William M. Pegram
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Revised: August 24, 2005

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale Campus

ITE 115 - Basic Computer Literacy, Fall 2005 (3 credits)

Section 20N: W4:30-7:20, CT108
Instructor: Dr. William M. Pegram, wpegram@nvcc.edu, (703)-486-0952 (home)

Web Site for Class: www.billpegram.com

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, email, and a web browser will be briefly covered.


The course focuses on Office 2003. Because Office is a relatively mature product, the change from version to version of the programs is now relatively small and these changes often occur with advanced features that are not covered in an introductory course. For both of these reasons, you can complete all, or almost all aspects of the course and homework using an earlier version of Office such as Office XP (the programs in Office XP are often designated as 2002 -- i.e. Word 2002, Excel 2002, Access 2002, etc.) or Office 2000.

The Office programs are available in all computer labs on campus.  Should you wish to purchase it for academic use, you can buy at some universities and over the internet at highly reduced prices. For example, you can purchase Microsoft Office 2003 Professional at the educational price of $169 from www.campustech.com or www.sprysoft.com You will need to supply them with an academic ID.  In some stores you can also find Microsoft Standard for Teachers and Students (e.g. Costco for $127) but this version does not included the Access or Publisher programs that are available with the Office 2003 Professional educational version referred to above.  For this reason, I would recommend spending the extra money and getting Access and Publisher.

Floppy Disks

You will want to bring a floppy disk to class so that you can save your work and for exams.  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. 


For some assignments, you will submit a printout. For others, where I need to see your file, I would prefer to have your homework submitted 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.  When class is cancelled due to inclement weather or instructor absence, assignments will be pushed back to the next class date.  In cases of instructor absence, I will send an email to all students, so checking it before coming to class is always a good idea, although I haven't missed a class in 5 years.

Office Hour Schedule:

Before and after class.

Communication with Instructor:

In addition to office hours, most class periods will have time for one-on-one questions with the instructor.  Asking questions in this way is generally more efficient than email.  


Each class session I will present the topics covered in a particular chapter or chpaters in the text listed below.  Since the organization of material in another book may differ, it may be somewhat more difficult if you choose another text.  However, you will not be tested on things that have not been mentioned in class, and therefore you could use another book without fear that something will appear on the test which was mentioned in the text.  

Microsoft Office 2003: Introductory Concepts and Techniques, Second Edition, Shelly, Cashman, and Vermatt. In the Annandale bookstore, this comes packaged with a SAMS CD. I have no plans to use the CD and since it adds $11 to the cost of the book, you may want to try to get the book without the CD - either used (unfortunately the Annandale bookstore doesn't have used books for this course because we have switched from the First to the Second Edition), at another bookstore, or online (e.g. from the publisher at www.course.com). If you order it online, do it immediately so that you get the book soon. Just like you can use earlier versions of Office for most of your work in this course, you can use a book applying to an earlier version of office without much difficulty.

Required Email Address

I will email you at your VCCS email address. If you do not check this address frequently, I would recommend you set it up for automatic forwarding to an email address you do check more frequently. Please remember to include your full name in all emails to me.

Grading Policy:

There will be 4 quizzes plus a final.  The 4 quizzes are together worth 54% of your grade, the final 26%, 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.  I will throw out the lowest quiz grade and as a result, will not give makeup quizzes.  Taking the final exam on another day will be at my sole discretion.

Students may choose however to be graded solely on the basis of quizzes (67.5%) and final (32.5%).  Homework grades tend to be somewhat higher than exam grades in my courses and doing homework in my courses is a good preparation for exams, so I do not recommend this option to most students.  I will compute your grade with and without homework, and use the better of the two. Alternatively, students who believe they know the material quite well at the outset may wish to consider testing out of the course through the ABLE exam. 


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.

Dropping and Withdrawal from the Class:

Sunday, September 4 is the last day to drop the class and get a tuition refunds (use NovaConnect).   Thursday, October 27 is the last day to withdraw or to change to audit. Practically all of the people who get an F as a final grade from me are those that stopped coming to class and doing the work but didn't withdraw by this second deadline, even sometimes after email and telephone reminders.

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.