William M. Pegram
Home | Courses | Web Design | Office Software | Client-Side Scripting | Server-Side Scripting | About Me

Revised: May 15, 2006

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale Campus

ITE 115 - Basic Computer Literacy, Summer 2006 (3 credits)

Section 01N: TTh10-11:50, CT106
Section 02N: TTh 1-2:50PM, CT 121
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.

Storage Devices Disks

You will want to bring a floppy disk or thumbnail drive 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. I plan to cover the same material in each section, so you may attend the other section on any given day if your normal section is not convenient for you that day. 

Office Hour Schedule:

After class or by other arrangement with the instructor.

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.  


Microsoft Office 2003: Introductory Concepts and Techniques, Second Edition, Shelly, Cashman, and Vermatt. (ISBN 0-619-25477-7). In the Annandale bookstore, this comes packaged with a SAMS CD and by itself.. I have no plans to use the CD and since it adds about $17 to the cost of the book, I would suggest getting the book without the CD.

Each class session I will present the topics covered in a particular chapter in the text which is a reasonably good text.  I will not be assigning exercises out of the book and you will not be tested on things that have not been mentioned in class so having this text is not strictly required, but highly recommended. The first edition of this text is perfectly acceptable and using a version of this text for an earlier version of Office will not cause you much difficulty.

Required Email Address

I will email you at your official email address -- this will be a VCCS email address unless you have changed your address in NovaConnect.. I will show you how to change your address in NovaConnect and how to set up your VCCS email address to an email you 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:

Saturday, May 27 is the last day to drop the class and get a tuition refunds (use NovaConnect).   Monday, July 3rd 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.