The Case for a more rigorous approach to teaching spreadsheet and database applications

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Title: The Case for a more rigorous approach to teaching spreadsheet and database applications
Author: Neely, M. Pamela; Pray, Thoms
Abstract: Although most schools offer and/or require a course in spreadsheet and database applications, the amount of meaningful learning derived from the class varies widely, due in part to a lack of rigor in adjunct instructor led classes. The approach described in this paper involves a combination of demonstration and hands-on practice using two term-long cases to be used in an introductory course in spreadsheet and database applications. These cases, packaged together with slides emphasizing theory, hands-on quizzes and exams that foster critical thinking, can be used across the multiple sections that are taught to maintain consistency within the course and encourage faculty members and students to take the course to a higher level. In order to illustrate that the new methodology makes a difference, we focus on the percentage of As and Bs under both methods. We looked at grades between the New and Old Method for full-time faculty members as well as adjunct faculty members. Also, we looked at a comparison across faculty members for each method. We show that adjunct performance across methods was not significantly impacted, bu the full-time faculty members show a statistical change. We also found that the disparity in grading between full-time faculty members and adjunct faculty members is reduced with this New Method of teaching.
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Date: 2007

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