02-14-2018 03:20 PM
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Danielle Klahr and I'm the new Product Specialist for Intro Computing with Cengage. As a former Intro instructor, I'm thrilled to be on the "other side" and working with this fantastic team! I'm looking forward to getting to know our instructors and students so I can help to serve you in the best ways possible.
Part of my role is to be an additional point of contact for instructors who have questions or need support with our Intro Computing products. With that being said, I'd love to hear from you! I'll be heavily involved here in the Faculty Community, so feel free to share any requests or ideas you may have. Are there certain types of content you'd like to see more of in here? Any product-specific or industry-related topics you'd like more coverage on? This space is here for you so please don't hesitate to reach out with your suggestions.
02-14-2018 05:54 PM
@cpartite, I am not answering on behalf of Cengage (they will weigh in on their own), but I can tell you that at my alma mater, my wife's alma mater, and the college where I teach, we consider "Introduction to Computing" to be the class that teaches students the basics of how to use Microsoft Office products, specifically Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Really good courses will include Access, but that is less common.
I am curious to see if Cengage considers it the same as that which has been my experience.
02-14-2018 07:15 PM
@cpartite, you ask a great question and @Stephen_J_Padilla is spot on in his response that we at Cengage have used "Intro Computing" to describe products that cover Microsoft Office, Office Applications and Computer Concepts. However, we have been having discussions that there is likely a better name to describe these products and courses. In talking with educators in all different parts of the country teaching this content as well as employers, these skills are not basic as the Intro Computing name would suggest. These skills are critical to job readiness and career success. We recently saw data from Burning Glass that showed the #1 skill employers are looking for is Customer Service. Any guess as to what #2 is? That's right - Microsoft Office Skills. Furthermore, we are hearing from instructors that students think they are coming into higher education institutions having learned all they need to know in High School and don't need to take these courses. For many, this is not the case. So while we use Intro Computing today, we are actively discussing and listening for a better descriptor. Any thoughts?
02-14-2018 07:49 PM
Happy I asked. From what you describe it seems like the course is preparing a person for an Administravtive Office Computing position. The course info you referring to will prepare a person to handle multi task positions in any technology/office setting today.
02-15-2018 09:57 AM
I teach the equivalent of Intro to Computing as one of the very first 4 courses in the CIT program. In my experience, 80% of the students, regardless of age, lack the basic Office skills to write a properly formatted letter, much less an actual essay or paper with citations!
The high schools are NOT preparing them to write anything properly, as was the case when I graduated high school in 1986. I may no have known anything about word processors of the day, but I knew how to format a letter, write a coherent essay, and create references and citations for papers. When I started working on my Bachelor's degree in my 30s, Intro to Computing was a mandatory course in all degree plans. When I found out it was going to teach me how to use Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, I was frankly offended. I'd been using those products in my military career for decades already. Sadly, when I started the course, I discovered that most of my fellow students (at least 2/3) were completely clueless about most aspects of the suite, and this is at a campus where the median age of the undergraduate student was 36 years old! It wasn't just the "kids" who did not know MS Office or any equivalent.
In the Information Age, computer literacy has actually gone down. People know how to use search engines and social media. They do not know how to actually produce anything with proper tools, like the Office suite.
02-15-2018 10:20 AM
@Stephen_J_Padilla I had a similar experience when I taught Intro Computing as part of the core curriculum for all first year students. Most students had used Word to write papers, but had little knowledge about the functionality. Understanding of other Office programs was very low. I found my biggest challenge was teaching a class of students who had a wide range of knowledge (or lack of knowledge) and keeping the entire class engaged. Nearly all of my students did not want to be there and felt that they "already knew" how to use the programs, but they were proven wrong very quickly! As Michele mentioned, Office skills are highly desired by hiring companies...and that's across all disciplines and career paths. Students need these skills no matter what their future plans are.
02-19-2018 01:32 PM
My belief is that we need to update what we are teaching in the Introduction to Computers class. When we are teaching the different applications I feel it is important to focus on the key points. When you are in industry there are certain features and documents that are commanly used. For example, to get a job, typically, you need to write a resume.
02-19-2018 02:23 PM
I agree with you fully. As one of the authors of the Shelly Cashman Office team, we have already started looking at our pedagogy and content for our new Office 2019 series. We are focusing on higher-level business skills. Instead of starting with a flyer for personal usage in Word, the emphasis will be on real business/occupational settings to use technology within Office. Are we on the right track? Thoughts?
02-20-2018 09:51 AM
I concur. I like to see the examples and projects be based on business applications, as this is where most of the students will go. A few will go into education and a few will use the products more at home than work, but we need to target the center, not the edges.
I would suggest that this is a good place also to teach how to use it for résumé writing, as well as how to use Word to write a research paper. I have educated, professional, adult friends and acquaintances who don't even know that Word will do the references, citations, bibliography, etc., for them.