Agriculture Communication


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Web Conferencing

NDSU offers two tools for allowing staff and the public to share and receive audio and video from their desktop computers: Microsoft Skype for Business and Blackboard Collaborate.

Web conference via Microsoft Skype for Business or Blackboard Collaborate can be accessed by participants from various locations for meetings, trainings, interviews and much more. Both offer options to “archive” or record sessions and to connect people by phone if they can’t be at a computer. You can connect to either via desktop, tablet or smartphone (there is limited functionality to connect via the last two options).

Microsoft Skype for Business and Blackboard Collaborate participants should have either a headset with microphone or microphone and speakers connected to their computer. A webcam is optional but often enriches the experience.


Skype for Business

To Join a Meeting

 First, open Skype for Business if it doesn’t automatically open for you in the morning.

 If you don’t even have Skype for Business on your computer, you’ll be asked to download a small plug-in. However, since we’ll be using Skype for Business for more meetings and trainings in the future, contact the help desk at 231-8685 to get the program on your computer.

Click on the link provided in the email or in your calendar if the meeting leader put it directly into your calendar.

  Lync 2013 Join Meeting Link

If you're not at your computer, you may join via smartphone app.  Download the Skype for Business app from the Windows, Android or Apple stores. Check out, "Mobile Connection with the Skype for Business App," for additional information.  When the Skype meeting pops up in your Outlook calendar, touch to join the Skype meeting. 

Computer Setup

Once you’re in Skype for Business, look for the blue icons in the lower left. If they’re not there, click on the dots in the lower right. Then:

  • Open the list of participants by clicking on the people icon
  • Open the chat pod by clicking on the text bubble icon
  • If you want to turn on your video, click on the camera icon
  • If you’re not speaking, keep your microphone muted by clicking on the mic icon

Skype for Business Interface 


If you have a problem, it probably will be with the audio.

If you usually hear audio directly from your computer rather than a headset, make sure Skype also is set for computer audio. Click on the gear icon, then Tools, then Audio Device Settings.

  • Under Speaker, select Speakers if you’re using your computer’s speakers or Communication Headphones if you’re using your headset. Test by clicking on the green arrow. You should be able to hear a test sound. If you don’t, select the other option and try again.
  • Under Microphone, select Internal Mic if you’re using the computer’s mic or simply Microphone if you’re using the one built into your headset. You’ll see a blue sound bar moving to show that your mic is picking up sound.
  • Select OK to save those settings.

Lync 2013 Audio Settings

 Install Skype
Login to Skype

If you have Skype for Business problems, please contact the NDSU Help Desk @ (701) 231-8685 Option 1.

Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate is the NDUS' webconferencing system.  Wimba Classroom was the previous system.  Since Collaborate is web-based, it can be accessed anywhere and by anyone.  Because of that, people have used it to bring in guest speakers from other universities or for collaborating on projects with folks from outside our University system.  Collaborate allows for Presenters to use a variety of tools for interaction and collaboration such as uploading a PowerPoint, sharing their desktop, giving participants cursor control on your documents, and creating polls.


Bb Collaborate recorded demos

NDSU ITS Bb Collaborate site

Collaborate Screen Shot


Contact Scott Swanson by email or at (701) 231-7086 if you want to start using Bb Collaborate or if you want to set up a session for your group.

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