Ag IT Advisory Group (AITAG)


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June 4, 2010

Ag IT Advisory Group – June 4, 2010


Randy Grueneich, chair; Gerald Sturn; David Saxowsky; Gordy Bradbury; Sheila Wiesz; Chris Schauer; Eric Berg; Cindy Selstedt

Ex-officio: Jeff Gerst, ITS; Becky Koch, Ag Communication

Also attending: Bob Bertsch, Ag Communication


AITAG Member Terms

The three-year terms for Randy, Cindy and Gordy end June 30. They should each inform VP Coston is they want to continue to serve on AITAG or not.


High-speed Access Rates

Chris said the REC cost for high-speed Internet access, which includes videoconferencing, is about $1,000 per month and that the bill is from ITD. David said the state policy, at least at one time, was the state agencies were required to get Internet access through ITD for quality of service guarantees. ITD may have some local contracts, and we’ve heard that they may revisit the rate structure. May we check out alternatives? Gordy said ITD provides and maintains equipment. Becky and Chris will explore this issue more. What about Burleigh, Walsh and other counties that are not in courthouses?


Videoconference Equipment

Becky shared that SBARE has been asked to support one-time funding of $262,000 to replace some videoconference equipment that will no longer be supported as of September 2010.


Social Media Guidelines

VP Coston questioned a couple phrases before he approves the document. Regarding the sentence “Failure to do so could put your future participation at risk” – It’s probably up to the staff member’s supervisor to say if it’s no longer appropriate for that person to participate in work-related social media, and he or she should stop if using NDSU logos, etc. but not representing university appropriately. Does NDSU’s acceptable use policy cover this issue?


Web Policies and Guidelines

VP Coston would like to see an NDSU-wide policy re: advertising on Web pages. However, AITAG members felt strongly that the ad issue must be kept on the forefront, so they didn’t want the policies and guidelines document to go back to Ag administration without that bullet point. As drafted, Web pages may acknowledge sponsors but not have a call to action. They may credit sponsorship but not promote specific products. Citing NDUS Policy 1901.2 Section 3.8, AITAG’s interpretation is that it means “no commercial advertising.” Becky will ask VP Coston and Rick Johnson if this interpretation is OK so the policies and guidelines can move ahead with the four policy bullets.


Ag CMS Update

Bob shared the and in the Ag CMS. Drafts have been shared with this group and Extension Leadership Team so far. The plan is for to be called NDSU Agriculture and to be a home page for research and Extension informational content, and for to be more marketing for the Extension Service organization. Features will be updated by Rich Mattern, Ellen Crawford and Becky with the Extension page having more organizational impacts than content. Bob is getting mostly positive feedback from staff and making updates where appropriate. He had been collecting Google Analytics for those two pages before the change to Ag CMS and will compare with new page data. Hopefully there will be more click-throughs since information is on the main pages rather than just links.


All the alphabetical links on the NDSU home page are redirected to new URLs in the Ag CMS.

What are NDSU policies as to who to include in the ABC listing? The “Center for 4-H” is listed under C.


Bob said people could subscribe to specific information from the Web if it’s set up correctly as a collection for an RSS feed.


Chris asked how to increase searchability, and Bob said key wording used to be most important, but now it’s Google algorithms, which means your page is linked from and recommended by others outside your domain, including social media. Also, information needs to be written for the Web with sentence structure and subheads, not just putting printed information on the Web.


Computer Support

How much does ITS support Macs? The initial goal of AITAG was to support meeting the needs of 80% of the users 80% of the time. Chris said staff can purchase other hardware and software; they just don’t have support. Do we need to survey staff to see what they want? Are we meeting their needs? Randy reminded that some computers are supported by local IT and the N.D. Association of Counties.


David said AITAG needs a process for getting input from colleagues on baselines. Chris suggested maybe at fall conference. However, maybe AITAG should focus on the big picture, not baseline details. Becky will develop a draft in Survey Monkey to have for early fall.


A question came from the Central Grasslands REC about supporting Linux. That person should call Roger Egeberg to discuss. Bob explained Linux is now a different operating system.



Cindy said Blackberries can’t access Oracle, and Treos are not user friendly. Instead of a smartphone, at least one staff person went to a Netbook with an aircard. NDSU doesn’t have a Blackberry server. Bob said the problem is Oracle Calendar. Outlook Calendar probably can reserve rooms as Oracle does. Bob said Oracle and Outlook both are client based so must download. Google calendar is an option that doesn’t have compatibility issues; you just need the Internet. Staff need to be able to synch calendar with phones. Ask what people are using for an e-mail client – Outlook, Pegasus, etc.




ITS is afraid some people will try to use Netbooks as their main computers. Bob’s Netbook runs Window 7, and he can get on wireless and access same tools that are on his desktop. Presentations on the Netbook can be plugged into projectors. However, they are not data storage machines. They have tiny hard drives, so users need to carry extra storage or use their desktop as storage. AITAG needs to work with ITS to see what kind of support can be provided for Netbooks. Include this question in the survey.


Next Meeting

Doodle for right after Labor Day

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