Concepts and Applications of Information Technology

MeThis is a Hybrid class which meets one class per week for lecture and you are required to attend all lecture classes. In lieu of the second class, you are expected to work on assignments independently and work through all course content that is posted each week. Use of a computer, Internet connection, and LEO is required for hybrid classes which are accessed at either URL:

I will post handouts and hyperlinks to videos for the class on this web page which is accessible at the hosting URL: http://islandman.org/um/ifsm201/

You will be required to submit all assignments online using LEO, and emailed submissions will not be accepted. Consider this hybrid class as good training for taking an online class in the future. 

The Microsoft Office Professional Suite 2010, 2013, or 2016 is recommended for assignments because it is available in the UMUC computer lab/testing centers. One issue with Microsoft Office is that the adaptive ribbon User Interface changes significantly with each version so it is sometimes difficult to find the command you want when switching between versions. Another issue is that only Microsoft Professional version has the Microsoft Access database application and Microsoft never ported MS Access to its MacOS version of MS Office. For the database assignment we will do the assignment in the UMUC computer lab which has MS Access.

LEO Course Resources contain a link to GCFLearnfree.org, a project of the Goodwill Community Foundation® which has an excellent collection of MS Office tutorials for all versions. Links to tutorials are provided in Course Content pages and you should select the version of Microsoft Office that you have installed on your computer. Links to Microsoft Office 2010 Bible and also Microsoft Office 2013 Bible are also available in the course resources. Also in the course content is a link with instructions to download Microsoft Office 365 (Windows) or Microsoft Office 2016 (MacOS).

Alternatively, you may use the free LibreOffice, which is available at http://www.libreoffice.org/download/libreoffice-fresh/ and functions equally well on Windows 7-10, MacOSX, and Linux. Good documentation is available at http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/documentation/ and I recommend you download and read the LibreOffice Getting Started Guide if you chose to use this freeware software. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice open-source software and is more actively developed. However, if you use LibreOffice you need to submit all files in the native MS Office formats: .docx, .xlsx, *.accdb, or *.pptx for this and future online classes. Please do not submit documents using the MacOS pages or numbers file formats as your instructor cannot read them and you will receive a zero on the assignment.

Please bring a USB Drive that is 1 GigaByte or greater to class this week and every week. It is best if the USB Drive attaches to your key ring to avoid loss. You may use the UMUC computer lab to work on your assignments. Keep all files on your USB Drive if you intend to use the UMUC computer lab or your home computer to do your assignments. You may want to install LibreOffice to your USB Drive using https://portableapps.com/, which will allow it to run on any Windows computer including the ones in UMUC Computer Lab.

If you have a technical problem in your LEO class, contact Help@UMUC at http://help.umuc.edu/ or by phone at 1-888-360-UMUC (8682). Help@UMUC is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So lets get started…

I recommend you allocate approximately 12 hours per week to this course:

Please get started with Week 1 content today, by clicking Week 1 in the navigation bar or scrolling down.

Robert Laurie

Week 1: Data and Information

This week in lecture we will be discussing the Syllabus, LEO course management system, and investigate Data representation for different number systems used in computing and ASCII codes. Data is gathered, analyzed, and organized into meaningful and useful information.  But do you know the difference between quantitative, qualitative and categorical data? And how is data gathered?  What is the difference between samples, surveys, and polls. 

Information is data that has meaning; it tells a story. So how do you go from just gathering data to making some meaning of what you have gathered? What does data analysis mean?

Content this week

Begin this week with the reading about the power of data and information. The Week 1 Quiz will contain questions based on these two readings. Prior to class, please print and read both PDF files listed below:

The file extension is important in Microsoft Windows, because it determines which application will open the file. Unfortunately, Microsoft hides file extensions by default, but it is useful to view the file extensions of known file types within Windows Explorer file display pane. If you are using windows please search through help to learn how to view the file extensions. Find and uncheck the check box labeled Hide extensions of known file types. You will now be able to see the difference between filename.docx file and filename.pdf file.

Watch the following videos to enhance your learning of data representations:

  1. WATCH: Mechanical Binary Counter Video 2m
  2. WATCH: Converting Decimal, Binary and Hexadecimal Video 17m
  3. WATCH: ASCII Video 8m
  4. WATCH: Decode unicode: TEDxVienna Video 18m

Activities this week

The LEO Discussions are a kind of collective online discussion that is visable to all students. The discussion activites this week will provide you with an understanding of digital data, which is fundamental to understanding How computers work.

5 Discussion topics must be completed before our next class

This week you need to utilize five online discussion topics to introduce yourself and demonstrate that you have learned how to convert between various number systems and codes:

For each discussion topic you will need to make a post and reply to two other students! You must be logged into LEO to post, reply, and view discussions.

Quiz 1 must be completed before our next class

The LEO Quizzes contain both multiple choice and True/False questions. The first week you will be permitted to take the quiz twice and the highest score will be recorded. The questions will change for each quiz round. You must be logged into LEO to take the quiz and they are timed so allocate 60 minutes for each quiz. If you walk away and the quiz times out you will receive a zero on that quiz.

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor.

Week 2: Hardware and Word Processing

hwThis week you will look at hardware components, integrated and peripheral, and their function in the computer system. Assignment 1 will be shopping for a new computer analyzing hardware specifications and the creation of a word processing *.docx document to include a table comparing components for three different systems. Quiz 2 will cover the content from this week.

Additionally, we will also discuss our first software application which is Word Processing. Actually, I don’t really care which Word Processor you utilize. However, you must submit *.docx documents throughout the course which are the standard Microsoft Word 2007-16 file format.

Content this week

I will utilize PowerPoint slides for lecture and discussion. The slide sets will be posted as PDF documents with four slides per page in color. Please print the following PDF files prior to class so you can take notes on them:

Throughout this course, we will be using free tutorials and educational resources available at Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF). To better understand computers, please click the link below and work through the entire Computer Basics Tutorial Steps 1 through 23 available at https://www.gcflearnfree.org/computerbasics/.

If you are a hunt and peck typist, GCF LearnFree has has a tutorial to improve your typing skills as well with their Typing tutorial available at https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/typing/

GCF LearnFree also has a Buying Computers tutorial available at https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/buying-computers/ and is the Assignment 1 activity.

Videos about Computer Hardware:

Videos about ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) binary operations:

Tutorials for Microsoft Word 2016 by Kennesaw State University

Windows MacOS
Introduction to Word Introduction to Word
Formatting in Word Formatting in Word

Please work through the tutorials at GCF LearnFree.org if you intend to use Microsoft Word as your word processor. Choose the link for the version of Word you are using at the top row of the table below:

Word 2010 Word 2013 Word 2016
#1 Getting Started with Word #4 Getting to Know Word #1 Getting Started with Word
#2 Text Basics #5 Creating and Opening Documents #3 Creating and Opening Documents
#3 Formatting Basics #6 Saving and Sharing Documents #4 Saving and Sharing Documents
#4 Saving #7 Text Basics #5 Text Basics
#5 Modifying Page Layout #8 Formatting Text #6 Formatting Text
#6 Checking Spelling and Grammar #9 Page Layout #12 Page Layout
#7 Printing #10 Printing Documents #13 Printing Documents
#18 Styles and Themes #17 Headers and footers #16 Headers and Footers
#19 Working with headers and footers #23 Tables #23 Tables
#21 Working with Tables    

Activities this week

Assignment 1: Word Processing (Computer Shopping)

Work through Assignment 1 - Word Processing as described in the attached file:

Submit only Asgn1-YourName.docx file and verify this by not hiding extensions of known file types on your computer and open the file in MS Word. Must be uploaded and submitted on LEO Assignments before next class. The assignment will be graded based on described requirements.

Quiz 2 must be completed before our next class

The LEO Quizzes contain both multiple choice and True/False questions. The second week you will be permitted to take the quiz only once. You must be logged into LEO to take the quiz and they are timed so allocate 60 minutes. If you walk away and the quiz times out you will receive a zero on that quiz.

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor. There are no required discussions this week.

Week 3: Software and Spreadsheets

os This week you will cover software - both system software (operating systems and utilities) and application software. First, you will look at the relationship between the hardware studied last week and the Operating System software that enables the hardware to function in a way that supports the user. Next, you will look more closely at the operating system and the utilities that are essential to make a computer function. Finally, you will review software application packages that are most commonly used for personal and work computer-related functions.

A computer can run only one type of Operating System at a time and the two most common OS’s for personal computers are Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS. Linux has many variants and is most common on servers, but can also run on personal compters. For the smart phone devices the two most common operating systems are Google’s Android OS and Apples iOS. You should work through the GCF LearnFree.org tutorials for the operating system that you most commonly use on your personal computer before taking the Quiz.

Content this week

I will utilize PowerPoint slides for lecture and discussion. Please print the following PDF files prior to class so you can take notes on them:

Videos about computer software:

UMUC suggested readings about spreadsheets

Tutorials for Microsoft Excel 2016 by Kennesaw State University

Windows MacOS
Introduction to Excel Introduction to Excel
Excel Formulas Excel Formulas
Excel Charts Excel Charts

Please work through the Excel tutorials for the version of Excel that you intend to use GCF Excel Tutorials

Excel 2010 Excel 2013 Excel 2016
#1 Getting Started with Excel #4 Getting Started with Excel #1 Getting Started with Excel
#2 Cell Basics #5 Creating and Opening Workbooks #3 Creating and Opening Workbooks
#3 Modifying Columns, Rows and Cells #6 Saving and Sharing Workbooks #4 Saving and Sharing Workbooks
#4 Formatting Cells #7 Cell Basics #5 Cell Basics
#5 Saving #8 Modifying Columns, Rows and Cells #6 Modifying Columns, Rows and Cells
#6 Creating Simple Formulas #9 Formatting Cells #7 Formatting Cells
#7 Worksheet Basics #10 Worksheet Basics #8 Understanding Number Formats
#8 Printing #11 Page Layout #9 Working with Multiple Worksheets
#9 Complex Formulas #12 Printing Workbooks #12 Page Layout and Printing
#10 Functions #13 Simple Formulas #13 Intro to Formulas
#17 Charts #14 Complex Formulas #14 Creating More Complex Formulas
  #15 Relative and Absolute Cell References #15 Relative and Absolute Cell References
  #16 Functions #16 Functions
  #22 Charts #23 Charts

Activities this week

Assignment 2: Spreadsheets (Personal Budget)

Quiz 3 must be completed before our next class

Academic Integrity Tutorial must be completed before Week 6

Begin working through the Academic Integrity Tutorial this week. This tutorial is not due until Week 6, but you must score a 90% or higher on the Academic Integrity Tutorial quiz to pass which may take several attempts at this quiz. After receiving 90% or above you need to download the certificate as a PDF file and upload to its assignment folder. The Academic Integrity Tutorial hyperlink is at: http://www.umuc.edu/current-students/learning-resources/academic-integrity/tutorial/index.cfm

Quiz 3 must be completed before our next class

The LEO Quizzes contain both multiple choice and True/False questions. The third week you will be permitted to take the quiz only once. You must be logged into LEO to take the quiz and they are timed so allocate 60 minutes. If you walk away and the quiz times out you will receive a zero on that quiz.

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor. There are no required discussions this week.

Week 4: Databases

hwThis week you will be looking at the basic concepts or components used in the construction of database, read about different database structures, and investigate specific security issues related to use of databases. In addition, the relationships between Customer Relationship Management (CRM), data warehouses, and data mining will be introduced.

Content this week

This week we will be discussing Databases in preparation for Assignment 3. I will utilize PowerPoint slides for lecture and discussion. Please print the following PDF files and read the first two documents prior to class and before taking Quiz 4.

MS Access is only available in the Office Professional versions. MacOSX users will not have MS Access on any versions of MS Office, because Microsoft has never ported the Access database application to MacOS. Therefore, if you would like to utilize MS Access to do Assignment 3 you will likely need to utilize the UMUC Computer Lab/Testing Center to utilize MS Access 2010. However, if you have Microsoft Access on your home computer and wish to try it there then go to the appropriate version of Access for tutorials.

Tutorials for Microsoft Access 2016 by Kennesaw State University

Work through the listed tutorials for the version of Microsoft Access you intend to use for this assignment GCF LearnFree Microsoft Access Tutorials

Access 2010 Access 2013 Access 2016
#1 Intro to DataBases #3 Intro to DataBases #1 Intro to DataBases
#2 Intro to Objects #4 Intro to Objects #2 Intro to Objects
#3 Getting Started #5 Getting Started #3 Getting Started
#4 Managing Objects #6 Managing Objects #4 Managing Objects
#5 Working with Tables #7 Working with Tables #5 Working with Tables
#6 Working with Forms #8 Working with Forms #6 Working with Forms
#7 Sorting, Filtering #9 Sorting, Filtering #7 Sorting, Filtering
#8 Designing a Query #10 Designing a Simple Query #8 Designing a Simple Query
#9 More Query Options #11 Designing a Multi-Table Query #9 Designing a Multi-Table Query
#10 Creating Reports #12 More Query Options #10 More Query Options
#13 Creating Forms #13 Creating Reports #11 Creating Reports
#15 Designing Your Own Database #16 Creating Forms #14 Creating Forms
  #18 Designing Your Own Database #16 Designing Your Own Database

Activities this week

Week 4 Discussion - Your life is somewhere in a database

Academic Integrity Tutorial must be completed before Week 6

Assignment 3: Relational Database

Quiz 4 must be completed before our next class

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor. There are no required discussions this week.

Week 5: Networking and Internet

Week 6: Ethics, Privacy, and Security

Week 7: Future created by Technology

Week 8: Research Presentations