The text contains many different types of instruction to hopefully address different types of learners. There are two main components: hardcopy and online. In addition, there are numerous instructor resources provided for professors. These resources can be accessed through Pearson Higher Education.
In the hardcopy, the text is presented topically rather than sequentially, but hopefully with enough autonomy for each piece to stand alone. For example, we routinely discuss only part of the Excel material in our first semester course, and leave the rest to the second semester. There are some topics (such as interpolation) that we simply tell our students we expect them to know and do not spend any class time discussing. We hope this will give you the flexibility to choose how deeply into any given topic you wish to dive, depending on the time you have, the starting abilities of you students, and the outcomes of your course. More information about topic sequence options can be found in the instructor’s manual, available from Pearson Higher Education.
Within the text, there are several checkpoints for students to see if they understand the material. Within the reading are Comprehension Checks, and the answers are provided in the back of the book. At the end of each chapter, In-Class Activities are given to reinforce the material in the chapter. These are meant to be at least started in class, so students can ask for help if needed. The Review sections at the end of each part provide further questions, often combining skills within the part to help students climb to the next level of understanding. Answers to the ICA and Review questions are provided for instructors.
Finally, in the instructor’s resources, we have provided a series of Umbrella Projects to allow students to apply skills they have mastered to real problems. We have found the use of these problems extremely helpful in providing context to the skills we are attempting to have them learn.
Knowing that every student learns in a different way, we have included several things in addition to traditional text. Each section within a chapter has an accompanying set of lecture slides. Within these slides, the examples presented are unique from those in the text to provide another set of sample solutions. The slides are presented with voiceover, which has allowed us to move away from traditional in-class lecture. We expect the students to listen to the slides outside of class, and then in-class we typically spend time working problems, reviewing assigned problems, and providing “wrap-up” lectures – mini-versions of the full lectures to summarize what they should have gotten from the assignment. We expect the students to come to class with questions from the reading and lecture that we can then help clarify. We find with this method the students pay more attention, as the terms and problems are already familiar and they are more able to vocalize what they don’t know. Furthermore, they can always go back and listed to the lectures again to reinforce as many times as they need.
Some sections of this text are difficult to lecture on, and students will learn this material best by working through examples. This is especially true with Excel, so you will notice that many of the Excel lectures are shorter than previous material. With Excel, the examples are scripted the first time a skill is presented, and students are expected to have their laptop open and working through the examples (not just reading them). When students ask us question in this section, we often start the answer by “show us your work from Chapter XX.” If the student has not actually worked the examples in that chapter, we tell them to do so first – often, this will answer their questions.
After the first few basic problems, in many cases where we are discussing more advanced skills than data entry, we have provided starting worksheets and code in the online version by “hanging” the worksheets within the online text. Students can access the starting data through the online copy of the book.
In some cases though, it is difficult to explain a skill on paper, or even with slides, so for these instances we have included videos.
Finally, for the communication section, we have provided templates for several types of reports and presentations. These can also be accessed in the online version.