COMPUTER APPLICATIONS

Back to Table of Contents for the On Course I Workshop

1. Strategy: Graduation Game

Application: Introducing a full-semester project

Educator: Angel Fonseca, Faculty, CIS, Jackson Community College, CA

Implementation: Each semester I assign a course project that will take the entire semester for students to complete. I introduce the project in the second week with the Graduation Game. I break the class into small teams so that all students have an opportunity to both participate and observe. In the game, the teams compete to earn their 30 credits and learn the concept of breaking a project into manageable pieces. Next, I have students identify the different “pieces” of the course project and they set individual deadlines for each piece. In this way, the students build their skills in self-management as they complete the project and learn the course content.

2. Strategy: Affirmations

Application: Beginning Computer Applications Course (to practice using MS Word)

Educator: Melissa Prinzing, Faculty, CIS, Sierra College, CA

Implementation: After learning the most basic skills for using MS Word (word processing software), students need to practice creating documents. Using a variation of Journal 10 in On Course, I tell the students, “In this On Course activity, you will create a personal affirmation using Word. If you repeat your affirmation often, it will help you make choices that will strengthen the personal qualities needed to achieve your goals and dreams.” Then I provide the following directions for the activity:

1. Think about your role as a student and the goals and dreams that motivate you, while you look over On Course Chapter 3, web pages you’ve found, and/or the following web pages:

http://www.affirmations.homestead.com/

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-to-stay-motivated.html

2. Open Microsoft Word. Review the screen elements, use screen tips to remind yourself what the button icons mean. Adjust your view and zoom to your preferences.

3. In a new document, type your name, Lesson #5, your instructor’s name, press Enter a couple of times to leave a blank line or two.

4. Type in the title: Personal Affirmation

5. Have your file on your USB drive with the filename Personal Affirmation. As you are typing, save your work now and then. Press Enter to leave 2 blank lines.

6. Type a one-sentence statement of one of your most motivating goals or dreams in your role as a student. Press Enter a couple of times to leave a blank line or two.

7. Type: Personal Qualities that Would Help me achieve my Educational Goal or Dream

8. Then type a list of positive qualities. Use adjectives like: persistent, intelligent, hard-working, loving, articulate, organized, friendly, confident, relaxed, and so on. Press Enter after each quality. List as many qualities as possible, at least 15. Press Enter twice to leave some space after the end of the list.

9. Look over your list and choose the 3 qualities that seem most essential for you to achieve you goal or dream as a student.

10. Type 3 versions of your personal affirmation by filling in the blanks in the sentence formats A, B and C below. Fill the blanks with the three personal qualities you selected in the previous step. Use the same three qualities in each of the three formats.

Format  A: I am a _____, ______, _____ man/woman.

Example:  I am a strong intelligent, persistent woman.

Format B: I am a ____, ____,____ man/woman, ___ing ____.

Example: I am a strong intelligent, persistent woman, creating my dreams.

Format C: I am a ____, ____ ,___ man/woman, and I _____.

Example:  I am a strong intelligent, persistent woman, and I love life.

11. Choose the sentence format that you like best and type that sentence 5 more times. Leave a blank line between each sentence. The repetition will help you begin taking ownership of your affirmation and its desired qualities.

12. Leave 2 blank lines, then type 3 paragraphs, one for each quality in your affirmation. In each paragraph, describe a specific experience when you displayed your desired quality. You might begin: The first quality from my affirmation is… A specific experience in my life when I demonstrated that quality was… Leave a blank line between paragraphs.

13. Save your file. Back up your file. Print Preview.

14. Print to turn in.

3. Strategy: Personal Responsibility

Application: Beginning Computer Applications course (Creating documents in WordPad)

Educator: Melissa Prinzing, Faculty, CIS, Sierra College, CA

Implementation: When students are practicing creating documents in WordPad, I give them the following exercise based on Journal 3 in On Course. I give students the following directions:

1. Think about Personal Responsibility while you look over On Course Chapter 2, web pages you’ve found, and/or the following web pages:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/how-to-talk-to-a-professor.html
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/handling-the-bad-stuff.html

2. Click the Start button; open All Programs, Accessories; open the Word Pad program.

3. Type your name, Lesson #4, your instructor’s name, press the Enter key a couple of times to leave a blank line or two. Type in a title: Personal Responsibility

4. Save your file on your USB drive with the file name Personal Responsibility. As you are typing, save your work every now and then.

5. Press the Enter key a couple of times to leave a blank line or two.

6. Type the 10 sentence stems as they appear below and type your own words to complete each sentence stem. For example: a student might complete the first sentence as follows: If I take full responsibility for all of my actions, I will accomplish great things.

a. If I take full responsibility for all of my actions, I will…

b. If I take full responsibility for all of my thoughts, I will…

c. If I take full responsibility for all of my feelings, I will…

d. If I take full responsibility for my education, I will…

e. If I take full responsibility for my career, I will…

f. If I take full responsibility for my relationships, I will…

g. If I take full responsibility for my health, I will…

h. If I take full responsibility for all of my that happens to me, I will…

i. When I am acting fully responsible for my life…

j. If I were to create my very best self…

7. Next, press the Enter key a couple of times to leave a blank line or two.

8. Type at least several sentences about what you have learned or relearned in this exercise about personal responsibility and how you will use this knowledge to improve your life. You might begin: By reading and writing about personal responsibility, I have learned…

4. Strategy: Wise Choice Process

Application: Beginning Computer Applications course (Creating documents in WordPad)

Educator: Melissa Prinzing, Faculty, CIS, Sierra College, CA

Implementation: When students are practicing creating documents in WordPad, I give them the following exercise, in which they type the steps of the Wise Choice Process (On Course, Journal 5). I tell the students, “In this On Course activity, you will apply the Wise Choice Process to improve a difficult situating in your life. Think of a current problem that you are comfortable sharing with your classmates and teacher. As a result of this problem, you may be angry, sad, frustrated, depressed, overwhelmed, or afraid. Perhaps the situation has to do with a grade you received, a teacher’s comments, or a classmate’s action. Maybe the problem relates to a relationship, a job, or your health. The Wise Choice Process can help you make an empowering choice in any part of your life,” and provide the following directions for the activity:

1. Think about Making Wise Choices and Personal Responsibility while you look over On Course Chapter 2.

2. Click the Start button; open All Programs, Accessories; open the Word Pad program.

3. Type your name, Lesson #4, your instructor’s name, press the Enter a couple of times to leave a blank line or two.

4. Type in a title: Wise Choice Process

5. Save your file on your USB drive with the file name: Wise Choice Process. As you are typing, save your work every now and then.

6. Press the Enter key a couple of times to leave a blank line or two.

7. Type in the 6 steps of the Wise Choices Process from the On Course text and complete them.

8. Next, press the Enter key a couple of times to leave a blank line or two.

9. Type at least several sentences about what you have learned or relearned by working through the Wise Choice Process and how you will use this knowledge to improve your life. You might begin: By doing the Wise Choice Process, I have learned that I…

10. Save your file. Backup your file.

11. Print to turn in.

5. Strategy: Jigsaw

Application: Fundamentals of Computer Science

Educator: Anthony Tuiono, Faculty, CIS, San Joaquin Delta College, CA

Implementation: In home groups of four, have students choose to become experts in four aspects of Networking and Data Communication: 1) Security and viruses, 2) Physical medias, 3) Protocols and 4) Applications. Have students research their chosen topic for at least one week. They can use any resources, including the course text book and the Internet. In Step B, experts meet and exchange ideas on what they have learned. In Step C, experts return to their home groups and teach what they have learned.

6. Strategy: Working Together (Case Study based on “the Late Paper”)

Application: Beginning Computer Applications course

Educator: Melissa Prinzing, Faculty, CIS Sierra College, CA

Implementation: In the past, I have had problems with occasional pairs of students creating one computer project, working together on one computer to produce one file. They printed two copies and each student turned in a copy as if it was his/her own work. In my classes, there are many opportunities to consult and collaborate, but each student must produce his/her own computer projects to turn in. Each time this happened, the confrontation was awkward. The students would always say that it was not their fault because they were ignorant of the rules, even though the rules are in the syllabus and were stated on the first day of the class. As a result, I decided to write my own case study called “Working Together” based on the “Late Paper” case study. The case study and follow up discussion, presented early in the semester, help to highlight what is appropriate and what is not, while pointing out to students the responsibility each student must take for their own success.

“Working Together” Case Study

KIM, a student in Professor Alvarez’s Computer Applications class, arrived on the first day thinking, “I hope I actually learn to use my computer better, especially Excel.” Kim sat down next to SUE who was taking the course because it was required her Marketing degree.

Prof. Alvarez welcomed the students and announced, “Today you will work in groups to become experts on different parts of the syllabus and then you will tell the class the information you think is most important. For homework you should all re-read the entire syllabus.”

Kim’s group worked together and a spokesperson briefly reported, “He wants us to make friends, work together, and help each other. You even get extra credit if you form a study group!” Sue’s group reported on academic honesty, “Uh, don’t cheat, and, uh, do all your own work.”

Kim arrived at class each day prepared and enthusiastic, but sometimes she felt guilty that her studies kept her from spending enough time with her family. Sue usually had her work done, but felt some resentment about having to do it. Soon, Kim and Sue started to work together in the lab. They found that as a team they worked faster, learned more, and had more fun. If either one got bogged down or stuck, the other explained what to do.

One day, Sue arrived in lab complaining, “I failed my math test. I had a fight with my boyfriend. I am so tired!” Kim, sympathetic and rather tired herself replied, “Oh, yeah, and can you believe Prof. Alvarez is making us do so many Excel projects this week! We only have two done and there are two more to do!” Then an idea seemed to come to them both at the same time. “What if I work on the first problem while you do the second one? This will speed things up for us, and we really need that this week….” They were pleased to get the projects done quickly. They discussed all the formulas with each other and felt they had both fully studied all the material.

When Prof. Alvarez returned the papers, there was a zero on both Kim’s and Sue’s assignments. He had scrawled a brief note on Kim’s that said, “This looks just like Sue’s work. You must do your own work. Let’s talk.” Hurt and embarrassed, Kim thought, “He thinks we cheated! We just helped each other! I thought we were supposed to work together!”

Sue’s paper had a similar note. Angry, she thought, “How dare he accuse me of cheating! He has no idea how hard I have been working! So, I guess he won’t let us work together anymore!”

Kim approached Prof. Alvarez, “I didn’t copy. We worked on it together.” Prof. Alvarez replied, “To earn credit, all students must do all their own work.” “But,” he smiled, “it is only one assignment. Just don’t do it again. You can do some extra credit if you want.” Kim headed to the lab thinking, “I don’t want any more zeros! I sure won’t let that happen again!”

Meanwhile, Sue avoided the lab. The computer work she turned in was incomplete and full of errors. Her scores were very low. After several low scoring assignments, she felt she had no choice but to drop the class.

* * * * *

Listed below are the characters in this story. Rank them in order of their responsibility for Sue’s failure to complete the course. Give a different score to each character. Be prepared to explain your answer.

Most Responsible <== 1 2 3 ==> Least Responsible

___Professor Alvarez

___Kim

___Sue

What are some things each character could have done differently? What would have been the likely results?

7. Strategy: Jigsaw

Application: Basis Computer Programming (Understanding Loop Types)

Educator: Anonymous

Implementation: Step A: Assign students to a group and have each choose a loop type. Let each group know which pages of the text and instructor’s notes cover the loop type they’ve been assigned to. Tell students to do the necessary reading, plus the following three tasks for the next class period.
*Develop an outline (notes) to provide an overview of the loop concepts (ultimately shared with all other students, potentially on a wiki)
*Completely decipher the sample loops provided in the text and instructor’s notes so that they can explain how they work
*Develop two additional, real-world uses for their assigned loop including sample code. Suggest to students that they read the review exercises at the end of the text’s chapter searching for problems that could be solved using their type of loop (but do not tell them which problems those might be). Student examples can come from the text or can be completely original.
Step B: Have the expert groups review and consolidate their notes (to be shared with all other students). Have the expert groups share and update their analysis of the provided text/notes loops. Have the expert groups share, troubleshoot and improve their additional looping examples.
Step C: Have the experts return to their groups to: teach the loop concepts; hand out the group expert outlines; explain the processing of the text’s sample loops; share all the expert-developed loop examples but discuss the best one in detail.
Step D: Instructor answers any remaining questions. Instructor discusses how, in many circumstances, multiple kinds of loops can be used to solve the same problem (if that doesn’t come up in other discussions).

8. Strategy: Wise Choice Process

Application: Database project (or other computer based project)

Educator: Loraine Miller, Faculty, Cayuga Community College, NY

Implementation: I assign my students a semester-long, fairly extensive database project. They often encounter problems along the way. This strategy helps them identify the problem, brainstorm possible options and predict probable outcomes for each one before deciding their next step. During the fifth week of the semester, have student form group of 2 or 3. In the small groups, students take turns guiding each other through the Wise Choice Process to come up with the best solution to their project problem. Students ask:
1. What obstacle have you encountered in your Project?
2. What would you like your project to be (i.e. finished project)?
3. What are your choices at this point?
4. What is the likely outcome/consequence of each of these choices?
5. What choice will you commit to (what is your plan of action)?
6. When and how will you assess your plan?
Students complete the Wise Choice Process in writing as well, providing one copy for the instructor and keeping one for him/herself. At week 10, groups reconvene to discuss progress to-date, and revisit choices if needed.

9. STRATEGY: JIGSAW

Application: Computer Graphics/Photoshop 1

Educator: Brian Sinclair, Faculty, Computers, Modesto Junior College, CA

Implementation: Place students in home groups of four. Group members choose to become experts on tools and interface devices in one of 4 areas in Adobe Photoshop: 1. Selection tools; 2. Layer and Layer Concepts; 3. Color and Value Adjustments; 4. Brushes and Artistic Tools. Give students time to do research. After studying their topic, experts meet and share idea about their respective topic. Then they return to home group and teach others what they’ve learned. Maybe a two class exercise.

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