Revised: January 18, 2005

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale Campus

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

Section 15N: T 4:30-7:20, CT230
Instructor: Dr. William M. Pegram,, (703)-486-0952 (home)

Web 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, 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 or 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.  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. 


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.  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.  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.  

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, Shelly, Cashman, and Vermatt, ISBN: 0-619-25558-7 (other bindings under different ISBNs), Course Technology.  In the bookstore, a new text with a SAMS CD is $80, $72 for the book without the CD, and $29 for the CD alone.  Typically the Course Technology website at provides the lowest Internet prices for new (as opposed to used) Course Technology books at a 10% discount off of list prices.  Once shipping is added, the price would not be much less than the bookstore price of $72.

The SAMS CD provides opportunities to use a simulated version of the Office software for review and tests.  If you are buying a new version of the book, I would recommend paying the extra $8 to get the version with the CD especially if you do not have access to Microsoft Office at home or work or if you would find its review capabilities useful.  If you are not buying a new version of the book, you can postpone your purchase of the CD for awhile.

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%).  This choice must be made in the first 3 weeks of the semester through an email.  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.  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.

Withdrawal from the Class:

Sunday, January 23 is the last day for tuition refunds (use NovaConnect).   Thursday, March 17th (St. Patrick's Day and the first day of the NCAA Men's basketball tournament) is the last day to withdraw 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.