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Using Skype for Business

The archive of the first Ag Comm Webinar Series webinar is below. It was presented on Jan. 20, 2016 and covers the use of Skype for Business for instant messaging, audio calls and video calls at North Dakota State University.

If you have questions about using Skype for Business, please feel free to contact me.

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

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Windows Mobility Center Simplifies Notebook & Tablet Settings

Windows Mobility CenterIf you use a Windows notebook or tablet (sorry, desktop users), Windows contains a little-known but useful menu known as the Windows Mobility Center. This menu provides the most commonly used notebook settings all in one place for quick changes.

Settings vary depending on your version of Windows but can include display, brightness, power and wireless.

The easiest way to get to Mobility Center is to use the Windows Key + X key combination. This will open a menu in the lower left corner of your monitor. Near the top of this menu, locate and click on Mobility Center.

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

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Marketing Minute: New Year’s Resolutions

Photos in Social MediaIt’s no secret that most people my age are glued to their phones a majority of the day, if not all day. It’s the first thing I reach for in the morning and the last thing I put down at night. My phone is my portal to family, friends, news, music and thousands of photos taken with my phone’s camera.

Recently, though, I’m starting to notice how much time I spend with my device and how exhausting it can be to always know what’s going on in other people’s lives.

My new year’s resolution includes putting my phone down more in my personal life and picking it up more in my professional life.

Why picking it up more in my professional life? Because studies show that including photos, videos, infographics or other media with text increases engagement. What better way to increase views and engagement with our NDSU educational material than to include a photo, even one taken on the fly with our phones?

Some of the reasons why photos are important include:

  • On social media platforms, articles with images get 94 percent more total views.
  • Including a photo or video in a news release increases views by more than 45 percent.
  • Consumers are 60 percent more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.

By thinking about the visual content of our educational materials, we can increase the likelihood that our audiences will notice it, read it and then connect to it.

The next time you write a news release or get ready to post on Facebook, take a minute to think about how we can show, not just tell, our audiences about our research and education.

, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Write the Right Word: Everyone, Anyone, Someone, No One

What do “everyone,” “anyone,” “someone” and “no one” have in common? They all require singular verbs even though they may appear to refer to more than one person.

A big clue is the “one.” That tells you they refer to one person. So you would say: “Everyone wants his or her day to go smoothly.” “Anyone who says this sweater is green is colorblind!” “Someone who enjoys swimming as much as you do should live near a lake.” “No one goes to that store anymore.”

Other words or phrases that may look as though they refer to more than one person or thing but take singular verbs include anybody, anything, everybody, everything, nobody, something, many a, either and more than one. For example: “Either is going to stay home tonight.” “Many a child has wished he or she had a horse.”

The word “none” usually fits into this category. It generally means no single one. In that sense, it takes singular verbs and pronouns. “None of these movies appeals to me.”

However, “none” requires a plural verb if you are referring to no two or no amount. “None of the engineers agree on how to fix the problem.” “None of the dues have been paid.”

, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Is Facebook Asking You if Your Page is Inaccurate or Out of Date?

Have you received an email from Facebook asking you to update information on your Facebook Page? These emails are legitimately from Facebook and we’ve seen it twice in the past month. You have the option to change your information to their suggestion, or you can reject it. If you do not reject it, Facebook will automatically make the suggested change by the date it mentions in the email.

In the two emails we received, we rejected both suggestions to change the information.

In the first example, Facebook says the zip code for the NDSU Extension Service Page is inaccurate and they suggest we change it. We did not, as the 58103 zip code doesn’t apply to us.

FB zip.png

In the second one, it says the
Stutsman County Facebook Page category should be changed from “Education” to “College and University”. They decided to keep the Education category.

FB category.jpg

If you do receive an email like this from Facebook, be sure to either make the suggested change or reject it by the date listed because Facebook will make the change if they don’t hear from you.

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

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LEAP to Communication

Kaci BuhlWhen Kaci Buhl, National Pesticide Information Center project coordinator at Oregon State University, spoke at the Extension/REC Fall Conference, she said that risk perception is "not just facts." University faculty and staff tend to think that if people hear the facts, they'll believe the information, she said.

"But risk perception is subjective and personal," Buhl said. "People want to know risk vs. benefit. And risk denial increases with perceived control." She recommends "Risk Perception: It's Personal" from Environmental Health Perspectives.

Buhl said understanding risk perception is critical for effective communication.

"Frustrated scientists, regulators and industrialists think the public makes irrational or ignorant judgments," she said. "The public thinks that risks are underestimated to serve someone else’s purposes, not their own.
"In the world, risk and benefit are positively correlated, but according to social science research, the relationship between risk and benefit in people’s minds is negatively correlated. Risks are less likely to be acceptable if the benefits are hidden from view, or if they are not fairly distributed among those who bear the risks."
Buhl said defining risk is an act of power and that whoever controls the definition of risk is in control.
Buhl recommends this checklist when communicating risk:
  • Listen, ask questions, paraphrase
  • Frame as risk rather than safety
  • Toxicity/Hazard information
  • Exposure information
  • Benefit(s) of the activity
  • Action items in person’s control
  • Where to get more info
To maximize learning, use stories that are tangible, relatable, and emotional. This strategy turns information into a life experience.
Buhl recommends we LEAP over communication barriers:
  • Listen
  • Empathize
  • Apologize
  • Problem solve

Buhl said listening can't be overemphasized when people are concerned about a risk. "People don't care what you know until they know you care."

She believes risk communicators can achieve both accuracy and readability. Say the most important things first and break up the text with headings, white space, visuals, bullets and the like.

Buhl believes these risk communication steps will improve trust with audiences.

See Buhl's entire fall conference Risk Communication PowerPoint.

, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875
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Keyboard Shortcuts Can Make Work More Efficient

You’ve probably used a number of common keyboard commands like Ctrl + C to copy a file or text and Ctrl + V to paste.  But did you know there are literally dozens of other useful keyboard commands that can help you save time when working in Windows or editing documents?

Here are a few common shortcuts:keyboard

Windows Key = Open start menu
Windows Key + L = Lock desktop
Windows Key + E = Open file explorer
Windows Key + P = Set monitor / projector screen setting

Ctrl + A = Select all items in document / window / folder
Ctrl + C  = Copy
Ctrl + X = Cut
Ctrl + V = Paste
Ctrl + Z = Undo last action
Ctrl + mouse wheel up / down = increase / decrease window zoom level

F5 = Refresh Screen

Alt + F4 = Close the current application

Alt + Enter = displays the properties window of the selected item

To learn more, Microsoft has a Keyboard Shortcuts page that provides a much longer list of common keyboard shortcuts as well as some that are tailored for Windows 8 / 10.

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

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Images: Do’s and Don’ts

white bkgdEver have problems with images in printed documents or on Web pages? That pesky white box around your logo when you have a color background? Read through these do’s and don’ts and start using images to their full potential.

Shooting and Editing Photos

  • Use the highest resolution setting on your camera
  • Always keep an original before editing the photo

Email Attachments

  • Always save attachments – DO NOT copy and paste
  • DO NOT double click or open an attachment to download the image to your computer

Using Files

  • DO NOT copy and paste photos or images from one program to another
  • Use “Insert,” “Import” or “Place” when adding photos and images

What format should I use or ask for?

  • Microsoft programs (PowerPoint, Word) use JPG for photos and WMF for logos and graphics
  • Web programs use JPG for photos and GIF, SVG or PNG for logos
  • Commercial printers use JPG or TIF for photos and EPS, PDF and AIG for logos and graphics

More Information

  • EPS and AI files will not be able to open on most computers.
  • Every time a JPG photo is saved, it will loose quality.
  • Vector images like a WMF can be inserted into programs like PowerPoint and will not have a white box background.
  • Try not to increase the size of a photo once you have inserted it into a program like Word.

, Graphic Designer, (701) 231-8620

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Write the Right Word: Toward or Towards?

Most grammarians agree that words indicating direction such as toward, forward, backward, northward and outward can be spelled with or without the “s” at the end.

However, that generalization comes with a couple of cautions: One, towards, etc., is the preferred spelling in British and Australian English, while spelling these words without the “s” is preferred in American English.

The second note of caution is that Associated Press Stylebook says the correct spelling is without the “s.” Ag Comm follows the AP style guide. That means we look forward to working toward removing the “s” from words such as northward and outward so our writing does not appear to take a step backward.

, Information Specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Insert a Qualtrics Form in Your Website

There are several ways to distribute your Qualtrics form:

  • email
  • posting the form directing to social media
  • adding a link to the survey on your website
  • embedding (inserting) your form directing into your website vs. just having a link


1. Copy and paste your survey link into this html code:
<iframe src="Paste Survey Link Here" width="800px" height="450px"></iframe>

2. In Ag CMS, put your cursor where you want the survey to be embedded at and then click the “html” icon to insert the code into your Web page.


3. Paste in the code and then click “Update” and then “Save”.

4. If the form size needs to be adjusted, go back into the html and adjust for 800 pixels (px) wide by 450 px high (from code in Step 1).

Here’s an example of an embedded Qualtrics form on an Ag CMS site

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

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