Spring term 1 - 2009

Course Content
Required Software

Prerequisite Skills
Organization
Deductions for Late Submissions
Scoring, Grading, & Appealing Scores
The Honor Code
Time Commitment
Texts/Coursepack
Calendar
Electronic Tools used in Course Delivery
Attendance
Approach

 

Course Content

Information Management (DEC483) introduces students to the skills required to organize, manage, and interpret structured information (data) using Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software and Microsoft Access relational database software. The course provides practical experience with intermediate and advanced features of these applications. In addition to focusing on how to manipulate data with these tools, the course also deals with the creation of effective communications based on data and the insights that can be derived from them.

The premise of this course is that a powerful toolset exists on your desktop PC for managing data. The course focus is to familiarize you with this toolset through a structured opportunity to engage the tools in practical exercises. Ultimately, the aim of the course is to give you practice in framing and solving data problems on a PC using the best tools for the job. The course is 95% practical, 5% theoretical.

Spreadsheet assignments will emphasize table functions, list functions, data tables, pivot tables, and the creation of user-friendly interfaces with Excel controls. Also included is an introduction to Visual Basic for Applications (macro language) programming in Excel. Database management assignments in Access will emphasize the topics most likely to be of use for managers: relational database design and relational database queries. Also covered are data presentation and reporting. Integration between Excel and Access is addressed.



Required Software  

The course will be taught using the English 2007 versions of Microsoft Excel and Access. You must use this software to complete the course. For this student who does not have these versions of software on their own computer, assignments may be completing with this software using Fuqua's MBA Network. All assignment submissions must be in the 2007 versions of Excel and Access and in the English language.



Prerequisite Skills

There are no prerequisite courses for Information Management other than a strong general level of skill with Excel. However, this is a hands-on computing course. A student who does not enjoy computing or feel some aptitude for it will have a more difficult time and need to expend more effort than students who do. A students who has experience with computer programming may find some of the concepts easier to grasp. However, the vast majority of the concepts are not related to programming and programming experience will not create any significant advantage. The student with advanced skills in Excel, especially those who have used some of its filtering and formatting components, may find some aspects of the early assignments easier than students who do not have these skills. However, these skills are in no way prerequisite to the course.



Organization

The course is based around five major assignments and five online quizzes. The class meetings will match the sequence of topics laid out in the five assignments. The assignments themselves provide a great deal of information about the tools each task requires; however, the assignments are not intended to substitute for the demonstrations and discussions in the class meetings. The teaching method will consist of in-class lectures, demonstrations, and question/answer discussions. Attendance is reequired during the first hour of the first day of class. After that critical hour, attendance is encouraged but not required.

Grading is based on the points earned from the five major assignments along with points earned from five quizzes. Skipping the required first hour of the first day of class results in a 15-point deduction from the student's end-of-term point total. Each assignment is designed with two parts, or levels. In order to pass the course, all students are required to complete all the tasks in an assignment that are designated as Level 1. Optional assignment tasks are designated as Level 2. Level 2 of each assignment requires learning and demonstrating some additional skills beyond those demonstrated by the completion of the corresponding Level 1 portion of an assignment. Some Level 2 tasks provide more in-depth coverage of material addressed in Level 1. Other Level 2 tasks may require demonstrating mastery of some additional features of the software not addressed at all in Level 1. Please assume that Level 2 material will require more independent work than the material covered at length in Level 1. The five quizzes reinforce – and in some cases may also extend – the topics covered in the assignments. Submit assignment files through the online Assignment Tool. A student may choose to complete some, none, or all of the tasks in the Level 2 parts of each assignment.

The grade earned in the course (detailed below) is based primarily on how much one learns to do with the software. Each task in both levels carries a point value. The student who completes all Level 1 assignments with full credit and on time and does not have a 15-point deduction for non-attendance during the required first hour is guaranteed a grade of “P” for the course. The student who completes all Level 1 and all Level 2 assignments with full credit and on time and does not have a 15-point deduction for non-attendance during the required first hour is guaranteed a grade of “SP”. I will grade on a curve the work falling between the guaranteed "P" and the guaranteed "SP" levels. (Fuqua MBA students: Please note that this is a different grading scheme than the one used in the core computer course you took pre-matriculation/in your first term.) It is not possible to "skip" a Level 1 task or assignment and pass the course. That is, no amount of Level 2 work can compensate for not having completed all the Level 1 assignments. Assignments submitted past the designated day and time due are assessed a point penalty (more below).

The five quizzes are available online on the days specified in the Calendar. Each quiz is open book, open computer, and open note. Work on the quizzes, like all other work in the course, is intended to be completed entirely on an individual basis.

A maximum of 20 points can be earned on a quiz.
Quiz scores are included in the total score used to calculate the final grade. A quiz must be completed on or before the designated due day and time. A quiz completed after the due day and time will not be counted toward the final score. <== Note that this is different from the way late assignments are handled.

Deductions for Late Submissions

The pace of the course is relatively even throughout the term. There are no mid-term or final examinations or projects that form a heavy "peak" of activity at the middle or end of the course. It is very important in this course that all students maintain a steady pace and keep up with the material. To reinforce this aspect of the course, submitting assignments on time is highly valued. Assignments will be due at 11:59 p.m. on designated days. Five points will be deducted from the value of any assignment for each day the assignment is late. If a student turns in a Level I assignment one day late, five points are deducted from that assignment. If a student turns in both the Level I and Level II parts of an assignment one day late, five points are deducted from each of the levels submitted. The Assignment Tool is set up this term to disallow submissions after an assignment due date and time. If you must submit late work, please send it as an email attachment to the instructor.

As described above, the five online quizzes are available only on the days specified in the calendar. It is not possible to "make up" a quiz and its points. Points for any quiz submitted past the designated day and time are not counted in the final score.

Extraordinary circumstances are required to earn an extension for deadlines and any extension must be arranged in advance with the instructor. If you feel you need an extension, be prepared to make a strong case for why the situation could not have been anticipated or avoided. “I have an out-of-town golf tournament”, "I am going on an interview", or "I am currently out of town on an interview and so can't submit my work on time" are not appropriate reasons for an extension. "I've been arrested and am in prison without bail" or "I broke my leg and am in the hospital" are examples of appropriate, if unfortunate, reasons.

Scoring, Grading, and Appealing Scores

Each assignment Level 1 is worth 60 points.
Each assignment Level 2 is worth 40 points.
Each quiz is worth 20 points.

A grade of "P" is guaranteed by earning at least 400 points and a grade of "SP" is guaranteed by earning 600 points. I will grade on a curve the work falling between the guaranteed "P" and the guaranteed "SP" levels.

Scores for each assignment will be posted your FuquaWorld "Online Gradebook" as soon as they are available.

Once you have the score sheet for a scored assignment, you are welcome to ask for a review if you disagree with how scoring was applied to your work. If you find yourself in that situation, please follow these steps:
       1. Review your submission against the Scoring Guide for that assignment.
       2. Write a short, specific description of what you believe was scored incorrectly and why.
       3. Identify yourself, your section (or registered class time), and the assignment.
       4. Include this information in an e-mail to me. Or, if you prefer, include this information in a written note that you drop by or send to my office (303 West).
I will consider your argument for a rescore and let you know the result. Requests for rescoring must be submitted before the end of the term.



The Honor Code

There is no graded group- or team-oriented work assigned in this course. All work is individual and each student is individually responsible for learning the material necessary to complete the required assignments (Level 1), optional work (Level 2), and quizzes. Learning to use software often requires a certain amount of trial and error. There are times when it may be unclear how to apply some feature of the software to complete an assignment. Talking with other students to gain clarification of concepts is a good way to learn. It is considered honorable in this course to help others and to ask for help in this way. However, this style of learning requires some clarification of the Honor Code to help define what constitutes dishonorable behavior in this course.

Copying any one else's work, or otherwise turning in someone else's work as your own is a violation. Anything you submit should be clearly and entirely your own work. Assignments and quizzes you submit are considered to be evidence of skills you have learned. You must posses the underlying skills you are representing with your completed work. You may certainly help other students by helping them understand the required skills. And, you may seek help in learning these skills from other students. You may not, however, "do” the work for another student or have the work done for you by simply showing or being shown the literal keystrokes required to perform a task. In addition, you are prohibited from sharing quiz answers or circulating copies of a quiz to others, whether they're enrolled in the class or not.

The distinction between sharing help – such as explaining concepts to someone – and showing him or her literally what is required to complete an assignment is important. If you receive help from someone, you should feel comfortable that you have learned the concepts and skills required to complete the assignment and that you could apply these concepts and skills in a similar context to solve a similar but different problem. If you feel uncomfortable with the level of help you are receiving or giving, please discuss the specifics of your situation with the instructor.

Time Commitment

The class meets twice a week for 2 1/4 hours each meeting. The guidelines for out-of-class preparation time for a course at Fuqua specify that an average student will spend 2 hours outside of class for each hour in class. This means that you should expect to spend 8.5 hours per week out-of-class on assignments. Since this is a general guideline only, you would be correct to assume that the 8.5 hours per week is an average expenditure of time for a student with average aptitude and background seeking an average level of achievement. Some students will spend more or less time depending on their aptitude, previous learning, and how much they want to achieve. If you have little previous experience, a low aptitude and are seeking an SP in this course, you can naturally expect to put in more time than the average. If the opposite, less. As you plan your schedule also keep in mind that learning new software skills often requires time for trial and error as well as for managing the unexpected.

Although class attendance is not required, if you choose to attend a class meeting, please be prepared to stay for the entire first hour (before the break) and/or the entire second hour (after the break). Leaving a class in the middle of an hour is discouraged unless we have discussed your reason beforehand.

Texts/Coursepack

There is no required textbook for this course. There is no coursepack for this course. The assignments for the course will be available online on this website at the appropriate times during the term. Assignments are not available in advance of the dates indicated on the course Calendar. While no texts are required, you may find it useful to have one or more reference guides of some kind on hand as you work. There are many guides available that are very suitable as general references. Fuqua's Library has some in its collection. I have found these reference manuals useful:

Other sources of information:

 

Calendar

The course calendar is generally accurate in terms of the schedule of lectures, the topics covered, optional quizzes, assignments available, and assignments due. Minor adjustments to the schedule may be necessary depending on the pace of the classes. Assignment document files are made available from the Assignments web page. Assignments are made available sequentially throughout the term according to the dates indicated on the Calendar.


Electronic Tools Used in Course Delivery

Electronic Mail
The course bulletin boards will be our primary vehicle for out-of-class communication. However, if any critical, time-sensitive, "all must know" information about the course needs your attention, I'll e-mail it to you. If you have a question about your grade, want to discuss a personal emergency, or have some other private issue to raise with me, feel free to see me in my office, use my office telephone, or use e- mail . However, if you have a question about anything class-related that is public in nature, please post to whichever Q&A bulletin board is current so all in the class can benefit from the exchange.

Bulletin Boards
Five electronic bulletin boards are available for this course and will be shared by both course sections. The boards are for questions and answers about the course and the assignments. Any student may post a question (or an answer) to these boards. I'll monitor the currently active board and make contributions, clarifications, etc. as appropriate. The five boards are keyed to the five assignments in the course and are subdivided into threads corresponding to the assignment tasks. This subdivision is intended to more conveniently group discussion. Each board will "open" on the day its corresponding assignment is distributed and "close" on the day its corresponding assignment is due. The "open" and "close" dates indicate a board's duration of currency. Please be clear in your mind from the start how the boards are to be used and respect these distinctions when posting. When posting to a Q&A board, remember to post to the current board and to the appropriate pre-established thread on the board. I will not be reading postings made to non-current boards. Links to the boards are available from the class Bulletin Boards web page.

The Web
I'll use the web in this course as a repository for course materials. Assignments, data sets, sample files, course overheads and so on will be available through the class web site. Upload your assignment files through the online Assignment Tool. PowerPoint presentations used in class will be made available on the class Notes web page.

Attendance

I encourage you to attend all class meetings of the course; however, grading is not in any way based on class attendance past the first hour of the first day of class. (The first hour of the first day of class is required; a 15-point penalty is assessed for absence from that short meeting.) Should you choose to attend any other class meeting day, we will take one 10- to 15-minute break roughly in the middle of our meeting time. Please join the class at the beginning or at the break and depart at the break or at the end of class only. If you have a reason why you need to join or leave a class meeting at another time, please inform me before class begins. I recommend you bring a name tent to each class meeting and display it.

As mentioned above, the assignments themselves provide a great deal of information about the tools each task requires; however, the assignments are not intended to substitute for the demonstrations and discussions in the class meetings. Much happens in class that is directly relevant to the completion of assignments. Class meetings are composed of a mix of demonstrations, examples, discussions, and questions and answers. Aspects of the assignments may be clarified during in-class discussions and the use of tools demonstrated. You are individually responsible for all in-class material, whether written or discussed. If for any reason you do not attend a class meeting, you are individually responsible for acquiring any material discussed or otherwise distributed. If you know you are going to miss a class session, at a minimum you should arrange for another student to supply you with notes and copies of any handouts.

Our meetings will be held in the Sauer Classroom, formerly Classroom F. If room is available, feel free to attend either the 8:00 a.m. or the 10:30 a.m. session, no matter what your section.

Approach

The course is intended to be primarily a hands-on learning experience and a 'jumping off' point for further exploration on your own.

 

 


Last updated 12.16.2008