadsheets) and PowerPoint (presentations).
  • Office 365 - cloud-based Office. Access anywhere, not just at your work computer.

Clear your cache (pronounced "cash")

People will call me if they have problems with Ag CMS, like when they make a change but it’s not updating. I often tell them to clear their cache or refresh their browser to see what the updated page looks like. Here’s a good explanation of what clearing the cache is and how to do it.


Program that helps you navigate the web

Top used browsers:

  • Chrome (Google)
  • Internet Explorer (Microsoft)
  • Firefox (Mozilla)
  • Safari (Apple)


App - short for "application". Piece of software downloaded to a tablet or mobile device. Some are free. Android users get apps through the Google Play Store and iOS users go to the ITunes App Store. Windows device users can get apps at the Microsoft App Store.

CMS - short for Content Management System, like our Ag CMS. A CMS is software that allows you create and manage digital content like a website, without knowing all the coding that goes on behind the scenes.

If Bob or I ever use a tech term you're not familiar with, please don't hesitate to ask us to clarify.

, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-6403

| Share

Change YouTube Thumbnail

You’ve worked hard on doing a video and uploading it to YouTube. But sometimes the “thumbnail” or screenshot YouTube uses as the cover might not be the best. For instance, maybe you were caught in mid-sentence with your mouth open. Or maybe you were caught between blinks so it looks like your eyes are shut. Good news is, there are two ways to alter the thumbnail that YouTube chooses for your video.

In the example below, the “play” button is right over Distribution Center Manager Sharon Lane’s face and Ag Communication Director Becky Koch is caught “talking with her arms”.


Pubs before.PNG

I used the second method in the link above and was able to change the thumbnail to this, which shows that not only is there the talking component on the webinar, but actual screen sharing too.  

Pubs after.PNG

If you need help altering a YouTube thumbnail, let me know.


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

| Share

New Video Equipment and Video Tips

Getting a look at some new video equipment for your smartphone or camcorder and tips on how to use them was the topic of the monthly Agriculture Communication webinar on May 18, 2016. 

This new video equipment is available for free checkout in the Ag Communication office. Smartphone microphones and tripod adapters can help bring your smartphone videos to the next level. There also are two wireless microphones for camcorder use. No more microphone wires to restrict your movement in the field.


, Electronic Media Specialist, 701-231-7086

| Share

Ag Comm Webinar: Photo Composition and Copyright

What kinds of photos help tell the NDSU Agriculture and Extension story in websites, publications, social media posts, brochures and other avenues? Without being a professional photographer, all staff can follow the tips in this webinar to learn how to compose photos that tell the NDSU story. This Aug. 17, 2016, webinar also includes information on copyright and how to share your photos with Ag Comm for the public photo gallery.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, 701-231-7875; Elizabeth Cronin, Administrative Assistant, 701-231-7881

| Share

Phishing Emails Designed to Hijack your Email Account

Have you received an email that said your account has exceeded the set quotas and that you must click on the link to request more space? If you do this, your account information is recorded.

If you fall for this phishing scam, your emails start being forwarded to another email address. The captured credentials are used to hijack your email account to send spam emails that benefit the hijacker. The hijacker keeps your account open to prevent you from being able to use your account normally.

If Microsoft observes spam being sent via an email address, they will block that account from sending any emails at all.

Email ForwardingThe cure? Go to the Webmail link on the NDSU home page under Online Services and login. Go to the settings gear icon in the upper right, type "forward" in the search box and hit return. Left click on Forwarding. If your account has been hijacked, you'll see the hijacked address.

If your email is being forwarded to another address, you must stop the forwarding and  immediately change your email password. This stops the forwarding process and eventually prompts the hijacker to log back into the account. Since the hijacker doesn’t know the new password, your account can no longer be used.

After stopping forwarding and changing your password, you should be able to use your email account normally again. However, if sending and receiving is not working, Microsoft may have blocked your account. Call the NDSU Help Desk so the account can be checked.

NDSU will never send an email asking you to provide information about your email account. The phishing emails contain a link. If you mouse over that link, do not click on it. A small box will appear showing the address that is not NDSU related.

If you question an email you received, call the Help Desk or contact someone in your support group (ITS or Ag Comm Computer Services) before taking any action.

Blair Johnson, Desktop Support Specialist; NDSU Help Desk, 701-231-8685 Option 1


Document Actions

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.