Schedule | Course Description | Texts | Grading | Tests | Group Presentation | Homework | Cheating Policy | Incompletes | Extra Credit | Obscenity & Profanity

Instructor: Nora McDougall-Collins
Scheduled Classes:

Lecture: Wednesday 9:10 - 10:00 am (both sections for lecture) HS207 Map
Section 10: Monday and Friday 10:10 - 11:00
LA 206
Section 11: Monday and Friday 11:10 - 12:00
LA 206

Office: CS404 - Go to the Social Sciences Building - Floor 4N - first left after the office - end of hall on the right
Office Hours: Wednesday from 10:10 - 12:00 am
Cell Phone: 406.253-4045 - Please do not call before 9:00 am or after 9:00 pm. This phone number is not a Missoula number. If you are calling from a land line, you will have to dial 406.
Email: - FOR ASSIGNMENTS TO BE EMAILED- don't send questions to this address - FOR QUESTIONS - don't send things to be graded to this address

Course Description (in Nora's words)
The purpose of this class is to teach you how to use the basic office spreadsheets and database as a tool to analyze data for management-level decisions. The reason it's called "Computer Modeling" is that you will use the software to show (model) information about real life scenarios. In this class the assignments and activities in this class will be "models" of what happens in real organizations. Two goals in this class are 1) to prepare you for the next level of computer classes for your major, esp. Business Administration, 2) to teach spreadsheet and database skills for your professional work.

The main skill areas covered will be 1) designing and using spreadsheets with Microsoft Excel and 2) designing and using relational database with Microsoft Access.

From the catalog: "Prereq., previous computer experience and Math 100 or equiv. score on math placement test, or consent of instr."

Plain English version: To be successful in this class, you will need to come to class with basic computer skills, including how to use Windows, how to save and retrieve files, how to create, send and manage emails, etc. and basic math and algebra skills, especially related to creating formulas. If you do not have these skills, it would be in your best interest to learn those skills first and take this course later. I will be delighted to help you with the material covered by this class, but there isn't time to teach the prerequisite skills as part of the course. If you are new to computers and are still determined to take this course, I recommend that you work with a tutor on basic computer skills.

Exploring Microsoft Office 2007 by Grauer, Hulett, Krebs, Lockley, Mulbery, Scheeren. (This is the custom edition for University of Montana) ISBN# 013-235-6686. You should receive a bundled package, which includes a CD.

Total %


93 - 100


90 - 92
87 - 89
83 - 86
80 - 82
77 - 79
73 - 76
70 - 72
67 - 69
63 - 66
60 - 62
0 - 59

You will be graded on (TBD) homework assignments, two presentations, and a final exam. Extra credit will be available at specific times. Note: the presentations take the place of exams and are the way that you demonstrate that you have mastered the course material.
If you would like to take this class as Pass/Not Pass, a C or above is considered passing.
      Homework: 50%
      Final: 25%
Final points will be rounded.

These numbers are the minimum. That means that if you have that %, your minimum grade will be the one given. I reserve the right to award students a higher grade based on more than average effort. Although class attendance is not included in the minimum grades, class attendance and participation is one way to demostrate effort. Also, note that since the presentations are be based on the work of a team for presentations, if I note that someone is not doing their share of the work or causing the team to lose points, that person may receive a lower grade.

If you have concerns about your grade, please come to my office hours during the semester. I will keep everything archived. I don't mind going over your work and grades within reason, but I will give time priority to students who need help with coursework and other timely work. Do not expect to come to me at the end of the semester to make everything up. If you don't keep up with the work throughout the semester, it's your responsibility.

If you choose to take this class Pass/Not Pass, you must have at least a C to pass, as is recommended by the dean of the CS department.

Group Presentations (Midterm tests)
In your professional life you will have to: 1) work with other people - some of whom will drop the ball on you, 2) make presentations or persuade someone that you need something (sales, business loans, etc.) This course will "model" this situation by using two class presentations as your midterm exams. Your teammates and classmates will be determining part of your grade. So, if you shirk your part of the group project, you will see it reflected in your grade. See the schedule for more specifics on the presentations.

The homework assignments for this class will be based on modifications of the Capstone Exercises at the end of the chapters in your text. The first assignment will be an email where you describe your organization. I recommend that you choose an organization related to your major, somewhere you've worked, or something you'd actually enjoy managing.

The text for this course has step-by-step exercises for the skills covered in this course. I recommend that you do these exercises. The actual homework assignments are designed to show that you have learned these skills and can use them in new situations.

I will cover almost every aspect of the assignments during class and lab time. However, you may find that these skills are completely new. If you find yourself pulling frustrated, don't spend hours fighting the programs - COME TO OFFICE HOURS FOR HELP! The purpose for my office hours is to be available for help. If I don't see you throughout the semester, I will assume you are doing fine.

I also recommend that you form study groups to help each other. Anyone who has enough personal experience with the material covered to lead a small group will be allowed to trade time for an assignment. You will learn as much from helping someone as from doing the assignment. Please contact me if you are interested in further details.

If you want top grades for your homework, I expect to see more than the minimal or average amount of work to fulfill the homework requirements. All of you will be entering a competitive environment when you graduate. You will need creativity, perseverance and professionalism. That's what it will take to earn top grades in this class. You won't be able to do your assignments in the last few minutes before the due date.

Back everything up! Keep everything until your final grade is confirmed. Every semester, I have students lose their work because of disk failure. It's not my responsibility to do your backups. If a disk you turn in is your only copy, and it's bad, it's your problem, not mine. If you have a computer failure, I will be happy to send you a copy of any assignments I have stored.

Due dates will be posted with each assignment. Late assignments will be accepted, but 10% of the earned points will be deducted per late day, except in documentable emergencies. That means I'd better have a pieces of paper or something I can verify to prove you really did have an emergency. You can, however, turn in an incomplete assignment for partial credit.

Since your assignments will be turned in digitally, you may want to have a way to be sure that your assignment was received successfully. Backing up with a paper copy is a common way to do that. I will accept and file a paper copy of your homework the class after the assignment was due. If there are problems with your submission, this paper copy will verify that you did the assignment and buy you consideration!

About submitting your homework:

  • Because of several weeks of issues with Blackboard, Fall 2008 assignments will be submitted to Hopefully, the issues with Blackboard will be resolved.
  • Homework submitted to other email accounts will not be graded.
  • The Subject Line for each assignment will be included in the assignment. Emails with different Subject Lines will not be opened. This is very important to avoid spam problems.
  • All Excel spreadsheet assignments will be added to the same file. There will be occassional supplementary files that you will include in your submission. That means that your Excel file will change over time. Each time you send the file, there should be changes from that assignment.

Due dates:
1) only assignments specifically requested as emails will be accepted as emails, these assignments are due at midnight on the stated date;
2) hand-in assignments are due by 5:00 of the date given on the assignment - these can be put in my box in the CS office. The CS office phone number is 243-2830.
3) if there should be an extension of an assignment due date, the assignment will be due at the end of either your lab time or lecture time of the extended date.
4) presentation materials are due at the end of your presentation. Late materials will be accepted for 1 week with a 10% grade cut.

Extra Credit
Everyone has busy schedules and unexpected situations. There will be various extra credit opportunities during the semester. None of these will involve cramming a semester's worth of work in at the end of the semester. Extra credit will be given for extra effort during the course of the semester.

You are responsible for all material covered and announcements made in class, including schedule and class changes. Since almost all assignments and information required for exams will be covered in class, it will probably be a good use of your time to attend. Not knowing about something discussed in class, is not an excuse for anything.

*From UM Student Policies: "Students are expected to attend all class meetings and complete all assignments for courses in which they are enrolled."

In this class, working together and getting ideas from outside sources is not considered cheating, as long as you create the work you turn in for credit and can show that your own ideas are an integral part of your work. Please make reference to your sources at the bottom of your homework. If any question about the possibilities of cheating arise, the references to your sources, and your ability to explain the details of your work, will be your defense. If it is determined that you have cheated or abused the conditions of either assignments or exams, you will receive a 0% grade for that test or assignment.

Campus policy on Incompletes can be found on this page.

Please treat this course as a professional situation. I will assume that the same rules of conduct that would apply in any office or professional setting apply in this class. Please keep all profanity and obscenity out of submitted work and communication, both with me, as with your fellow students. The Computer Science Department has written obscenity/profanity rules or guidelines. If you have any questions, please check with the Computer Science office - 4th floor of the Social Sciences building.

Students with Disabilities
If you have a physical disability that will affect your performance in this class, please notify the instructor at the beginning of the semester so that reasonable accommodation can be made.

Please note that your instructor has a hearing loss on the right side. If there is a great deal of noise in the class, I won't be able to distinguish speech or I may not be able to tell who is speaking. I will ask that, during class time, non-essential noise be kept to a minimum. Please be considerate to the learning evironment and do not talk to your neighbor during lectures or question and answer time. If this becomes a problem, I may have to ask you to leave the class for your conversation. Thanks!

Examples of Lame Excuses - names withheld to protect those who should be embarrassed.



Nora McDougall | Missoula, Montana 59801 | 406.253.4045 |
© 2008, Nora McDougall