Revised: March 12, 2001

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale Campus

Introduction to Microcomputer Software, Spring 2001

Section 80N: TTh 1:30-4:20PM, CT228
Instructor: Dr. William M. Pegram,, (703)-486-0952 (home)

Web Site for Class: (most up-to-date)
Alternative site for class:

Course Description:

This course is a hands-on introduction to the four primary programs in the Microsoft Office suite - Word (word processing), Excel (spreadsheet), Access (database), and PowerPoint (presentations).  Use of Windows will be briefly covered at the outset.


The Microsoft Office 2000 programs listed above should be available in all computer labs on campus.  Should you wish to use obtain it for use at home, you can purchase Microsoft Office 2000 Professional at the educational price of $169 from CampusTech at 1-800-543-8188 or through the NOVA bookstore (their price is probably a little higher).  The Professional version includes Access, whereas the Standard version does not.  The Premium version includes the programs in the Professional version plus FrontPage and Photodraw.  The educational price represents a huge savings over the retail list prices for the Standard, Professional, and Premium versions of $499, 599, and $799 respectively.  The educational versions of these products are identical to the regular versions.

You may use an older version of Office for your assignments.  In a few cases, some feature required for the assignment may not be available in these older versions of Office, but you can start the assignment in the older version and then use Office 2000 at school to finish the assignment.

Floppy Disks

You will want to bring a floppy disk to class so that you can save your work.  If you forget to bring a disk, you can save your work to the c drive and then send an email to yourself with the file as an attachment.  Please remember to bring a floppy on exam days. 


Each homework assignment will indicate whether it should be submitted in printed form or on a floppy disk.  However, if you are going to miss class, you can email me and include the file(s) as attachments.


If you miss class, please check the class website for any changes to the schedule, including new assignments.  Ideally you should contact fellow students rather than the instructor regarding material that was covered during your absence.  When class is cancelled due to inclement weather or instructor absence, assignments will be pushed back to the next class date.   

Office Hour Schedule: If meeting before, during, or after class is not convenient for you, contact me to arrange a mutually convenient time.  

Communication with Instructor: Most class periods will have time for one-on-one questions with the instructor.  You may also email me if questions cannot be resolved during class.  


I will be teaching you the things in each software application that I think are appropriate for this class.  I generally will do so without referring you to examples in a textbook.  For homework and tests, I will not require you to know things that have not been mentioned in class.  I will be distributing copies of homework assignments.  For these reasons, no text is required for this class.

However, I think you will find that having a text will help you in this class so I would encourage you to use one of the following:  

1) IST 117 courses currently use a customized Prentice Hall spiral bound book by Robert Grauer and Maryann Barber (ISBN 0-13-015170-3) that is a combination of two books (Exploring Windows 98 and Exploring Microsoft Office 2000 Professional).  You can find this in the NOVA bookstore.  

2) IST 117 ELI courses use Microsoft Office 2000 Introductory Concepts and Techniques, Gary B. Shelly, Thomas J. Cashman, and Misty E. Vermaat, Course Technology, ISBN 0-7895-4635-3, 2000. $67 (including tax).  This is available on the the Course Technology website at $57.55 plus tax and shipping.  A slightly revised version of this book,  the Microsoft Office 2000 Introductory Concepts and Techniques Enhanced Edition (ISBN 0-7895-6251-0) was published this month and is also available on their website for $54.85 plus tax and shipping.

For either of the above, if you want to use a used version of the book that relates to Office 97, that should be fine -- there are very few differences between the 97 and 2000 versions of the programs with respect to the topics we will cover.

Teach Yourself Microsoft Office in 24 Hours by Greg Perry, ISBN 0-672-31439-8, $20 is another alternative, but is less step-by-step, with fewer exercises, and may not cover all topics we will discuss in class..

Grading Policy:

There will be 4 exams and a final.  These exams will be worth 80% of your grade and homework worth 20%.  Although this suggests that individual homework assignments are unimportant, quite the opposite is true.  The best way to prepare for the exams is to give your best on each assignment and do it in a timely fashion so that you get feedback from the instructor.


Assignments will receive a 10% grade penalty for each class period they are late.  Assignments that are more than 1 class period late, will either not be accepted (if I have discussed the solution) or will receive an additional 10% off for each additional class period late. 

Academic Integrity

In general, students are expected to follow the Information Technology Student/Policy Ethics Agreement as posted in computer areas and academic integrity standards as set down in the Student Handbook.

In addition, I want to give you specific guidance regarding the following issues:

On homework assignments and projects, students may ask for and receive some assistance from others, unless otherwise directed by the instructor.  Yet those helping a student should avoid "doing the work" for the student.  If students receive significant assistance from others, the student should give credit to these individuals.  No assistance is permitted on exams and quizzes.

Withdrawal from the Class:

March 19 is the last day for schedule adjustments and textbook refunds.  April 16 is the last day to withdraw without grade penalty or to change to audit.

Learning Environment

NVCC is a place for learning and growing.  You should feel safe and comfortable anywhere on this campus.  In order to meet this objective, you should: a) let your instructor, his/her supervisor, the Dean of Students or Provost know if any unsafe, unwelcome or uncomfortable situation arises that interferes with the learning process; (b) inform the instructor within the first two weeks of classes if you have special needs or a disability that may affect your performance in this course.

Fire/Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Students should familiarize themselves with both the primary and secondary routes that are to be used, in case you need to evacuate the building, as well as other evacuation procedures to be followed.

Eight Week Course

The 16 week version of this course meets twice a week for 1 hour and 15 minutes whereas the 8 week class meets for 2 hours and 50 minutes twice a week for 8 weeks.  Thus you have as much class time as with the 16 week course.  The compressed time schedule however has several implications.  First, there will be homework assignments for practically all class periods.  Second, if you miss a class due to illness or other reasons, you will be missing twice as much material as if you missed a class in the 16 week class.  Third, you will have less time for concepts to sink in.  Although I am sure that each of chose to take this class during an 8 week session, I want each of you to think, prior to the March 19th deadline, whether you would rather take the class as a 16 week class or an 8 week class at another time.