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Information and Educational Technology

Extension educators need to consider the most appropriate technologies to reach and teach targeted audiences.

Computers

A computer is the most basic tool for carrying out your job efficiently and effectively. Ag Communication recommends hardware (both desktops and notebooks) and software baselines that should meet your needs. Your supervisor will assist you in obtaining needed equipment.

Help Desk Support

If your computer support is provided by NDSU rather than a local provider or the N.D. Association of Counties, computer questions must go through the ITS Help Desk. Call 701-231-8685 with your problem or question, or email it to ndsu.helpdesk@ndsu.edu. This is important so your problem gets to the person who can best answer it and is logged into the database so the staff can identify trends.

Before contacting the help desk, note the exact language of an error message. This information can provide the technician a quick indication of the problem. The technicians often are able to take control of your computer remotely (with your permission) to solve the problem.

Technology Leadership

The ND Information Technology Department (ITD) is the state agency responsible for the oversight of the state network and PeopleSoft, and provides strategic planning for state government IT.

As NDSU faculty and staff, we are part of the North Dakota University System and are influenced by NDUS IT policies and directions.

NDSU Agriculture and Extension faculty and staff receive information technology support from Ag Comm Computer Services.

In addition, educators in county and other off-campus offices often are influenced by the IT direction of county government or another entity.

Other Technologies

Other IT applications include videoconferencing, webconferencing (Skype for Business and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra) and Cloud Drives (Google Apps for Education and Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint).

Acceptable Use

Computers and other IT equipment must be used legally and appropriately. NDSU Extension Service faculty and staff must follow NDSU Policy 158 on acceptable use policies and procedures of the North Dakota University System and NDSU. Acceptable use includes purchasing software for use on one computer, not browsing inappropriate Web sites and more.

Training

Ag Communication and Information Technology Services staff provide training via Skype, at locations throughout the state and during conferences. However, most programs include online tutorials for learning the software. Users can take online tutorials to learn the basics of new software.

Printed manuals rarely come with software these days. Instead, nearly all programs have a help or question mark button in the upper right in the tool bar. This Help section can provide answers to many of your questions. Please use it before calling the Help Desk.

Security

Our IT system is frequently subject to external attacks. Minimize these attacks by protecting your passwords and changing them regularly.

Your NDSU-owned PC has security software installed, and it should automatically update regularly.

Students and employees may install Microsoft Security Essentials on their personal PCs (not work PCs).

Keep your security software current. Contact the IT Help Desk at 701-231-8685 if you have questions about viruses or downloading the anti-virus software.

Also, be wary of email messages where you do not recognize the sender. Be especially careful before opening attachments of suspicious emails. Delete messages that raise concerns. The NDSU help desk will never ask for your password or other personal information. Beware of phishing, which is cybercriminal attempts to steal personal and financial information, or infect devices with malware and viruses. Learn online safety on the ITS Phishing site.

When you send messages, include a subject title that clearly states to your recipient that it is a legitimate message.

Back-up

Back up your files regularly. This can be accomplished on DVD, CD, flash drive, shared drive, cloud storage or external hard drive. Choose the strategy that best works for you and your office, then do it often and keep the backup off site.

Online Accounts

You will set up three accounts

1. NDSU (ND State University)

  • Blackboard
  • Computer Labs
  • Library Services
  • Wired/Wireless Network

or at 701-231-8685 to set up the NDSU account.

2. NDUS (ND University System)

  • Campus Connection
  • Email
  • Finance Portal
  • HRMS Self-Service
  • Moodle (Annual Training)

or at 701-231-8685 to set up the NDUS account.

3. Ag Info Center

  • Ag calendar
  • Quarterly Program Reports
  • File transfer system
  • Email groups list
  • and more

To set up your Ag Info Center account, contact with Ag Communication at 701-231-7381.

Email

If you haven’t already received an email address, you must request firstname.lastname@ndsu.edu email and password service. Go to http://enroll.nodak.edu and accept the agreement. Check the box that says, “If you do not know your Electronic ID and password, check this box and click Continue.” This will walk you through the process to create your password. Write down this password, but keep it in a secure place. Hint: you’ll need your EMPLID (employee identification number) for this process, so you may as well have it ready before starting. However, you may not be able to get your NDSU email address and password immediately since the paperwork must go through several steps at NDSU before you have an EMPLID.

Staff who are not employed by NDSU must fill out a non-employee form available from (701-231-7896) and return it to him. The county chair or another supervisor needs to sign it. Check “other” rather than a course and write “county Extension employee” or whatever is appropriate.

Use this firstname.lastname@ndsu.edu email address for all your professional communications. You can add your office contact information and social media links by creating an email signature. However, try not to use your NDSU email address for personal use since all emails are considered open records in North Dakota.

Web Content Development

The Ag Content Management System (Ag CMS) offers Extension faculty and staff an easy-to-use, flexible and effective environment for creating and maintaining web pages.

To get started, go to the Ag CMS home page for information on training, accounts, new site requests and more.

Social Media

Social media is the umbrella term for many online tools that promote conversation and community. These tools are critical to Extension’s current and future efforts in education and communication. Extension professionals at NDSU and across the country are using blogs, presentation sharing, video sharing, micro-blogging and social networking to inform and engage their audiences.

The NDSU Extension Service has accounts on:

See NDSU Agriculture and Extension's social media guidelines.

Innovation

The NDSU Extension Service innovation team shares ideas on the web and on Facebook. Share yours.

eXtension

eXtension (pronounced e-extension) is a national initiative to help Extension faculty and staff across the country think innovatively, work together to provide information, answer questions and build communities internally and with the public.

As soon as you have an NDSU email address, go to http://people.extension.org and sign up for an eXtension ID.

When you can log in to http://people.extension.org, add information about yourself in My Profile. You may not want to join any communities yet, but you can see all the different topics that Extension educators from around the country are working on.

Many national eXtension and NDSU web pages now include an Ask an Expert widget. This is a little box on a web page that allows the public to ask questions if they cannot find an answer on the site.

To make it possible for you to answer a few of these questions, especially if they are from your locality or in your subject matter area, click on the AaE button along the top of the People page. Click on Preferences in the top right, then select Areas of Expertise and Geographic Regions where you are willing to help answer questions. Don't worry; you rarely will be asked to answer questions unless you have a local widget on your website.

eXtension also provides live webinars and recordings on a wide variety of topics.

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