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November 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


Class #11: Linking Across Softwares

November 20, 2015 in Comp_Lab

As a warmup, reread your “value proposition” you wrote during Class #9, and rewrite a new version of it.  Remember, writing your resume is an ongoing activity, changing as your life changes.  Type your revision as a comment at the bottom of this post.

It’s hard to believe with this weather, but we are rapidly reaching the end of the year.  Next week, the campus will be closed, so please remember to get online next weekend for a “remote learning” class.  There will be an assignment posted next weekend, and you must complete it before December 4th to receive credit for it.

activityOne of the things I will be doing for next week’s virtual class is give you feedback on your submitted assignments by emailing you through your WordPress account activity feed.  You can access your feed by clicking on your name (after you sign in) on the upper right corner of your webpage.  Then click on the ‘Activity’ link on the dropdown menu.  That link will take you to a list of all of the posts you have created for this class.  Look for any comments I may have sent you for feedback on what revisions you should make to your assignments.

Please try to complete the following homework assignments by before Thanksgiving if you want feedback to raise your scores:

In Class Assignment

A touch up from our last Excel class — Dow Jones Industrial Average data can be downloaded at the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) website.

Let’s start with making some Excel Charts.  There has been a perpetual din about government expenditures. Let’s paint a picture.  The following data comes from the Office of Management and Budget, Table 3.2.  The numbers represent how many millions of dollars were spent on these activities last year.

Function FY 2012 FY 2013
National Defense $677,856 $633,385
International Affairs 47,189 46,418
General Science, Space, and Technology 29,060 28,908
Energy 14,857 11,042
Natural Resources and Environment 41,628 38,145
Agriculture 17,791 29,492
Commerce and Housing Credit 40,823 -83,199
Transportation 93,019 91,673
Community and Regional Development 25,132 32,336
Education, Training, Employment, and Social Services 90,823 72,808
Health 346,742 358,315
Medicare 471,793 497,826
Income Security 541,344 536,511
Social Security 632,903 757,542
Veterans Benefits and Services 124,595 138,938
Administration of Justice 56,277 52,601
General Government 28,036 27,755
Net Interest 220,408 220,885

I’d like everybody to

  1. make a pie chart from the FY 2012 data, sorted from low to high, with category name and percentage labels and leader lines.  Delete any labels for expenditures 1% or less of the total budget.  Color the wedges in aesthetically pleasing ways.  
  2. make a column chart from the FY 2013, sorted from high to low, no labels.  Use a gradient fill on the bars.
    NOTE: the simplest way to graph only the FY 2013 data is to select all of the data, insert the column chart, and then drag the highlighted data to the right so only the FY 2013 data is selected.

Delete the legend from both graphs.

Excel-lent Formulas

fxConverting columns of numbers into visually appealing charts is the best part of Excel. Running a close second is Excel’s function button.  Any time you need to do a calculation, the function button can do it for you .  Let’s see how it works.

A common question asked about the federal budget is how much more (or less) money a program receives from year to year.  Let’s calculate the difference in expenditures from FY 2012 to 2013.

  1. In cell D2, type the equals sign, ‘=’ .
  2. Then click on Cell C2.
  3. Now type a minus sign, ‘-‘.
  4. Now click on Cell B2, and hit the Enter key.

Instead of seeing a bunch of math symbols in the cell, you should see a number.  When you start typing in an Excel cell with an equals sign, you are telling Excel to do a calculation, in this case you are saying, “take away the number in cell B2 from the number in cell C2.”  So 633, 385 – 677,856 = -44,471.  But instead of doing the calculation ourselves, we can have Excel do it for us.

Now comes the fun part, “click and drag”.  Move the mouse cursor so that is it over the bottom right corner of Cell D2. The mouse cursor should change from a white fat plus sign to a black think plus sign.  Now hold the left mouse button down and drag down to Cell D19.  You should now see numbers in all of the highlighted cells.  We have just told Excel to do the same calculation for Rows 3 to 19.

Let’s try another function, this time division.  The percentage change from year to year is the difference between the two years (we calculated this in Column D) divided by the original value (the numbers in Column B.  So let’s repeat the procedure:

  1. In cell E2, type the equals sign, “=”.
  2. Then click on Cell D2.
  3. Now type a divide sign, “/”.
  4. Now click on Cell B2, and hit the Enter key.

You should see a number less than 1 with a bunch of digits.  Let’s view this number as a percentage.

  1. Highlight Column E, and click on the Home menu tab.
  2. Click on the Percent button in the Number section. Now the ugly number has changed to a simple percent, -7%.
  3. Click and drag from Cell F2 to Cell E19.  You should now see a bunch of percents.

Sort the percentages from high to low, and make a column chart.

Now the core of this lesson: let’s see how we can print out these charts in easily viewable ways.

Embedding Excel Charts

When a news reported is “embedded” into an Army division, it means that the reporter goes wherever the division goes, they are one and the same unit.  Embedding Excel files in a PowerPoint slide means the same thing – it’s all part of PowerPoint. There are two ways to embed Excel graphs into PowerPoint, as a “flat” picture, or as a Excel container.

pictureIf you don’t intend to make revisions to the graph, pasting the Excel graph into PowerPoint as a picture is the best way to go.  Once you have selected and copied (Ctrl-c) the graph in Excel, toggle (Alt-Tab) to a blank PowerPoint slide, right click and select the ‘Picture (GIF)’ option.  Now you have a picture of an Excel graph on a PowerPoint slide!

embedIf you plan to make future edits to the graph, you can embed the graph as an Excel object as well.  Instead of choosing the Picture option, select the ‘Microsoft Office Graphic Object’.  Once the object is pasted in, you can click on it and reformat the way the graph looks if you like.

Years ago, when Microsoft Office first created this embedding option, embedding Excel into PowerPoint could make the slide unstable, so to this day if I know I’m going to make future edits to the Excel graph, I use the second technique, paste linking.

Paste Linking

paste_specialThis technique does not place Excel into PowerPoint, instead if you double click on the image, it will open up Excel, and then you can make whatever edits to the graph you desire.  When you ‘Paste Special’, click on the ‘Paste Link’ button, and click OK.  Now you have a PowerPoint slide with an Excel graph that you can open up in Excel to make edit with.


Now that we have our Excel graphs in PowerPoint, we can use PowerPoint editing techniques to make the slides/printouts look professional.  Type your name into the heading boxes, and print out your slides.

Homework #11

Paste link all of the graphs you make today, and your stock run (Homework #4), into a PowerPoint file.  Type in a title for each slide, and upload both the Excel and PowerPoint file into one post, titled, “Homework #11.”

Class #10: ¡No dandole el boton!

November 13, 2015 in Comp_Lab

Since we only got through half of last week’s lesson due to an 85° F classroom, let’s recap where we are.  We talked a little about how post-Recession resumes are different than 20th century resumes.  The companies own the employees now, and even before you’re hired these days, you have to prove that you are an asset to their bottom line.  Value Propositions replace Objectives at the top of the resume.  For some people, the functional resume  may be a better format than a chronological resume,  We ended the class with the difficult task of writing a 2-3 value proposition of your skill sets.

Today we will complete the resume lesson, focusing on more Word functions that can help make your resume more appealing and eye-catching to a recruiter.  But first, let’s peruse the virtual help wanted pages.

In Class Assignment #10

Check out a couple of job search websites listed on the right side of this webpage.  Find a job you have at least a little interest in learning about.  Type a reply at the bottom of this post listing which job search website you liked and why, as well as a job you might be interested in applying for.

Making a Resume from Scratch

Let’s switch gears and start thinking about making our resumes look professionally formatted. To do so, we need to learn some more Word functions.  Here’s my resume, which we’ll use as a reference.


If you use the space bar to move words around on the page (tap tap tap tap), you’re doing it wrong!  Trying to center your name at the top of your resume with the space bar never works, and looks unprofessional.  Hitting the Enter key to move a line down on the page creates either too much or too little white space. Learning how to use some basic Word formatting techniques will take you a long way to making your resume look a lot more professional.  Here are some of the most common:

  1. Paragraph Formatting — We already know how to use Page Layout to move the text borders around on the page, but suppose you want to indent a paragraph like your Value Proposition to give it some visual impact on the page — you can’t use the Page Layout more than once, so we have to individually format that paragraph. After selecting a paragraph you want to format, click on the Home menu, and click on the little Paragraph dialog button, on the bottom right of the Paragraph section.  In the dialog box that pops up, you can change the text alignment to left, center, right or justify.  You can make the first line hang or indent on the Special drop down box. You can specify how much space you want between each line in the line spacing box.
    There are two options in this dialog box that aren’t so obvious, and yet are critical to producing a professional looking document: Spacing and Indentation.  Spacing allows you to define how much white space will be above and below your highlighted paragraph.  And Indent does the same for the left and right sides of the paragraph. This is how you should add white space around a paragraph, not by hitting the Enter button.
  2. Tab Settings — You often see dates of employment pushed up on the right side of the text margin.  Never use the space bar to do this!  Instead, use the tab ribbon along the top of the text box. If you don’t see it, click on the View Ruler button that is just above the elevator bar on the right side of the window. On the left side of the ruler is a small square that allows you to define left, center and right align tabs.  Once you define what kind of tab you want, you just click on the ruler where you want the tab to be set.  Then hit the tab button to position your text where you want it.
  3. Bullets — Fun Time! The bullet button is in the Paragraph section of the Home menu.  You can define a new bullet from the drop down arrow that’s just below the button. You can use symbols or even pictures for bullets.
  4. Page Lines — Underlining words is kind of boring.  You can add a line that goes across the page by highlighting some text, clicking the border drop down button, click on Borders and Shading, go to the ‘Apply to:” dropdown on the right bottom of the dialog box, and select Paragraph.  Then select a 1½ point line, and click on the bottom side button.

So let’s use the functions to set up some pieces of the resume.

Here are the page formatting specifications for the text:

  • Top Margin = 1.25″, Bottom Margin = .75″, Left Margin = 1.5″, Right Margin = 1″
  • Body text is Univers 14pt
  • Set the Line spaces (Paragraph formating) to Single for the entire document.
  • Type your name on the first line of a new Word document.  Make the test 20 point bold and italics.  Center it, and add 12 points of white space below it.  Add a page line under your name.
  • Type a paragraph about what you would like to do over Thanksgiving break. Add 12 points of white space above and below the paragraph.   Full justify the paragraph.
  • Create a bulleted list of at least 3 specific activities you would like to do over Thanksgiving break. Use paragraph formatting to indent the paragraph half an inch on the left and right sides.  Add 18 points of white space only below the paragraph
  • On the final line (not bulletted), type ‘Computer Class #10′. Then use a right-align tab to tab the date to the end of the line.  Add 48 points of space above the paragraph.
  • In the footer, add Filename and Date Field codes.  Use a right align tab on the Date.  Format the font to 10 point italics.

Homework #10: Customizing a Resume

  1. Compose a well thought out, well written value proposition for yourself that includes
    • Job title
    • 1-2 sentences with descriptive action verbs, explaining your skill sets, and what kind of job you’re looking for
    • Post your value proposition as a comment to this post.
  2. Find the best resume template and/or career format possible that is appropriate to your job search, searching the links in the above post, and on the right side of this page.
    Spend at least half an hour looking for the best one possible that suits your needs!
  3. Save the Word template to your flash drive.
  4. Copy the URL link and paste it into a post page.
  5. Begin changing the resume template into your own personal resume, using the Word functions we learned about in today’s class.

Class #9: Resume Redux

November 6, 2015 in Comp_Lab

Objectives are out.  Value Propositions are in.
Here’s a worksheet to help you learn the difference.

This is not your father’s resume we’re talking about anymore.  The Great Recession has forced all of us to adapt our resumes to new realities in the American work force.  Some aspects of the resume spring eternal, like action verbs, and professional profiles. Keeping current with what’s hot in resume writing means skimming blogswikis, and retooling your LinkedIn contact info.  Job Hunt, a program on NYC Media – that’s Channel 25-2 if you’re an antenna lover like me 😉 – address a plethora of job search issues.  Episode 3 focuses on resume writing.

Here’s my LinkedIn profile:

So how do I write a resume? Here are a couple of good online tutorials:

There’s a list of links to the right that access resume examples for various careers. Finally, there are two categories of resumes, the chronological resume and the functional resume.  Each category organizes the basic sections of a resume in different ways.

Here’s the bottom line: if you’re like me, writing your resume can be difficult, if not painful.  But writing your resume is something you’re going to have to do for pretty much the rest of your life, so you might as well suck it up, and start writing it.  The best writing is rewriting, and once you’ve created a template to build on, adding a line here and tweeking some type there when you get a new job or experience isn’t so bad.  As your years start accumulating, your resume will be more and more impressive, and the investment you make, now, in knocking out a totally awesome resume, with your name on the top, will yield you many dividends towards job opportunities down the road.  So let’s get cracking.

In Class Assignment

Post a comment at the bottom of this post, a 1-2 sentence value proposition.

Class #8: Halfway Through!

October 30, 2015 in Comp_Lab

Besides sharing our PowerPoint presentations, each of you will receive an assignment sheet with three parts to it: making a Word outline from one of the documents below, adding some “hot key” characters to the bottom of it, and reformatting one of the speeches at the end of this post.  The outline and hotkeys are due by the end of this class, and the reformatting assignment, as well as your resume are due a week from today, 11/6.

Click on the links below to download the required text documents to complete your outline and “Popul Vul” assignments. Do not print out anything! Save trees! Upload your completed assignments to your post page.  Refer to last week’s post for the grading rubric.

Outline Materials

US Constitution

  • Level 1 = Article
  • Level 2 = Section
  • Level 3 = Clause

us constitution

NYS Constitution

  • Level 1 = Article
  • Level 2 = Line below Article
  • Level 3 = §

NYS Constitution

Penal Code 220

  • Level 1 = Article
  • Level 2 = Section
  • Level 3 = (#)
  • Level 4 = (a)

penal code 210

Penal Code 212

  • Level 1 = Article
  • Level 2 = Section
  • Level 3 = (#)
  • Level 4 = (a)

penal code 212

 “Popul  Vul” format

General Instructions:

In the Header of your document, type your name, tab once, and type “Computer Lab Midterm.”
Format the font as 14 point, bold.

In the Footer of your document, insert the FileName, Page, and Date field codes.
Format the font as 10 point, italic.

Declaration of Independence

  1. Italicize and increase by 4 points, “When in the Course of human events”
  2. Bold “Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God”
  3. Bold and italicize every “we”
  4. Small caps “Declaration,” Providence,” “Lives,” “Fortunes,” and “Honor” in the last sentence

Declaration of Independence

Gettysburg Address

  1. Italicize and increase by 4 points, “four score and seven years ago”
  2. Bold “Liberty”
  3. Bold and italicize every “we”
  4. Small caps “of,” “by,” and “for,” on the last line

gettysburg address

I have a Dream

  1. Italicize and increase by 4 points, “Five score years ago”
  2. Bold “Emancipation Proclamation”
  3. Bold and italicize every “Negro”
  4. Small caps “New Hampshire,” “New York,” “Pennsylvania,” “Colorado,” “California,” “Georgia,” “Tennessee,” and “Mississippi”

I have a dream

Endure and Prevail

  1. Italicize and increase by 4 points, “agony and sweat of the human spirit”
  2. Bold “general and universal physical fear”
  3. Bold and italicize every “man” and “human”
  4. Small caps “dingdong of doom” and “endure and prevail”

Endure and Prevail

Class #7: En busca del Huracán

October 23, 2015 in Comp_Lab

Halfway through fall semester!  Here’s what you can expect on the midterm next week:

  1. Everyone will have 5 minutes to present their PowerPoint getaway vacation.  Points will be given for :
    • 5 points — Eye catching pictures: not skewed, filling the entire slide
    • 5 points — Title Slide, with a short phrase describing what your presentation is about
    • 5 points — Text Slides, with short, bulleted summaries of what makes your vacation desirable/interesting
    • 5 points — Complementary color palette that connects to your talking points
    • 5 points — Font choice that also connects to your talking points
    • 10 points — Overall “look and feel” to your slides: are they all consistent in terms of fonts, colors, layout (do they conform to the template)?
  2. Take home component, the Word and Excel files must be uploaded to your post page no later than noon, November 6th,
    • 20 points — “Popul Vul” format — you will be given some text to be reformatted, page layout, adding a header, footer and field codes
    • 15 points — Excel pie & bar charts.  You will be given two data tables, and a printout of how the pie and bar charts should look
  3. In class component, these tasks must be completed before the end of class, October 30th.
    • 10 points — a short Word outline.
    • 5 points — “hotkey” paragraph.
  4. You will receive 15 points for demonstrating you know how to use WordPress functions (e.g. logging in, creating a post, uploading media). If you have been completing the homework assignments, you should get all of the points no problem.  I will have all homework assignments assessed by next week.

That’s a total of 100 points for the midterm.

In addition, here is a list of the in-class and homework assignments to date:

  • Class #1:
    In-class: posting a comment
    Homework: Internet scavenger hunt
  • Class #2:
    In-class: posting a comment about Internet databases, Word NBA outline
    Homework: Word outline
  • Class #3:
    In-class: upload a picture of your dream vacation on your post page
    Homework: set up your PowerPoint template
  • Class #4:
    Homework: choose a Wall Street stock and create an Excel scatter plot of its share price
  • Class #5:
    Homework: Revise timesheet spreadsheet with new start and end times each day, and calculate total paycheck based on different payrates.
  • Class #6:
    In-class: evaluate a typing tutor website
    Homework: upload Word hotkey assignment
  • Class #7:
    In-class: Recreate an excerpt from the Popul Vul, looking exactly like the printout
    Homework: Recreate a “lorem ipsum” excerpt, looking exactly like the printout

In Search of Our Internal Chucky

Many online literature resources exist, but between the popups and ugly formatting, many Internet texts are almost unreadable.  Here’s an example:

The Book of the People:Popol Vuh

Childs-play-chucky-imageThe prototype for Chucky, Taino mythology is utterly fascinating, its gods malevolently malicious, utterly incorrigible.  But it’s utterly unreadable (boring!) the way it’s formatted on the page.  Let’s see how we can touch it up, using Word hotkeys along the way.

Creating a Word document is similar to putting together PowerPoint slides — you have to give some thought to how the text will appear on the page before you actually start typing or cutting and pasting.  Here are some of the most important layout functions to consider while laying out a Word page:

  1. word_viewsViews — at the bottom of the Word window are a bunch of buttons.  The first one, ‘Print Layout’ allows you to see the entire page at a glance.  This view is help when you want to see how the text falls on the page without actually reading it.  When you want to edit text line by line, it’s better to click on the last button, called ‘Draft’.  Instead of seeing the whole page, the view is limited to the actual text margins.  All white space is hidden from view.You can change how much of the page/text you want to see by click on the Zoom buttons on the View tab of the menu bar, or the zoom slide bar at the bottom right of the Word window, next to the View buttons.
  2. word_marginsPage Margins — Under the ‘Page Layout’ tab in the menu is a button called ‘Margins’.  At the bottom of the drop down menu is ‘Custom Margins’.  You can change the amount of white space on the top, bottom, left and right sides, as well as change the position of the page from Portrait to Landscape from this dialog box. Sometimes it’s easier to turn the gridlines on to help visualize where the text will fall on the page.  You can turn on the gridlines from the View tab on the menu bar, and check the ‘Gridlines’ box to see the squares on the page.
  3. word_gridlines

  4. Header and Footers — The very top and bottom spaces on the page are reserved for information you want to keep on every page of your document.  The simplest way to access these spaces is to double click on them.  When you do that, you will see a blue dotted line and a blue box with the word, ‘Header’ or ‘Footer’ separating the greyed out body text from the header or footer.
    In the Header, the title of the document and your name are often placed.
  5. Field Codes — In the Footer, little bits of file data called, “field codes,” are often inserted.  In Word 2010, you can insert a field code in the footer of a page by going to the ‘Insert’ tab on the menu bar, and click on the ‘Quick Parts’ button on the right side.  Select the field button on the drop down menu to access the codes.  The most common field codes are FileName, Page, and Date.


    Let’s see how we can use these Word functions to turn a boring Web page about the Popul Vul into an easily readable story.

    First, we have create the template for the Popul Vul text to be placed into.  Here are the formatting specifications for the text:

    • Top Margin = 1.5″, Bottom Margin = 1″, Left Margin = 3.5″, Right Margin = 0.75″
    • Body text is Calibri 14pt
    • Header text is Calibri 12pt, bold, small caps
    • Footer text is 8 pt Calibri, italic

    To format text, the hot key to use is ‘Ctrl-d’.  When you hold down the Control key, and then hit the d key, the following dialog box will pop up:


    After highlighting text, hitting Ctrl-d allows you to quickly format that text.  But in this case, we haven’t pasted in any text, so we have to be as clever as Camalotz to format text without any text.  To do so, we have to find the paragraph tags in the document, highlight and format them. Here’s how.

    First, we have to make the paragraph tags visible.  Paragraph tags are what hold the formatting information for the text that they are linked to.  The actual letters on the screen have no formatting, the paragraph tags right next to them do.  To make the tags visible, make sure the Show/Hide ¶ button is pressed down (on).  Then highlight the ¶ tag, and hit the Ctrl-d hotkey.


    Next, let’s place some reference information in the header and footer, so we can remember what’s in the document when we open it up a year or two from now.

    • Type, “The Book of the People: Popul Vul” and your name in the Header
    • Insert FileName, Page, and Date Field Codes in the Footer.

    Now you can complete your Word template for the Popul Vul text by formatting the paragraph tags.

    Finally, we can pour the web page text into the Word document, using hotkeys.  Select the text (the beginning line to the end of the first line on p. 14), copy (Ctrl-c), paste (Ctrl-v) and format (Ctrl-d).  Then save (Ctrl-s).

    Homework #7

    Format the following text to look like the handout provided.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute IRURE DOLOR in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
    Curabitur pretium tincidunt lacus. Nulla gravida orci a odio. Nullam varius, turpis et commodo pharetra, est eros bibendum elit, nec luctus magna felis sollicitudin mauris. Integer in mauris eu nibh euismod gravida. Duis ac tellus et risus vulputate vehicula. Donec lobortis risus a elit. Etiam tempor. Ut ullamcorper, ligula eu tempor congue, eros est euismod turpis, id tincidunt sapien risus a quam. MAECENAS fermentum consequat mi. Donec fermentum. Pellentesque malesuada nulla a mi. Duis sapien sem, aliquet nec, commodo eget, consequat quis, neque. Aliquam faucibus, elit ut dictum aliquet, felis nisl adipiscing sapien, sed malesuada diam lacus eget erat. Cras mollis scelerisque nunc. Nullam arcu. Aliquam consequat. Curabitur augue lorem, dapibus quis, laoreet et, pretium ac, nisi. AENEAN magna nisl, mollis quis, molestie eu, feugiat in, orci. In hac habitasse platea dictumst.

Class #6: ¡Sin ratón!

October 16, 2015 in Comp_Lab

A prelude –


Back when my hair was raven black, I used to sit on plastic patio chairs, tapping out telnet commands on flickering green vt100 emulators, hearing the keyboard cliks and claks echo down the concrete blocked basement walls of my university’s engineering building.  I was amazed at how connected I could be with the world in a bunker, downloading Indian recipes, dialoging with other student newspaper writers.  We were experimenting with ways to communicate with others in the pre-’Net culture, searching for the parameters of social behavior in a online world, ping ponging across the world.

No mice scurried the halls in those days, and through repetitive muscle memory we learned the “hot keys“, keyboard commands that tell the computer to do common actions, like cutting and pasting, opening/saving/closing documents, and most importantly, undoing bad acts.

In Class Assignment

Click on the typing tutor links to the right, and find a website you like, evaluate it, and post a comment at the bottom of this post (Class #6).

Let’s see how we can use hotkeys to achieve the holy grail of 21st century writing: glomming text off the Internet.

  1. Open up Microsoft Word
  2. Close the blank page (Ctrl-w)
  3. Open up a new blank page (Ctrl-o)
  4. Save the blank page to your flash drive (Ctrl-s)
  5. Copy (Ctrl-c) the following text, toggle to Word (Alt-Tab) and paste (Ctrl-V) the text into the blank page.
    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  6. Select (Shift-Ctrl-right arrow) ‘We the people’ and make the selection bold (Ctrl-b), italic (Ctrl-i) and increase font size (Ctrl-d).
  7. Save it again (Ctrl-s)
  8. Now use the Alt hotkeys to type the following text below the Preamble.

Now, upload your Word file to your post page.

Before we move on to our next activity, here is a list of typing tutors you can download to improve your typing speed.

Typing tutors


Class #5: Using Excel to do the Payroll

October 9, 2015 in Comp_Lab

Today is the most difficult class of the semester — even if you haven’t taken a note in this class, I strongly recommend doing so today, otherwise you will likely be lost when taking the midterm, two weeks from today.  That being said, this class will offer you skills that, regardless of your career path, you will find beneficial in whatever job you may have or will have in the future.

The skills you will learn today will make your life easier if you ever have to publish a bunch of letters or forms to a group of people, each with slightly different information, determined by each individual’s records.  A form letter, paystubs, individualized assignments — all of these tasks that can take a day to complete if you create each one individually, can be reduced to an hour’s work if you know how to use Excel formulas and Word Mail Merge.  You really can make yourself invaluable to your boss if you learn these skills.  Today we will only do the first part, setting up the spreadsheet.  We’ll do the mail merge in a later class.

Creating a Formula in Excel

One of the best functions in Excel is its ability to use formulas to automate repetitive calculations. Today, we’ll create a time sheet that can calculate your take home pay, simply by inputting your hours each day and your pay rate.

Let’s assume you have more than one source of income.  So the first thing we need to do is list the different assignments, On a blank spreadsheet, copy/paste/type the following information into cell A1, etc.

Assignment Rate
Tutoring 40
Bookkeeping 25
Babysitting 20


Next we will create a drop down list, to make entering daily values easier.  In cell D5, type ‘Date’.  In cell E5, type ‘Assignment’.  In F5, type ‘Pay Rate’.  Make all of the text bold, 14 pt.

To make a drop down list, follow these steps.

  1. Move to the cell you want the drop down list (E6).
  2. data_validationClick on the Data menu, and click the Data Validation button.
  3. In the ‘Allow’ dialogbox, click on the ‘List’ Option.
  4. In the ‘Source’ box, click on the spreadsheet button to the right of the box.
  5. Using the mouse, select the words that will be in the list, in this case, the assignment types in cells A2 to A4.
  6. Click the spreadsheet button again, and click on the ‘OK’ button in the dialog box.


If you click on cell D6 now, you will be able to select the specific job you did that day without having to type it in.

Now we’re going to have Excel determine what the pay scale is for the job we selected.  To do so will require using the VLOOKUP function.


  1. Move to the cell to the right of the dropdown list, F6, and click on the Formulas menu button.  Click on the first button, ‘Insert Function’, type VLOOKUP in the search box, and click on the ‘Go’ button.
  2. In the list below the search box, double click on VLOOKUP.
  3. VLookupFor the Lookup_value, click on the spreadsheet button to the right, and select the cell to the left where the dropdown list is (E6).
  4. For the Table_array, select the names you used to create the dropdown list and the rates in the next column (A2 to B4).
  5. Important! Type a $ in front of every letter and number, so the array values look like this: $A$2:$B$4
  6. For the Col_index_num, type a 2 in the box.
  7. For the Range_lookup, type FALSE in the box.
  8. Click on the ‘OK’ button

Now, whenever you select a job assignment, Excel will automatically place the corresponding pay rate in the cell to the right.  One click, and two cells of information is created.

Doing the Calculations

Now we need to input our time starting and ending work on a given day.  First, let’s create a header for ‘Start Time’ in cell G5, ‘End Time’ in cell H5, ‘Hours’ in cell I5, ‘Minutes’ in cell J5 and ‘Time’ in cell K5.  Give the text the same formatting as the other headers.

Let’s input some sample data to work with.  Type ‘8:00 AM’ in cell G6, and ‘5:00 PM’ in cell H6. Now we need to get Excel to figure out how many hours we worked, and, more importantly, how much we’re going to get paid.  Let’s start with the time calculations.

In cell I5, we’re going to calculate how many hours we worked, using an Excel formula.  All Excel formulas begin with an equals sign, so Excel knows what follows isn’t text, but a mathematical formula.  Type in the following formula in I6,


What this formula means is that Excel will take whatever time is typed into cell H6 (5:00 PM) and cell G6 (8:00 AM) and take the difference, in hours between the two times.

Now type the following formula into J6,


This formula is almost the same, except, you guessed it, the formula calculated the remaining minutes.

In order to calculate wages, however, the time values must be in decimal format.  To do so, type the following formula into K6,


Now we know how many hours we worked, in decimal format.

Finally, we can determine our earnings,  First, type ‘Earnings’ in cell M5.  Then, in cell M6, calculate your earnings by multiplying Pay Rate by Time.  We earned $360!

Once we have one row/record working it is very easy in Excel to copy the functions/formulas into adjacent rows/records.  Highlight cells D6 through M6.  On the lower right hand corner of the selected cells you should see a little black square.  When you roll over it with the mouse, the cursor will turn into a plus sign.  Click and drag the cursor down 15 rows, and volia!
You now have an automated time sheet.

in Rows 7-10, type in the following information, and have Excel do the calculations.

Babysitting, 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Bookkeeping, 12:30 PM – 4:15 PM

Tutoring, 6:30 PM – 8 PM

Babysitting, 10:30 AM – 4:45 PM

Then ‘Autosum’ to get the total earning.

Although setting up an automated payroll spreadsheet takes time, once you have it up and running, all you have to do is click on the dropdown list, enter start and finish times, and Excel does everything else.  If one of your job duties is payroll, I’m sure you see the value to making a spreadsheet like this one.


That’s it!


Homework #5

Create a spreadsheet like the one we did today with the following time log:


  1. What are her total earnings for October?
  2. Suppose her tutoring rate was $55, her bookkeeping rate $37.50, and her babysitting rate $22.50.  What would her earnings for be for October?
  3. Upload the spreadsheet, with your name on it to your post page.

Class #4: Excel-ent gráfico!

October 2, 2015 in Comp_Lab

Pies, Bars & Scatters

Where’s the formula for bin ranges?

Excel is Microsoft’s graphing software, and it’s easy to get lost among all of its functions.  Before we delve into its seemingly limitless depths, let’s make sure we all have a basic spelunker’s bag of tools in hand. Even so, this is going to a long post, so you’ll probably want to take your own notes as we go through this basic graphing technique.

The first step in making an Excel graph is to set up your spreadsheet. This is a little like creating a PowerPoint template before you pour your content into a bunch of slides.  A spreadsheet is a grid of “cells” that can contain text or numbers.  Each cell is identified by a row (a number from 1 to 1,048,576) and a column (a letter from A to XFD).  The cell in the upper left corner of the spreadsheet is ‘A1′ and the cell in the bottom right corner is ‘XFD1048576′. You can see the name of the cell you are currently at in the (surprise) Name Box at the upper left corner of the Excel window.

Hotkeys work in Excel, and I really recommend using the keyboard to enter data to a spreadsheet, and not the mouse.  It’s easy to scroll off the page, losing your place in the spreadsheet when using the mouse.  The arrow keys (and the Shift, Ctrl, Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys) will get you where you want to be in the spreadsheet faster than the mouse.

There’s another way to refer to cells in a spreadsheet, a way that’s more aligned to database management.  Each row can be considered a record, and each column can be called a field. Each row, then, contains data referring to a specific date, person, or company.  Each column contains information about a specific category of information, like credits or debits, types of expenses, or various acquisitions.  It’s important that you visualize what information you want your graph to convey and set up your spreadsheet before you start typing or pasting numbers into the spreadsheet.


Let’s create a simple spreadsheet to see how this graphing technique works.

A basic Excel graphing technique

Generally speaking, you should start in cell ‘A1,’ which you can get to through the keyboard with the Ctrl-Home command.  A1 can be left blank since it technically is neither a record nor a field.  So hit the down arrow key to get to cell A2,  Let’s start typing in some Expense categories that we spend money on each month (rent, food, cable, etc.)

Now let’s move to the ‘B’ column.  B1 will be our first field tag.  Let’s type ‘October’ into that cell. Each of the cells below the field tag (B2, B3, etc.) will contain the amount of money we spent on each category in the month of January.  See how the grid organizes our data?

Now we’re ready to take the next step, actually making the graph. Before starting, however, we must select the data we want to graph. As you might expect, there are two ways to do this. One is to use the mouse (sigh…), click in the upper left most cell, and, holding the left mouse button down, drag to the lower right most cell in the range of data to be graphed. The other way is to use the arrow keys to highlight the upper left cell, and, holding the Ctrl and Shift keys down, hit the down arrow once, and then the right arrow once. Now all of your data is selected!

Ready to make a graph? Here are the steps:

  1. Make sure your data is selected (see above)
  2. Click on the ‘Insert’ menu.
  3. The third group of buttons on the toolbar are the chart buttons.  Under the last button (Other Charts) is an arrow that will open the ‘Create Chart’ dialog box.  You should always click on that arrow and not the buttons.
  4. Now you can choose whatever graph you would like to visualize your spreadsheet numbers with.  Let’s choose the first pie graph.
  5. Hit the OK button and you’re done!


You can right click on the various parts of the graph to customize the font, color, etc., just like we did with our PowerPoint slides.

NOTE:  Selecting your data before you click on the Insert Chart button makes graphing easier, because Excel doesn’t have to ask you what data you want to graph.  Selecting the data first answers the question from the get go.

Same Deal with Bar Graphs

Bar graphs are just as simple to make.  Suppose I want to see a breakdown of grades in a class I’m teaching.  Here are the grade ranges:

Grade Range Number of Students
91-100 5
81-90 8
71-80 13
61-70 4
<60 2


  1. Highlight the data, copy and paste it into a blank spreadsheet.
  2. Select the data (see above).
  3. Then click on the ‘Insert’ menu button, and choose a vertical bar graph.
  4. Delete the legend, because the axis labels offer enough information.


Sorting Data

Let’s say I want to have the grade ranges increase rather than decrease left to right.  Select the data once again.  Click on the ‘Data’ menu button.  Then click on the ‘Sort’ button.  Make sure the first dropdown box has ‘Grade Ranges’ selected.  Then click on ‘A-Z’ Order in the last dropdown box.  The graph should instantly switch low values with high values and vice versa.

Taking it to the Next Level

So far we’ve looked at pie and bar graphs.  Now let’s look a more sophisticated kind of graph: the scatter chart.  First we need some data.

Stocks are at historical highs right now, so creating stock price runs might be a good way to see if there are still any good buys out there.  Let’s go to Yahoo Finance and download some date.

Click on this link now –> Yahoo Finance

Let’s start with simply charting the daily Apple stock price for the past year.

  1. historicalIn the Symbol Look up box, type, ‘apple’, and click on AAPL).
  2. Click on the ‘Historical Prices’ link in the left panel.
  3. Change the Start Date to October 1st, 2014.
  4. Click the ‘Get Prices’ button.
  5. Scroll to the botton of the page, and click on the ‘Download to Spreadsheet link’.
  6. Open the file in Excel.
  7. Save as an Excel Workbook to your flash drive.
  8. Toggle to Excel, click in the A1 cell of a blank spreadsheet, and paste (Ctrl-v) in the Dow Jones data.


Notice that the data is in reverse chronological order, that is, October’s prices are on top of September’s, and so on.  Let’s switch the order of the data so that the oldest date is on top.

Select all of the data.  On the keyboard, use the arrow keys to move to the first cell in the upper left part of the spreadsheet with data.  Then, hold the Ctrl and Shift keys down simultaneously, hit the down arrow once, and the right arrow once.  Voila!  All of your data is selected.

Now click on the ‘Data’ menu button, and then click on the ‘Sort’ button.  A dialog box will pop up, and you will click on the Sort by drop down arrow, select Date, and make sure the Order box says, ‘Oldest to Newest.’  Click the OK button.

Now we are ready to graph!  Go back to cell A1, hold the Shift and Ctrl keys down, hit the down arrow, let go of the Ctrl button (but keep the Shift key pressed down) and hit the right arrow once.  You should now have the first two columns of data selected.

Now you can insert a Scatter Plot Chart.

Homework #4

Chose a stock you’re interested in graphing.  Post the Company Name and Abbreviation as a comment to this post below (first post chooses).  Then make a scatter plot of at least the last three months of data.

Class #3: PowerPoint Popurrí

September 25, 2015 in Comp_Lab


Published in The New Yorker 9/29/2003
by Alex Gregory

On February 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia exploded upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.  The subsequent investigation found that, “that the NASA organizational culture had as much to do with the accident as the foam that struck the Orbiter on ascent.” Part of the problematic culture, it turned out, was PowerPoint.

Prior to the launch, groups of NASA engineers sat around tables, looking at PowerPoint slides like the one below, and failed to comprehend that “test data” didn’t include scenarios that the shuttle’s tiles would experience upon liftoff. Looking at the slide, how could anyone comprehend anything that the slide is trying to communicate?

the slide that blew up Columbia‘a Power-Point festival of bureaucratic hyper-rationalism.”

–  Edward Tufte

Fifteen years later, another PowerPoint slide made the rounds as an example of the futility of information overload.


We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint

– Elisabeth Bumiller

The slide has been cited as “an example of a military tool that has spun out of control.” Once again, the capacities of a slideshow software had been outstripped by the intent to shrink and crop a complex message into a bunch of broken phrases, none of them meaning anything. If my message still isn’t getting through to you, here are a couple of links that list the worst ways to use PowerPoint.

What makes a good PowerPoint presentation?  Simple: simplicity in design.  For the rest of the class, we will learn how to set up a simple, clear and maybe mesmerizing PowerPoint template.

In class assignment

But before we do, let’s recap how you will submit assignments to me.
Don’t forget to be logged in (upper left corner of the page) first.
Remember, No Printing!

  1. The first way is to post comments at the end of a Class post.
    So go to the end of this post and type a comment explaining where you would like to go for vacation.
  2. Write a post.  publish
    Go to the Dashboard and roll over the Post button.
    Then click on the ‘Add New’ button.
    Type your name and vacation spot.
    Copy your comment into the text box.
    In the Categories box on the right, uncheck the ‘Uncategorized’ box, and check the ‘f15’ box.
    IMPORTANT! Click the ‘Publish’ button on the right side.
  3. Upload media to your post
    Search online for a big picture of your vacation place.Download (save) the picture to your flashdrive.
    Edit your post page.
    Click on the ‘Add Media’ button, the ‘Select Files’ button, and the ‘Insert into Post’ button to upload (paste) your picture into your post page.

The “Look and Feel” of a PowerPoint template

There is one other BIG MISTAKE people make when creating a PowerPoint presentation: they open up a new, blank presentation and immediately start pouring and dumping content into the slides left and right, up and down, without taking a moment, or even an hour, to focus on what message is to be conveyed in their presentation. If you don’t know what you want to say, your PowerPoint slides will convey exactly that message.

Think about what your presentation is going to be about, and then ask yourself, “what the slides should look like without anything on them.” If your answer is nothing but blank white space, think again. What color would you associated with your message? Should the text look grandiose, like something the Romans would chisel onto a marble column? Or playful cursive letters mimicking how children speak? Take some time to think about what your background, or template, should look like.


Consider the following 3 words:

stop_1 stop_2 stop_3They’re all the same word, yes?  But they convey different messages because each “Stop” uses a different font.

The two categories of fonts are serif (type with curvy branches of the main stems of a letter) and sans serif (type that doesn’t have the curly qs).  You should use sans serif fonts for presentations. Here are some examples of how to use fonts effectively in your presentation.  A hard copy of various fonts can also help you choose what font will work for you.   If you’re really into typography (like me!) the tools described in this article will help you explore the nuances of fonts in greater detail.

Finally, the font links on the right side of this web page will give you lists of fonts that will offer you pretty much any kind of typeset that you are looking for in your presentation.


On a computer monitor, TV or video projector, all colors are a composite function of Red, Green and Blue colors (RGB).  That is to say, any color can be specified by defining how much red, green and blue color is used to create the specific color.  RGB color values in PowerPoint are defined in a range from 0 (no color) to 255 (fully saturated color).  So a RGB value of (255,0,0) would represent pure red, and (0,0,255) would represent pure blue.  Here are some additional examples of RGB color values.

There’s another way colors can be referenced instead of by three RGB numbers. The Pantone color chart uses ramps to create light and dark colors. Certain pairs of colors, like blue and yellow, and red and green, stand out well against each other, it is easier for us to distinguish these pairs of colors than say, red and orange. A Color Schemer can help you pick out a good mix.

Again, there is a list of links to the right on this webpage that you can use to help find a palette of colors that will look just right for your presentation.

Opening up a blank PowerPoint template

Let’s start from scratch.

  1. Open up PowerPoint
  2. Click on File | New, and double click on the ‘Blank Presentation’ icon.
    I strongly recommend only using the blank presentation template.
    That way you have total control over what your template will look like.
  3. Create 3 blank slides, using the Ctrl-m hotkey.  You will see the slides on the left column of the PowerPoint window.
  4. Again, before you start typing away, or cut-and-pasting content into your slide, begin designing your template by working with the Slide Master.
  5. slide_1Right click on the first slide, select the ‘Layout’ option, and click on the ‘Title Slide’ option.  Right click on the second slide, and select the ‘Title and Content’ option.  Right click on the third slide and select the ‘Blank’ option.
  6. SAVE your template to your flashdrive.


Think about what goes on a PowerPoint slide.  Some slides are introductions about what is to come in the presentation.  These are Title Slides.  Other slides are text summaries of information you want to convey to your audience.  These are Title and Content slides.  And finally, there are slides that are predominantly graphics based, like the old 35mm Kodak Carousel slide projector shows.  These are created from Blank slides.

Now it’s time to turn those three boring black on white template slides into something more expressive of the message you want to communicate to your audience.

Color Backgrounds

slide_2Let’s start by seeing how you can add color to your slides with just a few clicks of the mouse.  When you want to make simple changes to all of your slides, the way to do it is to work with the “background” of the slide.  Let’s see how that works.

  1. Right click on the Blank slide, and select the ‘Format Background’ option.
  2. Click on the fill color drop down option.
  3. Click on one of the Theme or Standard colors.
  4. Click on the ‘Apply to All’ button.

Now, all three slides have the color you specified.  But the stupid Microsoft colors aren’t the colors you will want to use in most presentations.  So let’s get a little deeper into color models.

  1. Format Background and click on the fill color drop down option again.
  2. Click on ‘More Colors…’
  3. You now have two tabs to work with: Standard and Custom.  Clicking on any color on the standard color map will make your background that color.  The Custom tab, the one you should use to find the exact color you desire, requires some additional explanation.



Setting Your Font Styles

Once you have chosen the fonts you like, follow these steps to include them in your PowerPoint template.

  1. Click on either the Title slide or Title and Content slide.
  2. On the menu bar, click on View | Slide Master.
  3. Your slide will now have the words, ‘Click to edit Master title styles.  Right click on a text box, and select the ‘Font’ option.
  4. Click on the ‘Latin text-font’ drop down menu, and select the font of your choice.
  5. You can also change the color of the font (remember the color palettes) by clicking on the ‘Font Color’ drop down button.
  6. Once you are done editing your Slide Master, click on View | Normal to return to your regular slides.

Templates include objects that will appear on each slide of your presentation. Let’s look at some examples of PowerPoint templates from the following website:

slideworld search engine

So what elements make up a PowerPoint template?  A color background, simple graphic, and text container are the basic components you should think about designing before typing in your words of wisdom and pretty pics. Let’s look at how to build these pieces into a good template.

Once you set up your template slides correctly, all you have to do is copy them when needed by selecting them in the slide window on the left side of the PowerPoint window, and copying however many you need.  Don’t type into your template slides!

Summarizing the Do’s & Don’ts of PowerPointing…

If I didn’t get my message across to you about the limitations of PowerPoint, here it is again: if your message is complex, nuanced, and took you more than an hour to figure out what you want to say, write it down on paper first, and then brainstorm about how a few PowerPoint slides can enhance what you are going to say to your audience.  So let’s go straight to the process I’d like you to use to make your own presentation.

  1. Research! Nothing makes a presentation more interesting than having something to say.  That requires doing more than Googling a few keywords, clicking on the first few (advertised) links and being done with it.  Think about what you want to talk about, and focus on finding some interesting details online that no one in your audiences knows about.  When you find something online, save the url and write a summary sentence or two about what you learned from the page, so you’ll be able to remember it later on when you’re putting your presentation together.
  2. Design. You don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to keep your audience attentive during your presentation.  A good, clear (sans serif) font, a couple of complementary colors, and a picture or two will get you well on your way to putting together a successful PowerPoint presentation.
  3. Make the template first, then pour in the content. Avoid to urge to immediately start cut-and-pasting as soon as you open up PowerPoint.  You’ll be creating twice as much work for yourself doing it that way.  Instead, go to View | Slide Master to work out a good layout for all of your slides.  Avoid having different color schemes, etc. for each slide.  You want a consistent “look and feel” to each and every slide.  Consistency implies professionalism and skill.  A hodge-podge, scattershot approach reminds us of arts and crafts class in elementary school.

Homework Assignment #3

  1. Visualize in your mind what you would like to do on your vacation.  Your slides to look like the images you have in your head, to help communicate the message you want to give the audience.
  2. Chose 2-3 fonts and 2-3 colors you would like to use for your PowerPoint template.
  3. Create a Title Slide.
  4. Create Title and Content or Blank slides to place your vacation photos in
  5. Upload your PowerPoint slides to your post page.

Please take some time to work out in your mind what you want your PowerPoint presentation to look like — if you make it really shiny now, you can impress your facilitator with your own presentations in colloquium, without doing more than a few touchups on the presentation you create for this homework assignment.

Class #2: ¡Estoy cansado de módulos!

September 18, 2015 in Comp_Lab

Docking Ports to Set Sail on Web 3.0

If you think Googling a Top 10 list for a topic you’re interested in learning about will cover everything you want to know about it, you are sadly mistaken.  Michael Bergman vividly described this “information glut” as a fishing problem: most Web 2.0 search engines only skim the surface of Web documents available.

Surface Web

It’s estimated that today’s search engines only index about 0.03% — or one in 3,000 — of the pages available to them today.  The other 99.97% is called the “Deep Web.”


What is the Deep Web? It’s about “surfing semantically.”  Just like you overlay Bloom’s Taxonomy when structuring your module responses, accessing the Deep Web requires applying a pedagogical framework to an online search.

Consider the common Web search for medical information.

In medicine, finding the best evidence has become increasingly difficult, even for librarians. Despite its constant accessibility, Google’s search results are emblematic of an approaching crisis with information overload, and this is duplicated by Yahoo and other search engines. Consequently, medical librarians are leading doctors back to trusted sources, such as PubMed, Clinical Evidence, and the Cochrane Library, and even taking them to their library bookshelves instead. Unless better channels of information are created in web 3.0, we can expect the information glut to continue.

Dean Guistini, “Web 3.0 and Medicine.”

So if you’re looking for specific content relating to a specific question, like a medical question, Googling isn’t going to get you anywhere.

So where are good places to look for quality online content?  The link list running down the right side of this page offers some starting points. The Internet Public Library offer links to sites checked by librarians. The Wayback Machine can help you find “dead links” to a page you really want to read, but was taken down. The Virtual Reference Shelf is encyclopediatic in its scope of primary material.

Most of these websites are “drill down” in design.  That is, you enter the website on the homepage, and are offered links to broad topics.  Choosing a topic leads to lists of subtopics that pertain to the overall category, and you continue clicking lists until you find the specific information you are looking for.  For example, iBoogie has a homepage with a big list of general topics, which you can then focus by clicking on more and more specific subtopics.  Dmoz, a major source of Google’s database, uses the same search strategy.

If you know what book you’re looking for, many online libraries exist to help you find it, if not online, at least which library holds a physical copy of it.  If the copyright has expired, Project Gutenberg for over a decade has been making old texts available online.  Bartleby offers more reference materials, including dictionaries and thesauruses when you can’t quite find the right word for what you want to say.

In Class Activity


Each student should pick one of the research links on the right side of this page, and post a comment at the bottom of this page stating which link you chose — once posted, no other student can use that link.  Then, play around in the website, and find 1-3 interesting things you didn’t know about before.

Part II — Using the Microsoft Word Outline function

Have you started writing your modules yet?  Being computer savvy can help you get through them a lot quicker.For example, Section 4.30 of Bloom’s Taxonomy, “Analysis of Organization Principles” states that an example of an education objective is:

the organization, systematic arrangement, and structure which hold the communication together. This includes the “explicit” as well as “implicit” structure. It includes the bases, necessary arrangement, and the mechanics which make the communication a unit.

Some people “translate” this objective into writing an outline about the text in the module.

Microsoft Word is a versatile word processing program that can help you write many of your modules.  So today’s class is going to be about using Word to create an outline for one of your Analysis modules.

Let’s make a practice outline first.  How can we make an outline out of the NBA teams? I can see at least three levels of outlining a list of the teams: the conference, the division, and the team name.  So let’s see how we can make an outline from a NBA team list by following these steps:

  1. Open up a blank Word document.
  2. Change the View to ‘Outline’.word_views
  3. On the menu, click on the Outlining tab.
  4. Type in ‘Eastern Conference’.
  5. Hit the Enter key.
  6. Now type in ‘Atlantic Division’.  This should be the second level of the outline, so click the green right arrow at the top left of the window once.  Notice that the text is indented and the text box next to the green arrow now reads “Level 2″
  7. Hit the Enter key.
  8. Now we need to enter the names of the teams in that division.  Type ‘Boston Celtics’.
    We need another level to the outline.  So click on the green right arrow again, and observe that the text is indented again, and you are now at “Level 3.”
  9. Hit the Enter key.
  10. Type in the names of a couple of the players on that team (Gerald Wallace, Mar Shon Brooks, Kris Humphreys). This time we will demote the organization level to the lowest one: Body text.  Click on the double right arrow.
  11. Hit the Enter key.
  12. Now we need to type in the next NBA team.  Type in ‘Brooklyn Nets’.  Notice that we are still on the Body Text level, so go back to “Level 2″ by clicking on the left green arrow.
  13. Type in the names of some Nets players, (Chris Johnson, Paul Pierce, Reggie Evans) and demote to Body Text.
  14. Repeat the procedure for the rest of the teams/divisions/conferences (but you don’t have to type in player names).


Looks good, right? Remember that we’re in outline view.  So go back to ‘Print Layout’ View. Doesn’t look the same, right? Different views show you different page formats for your Word document.  Draft view zooms in on everything that is in the body of the page, the paragraphs of text that make up the content of your document.  Print Layout view shows you what the document will look like when you print it out.  And Outline View is the view we started with, allowing you to focus on creating your outline without worrying about text formatting.

You can change the outline format by following these steps:

  1. Go to the ‘Home’ menu, and clicking on the ‘Change Styles’ button on the right side of the toolbar.
  2. Click on the ‘Style Set’ button.  Roll over the list of options with your mouse, and the outline format will change before your eyes.
  3. When you find a format you like, click on it.
  4. Type your name in the Header area, format the text (Calibri, 14 pt., bold, small caps).
  5. Insert the Date/Time field code in the footer, format the text (Calibri, 10 pt., italics) and print your document for credit..


Homework Assignment #1

Choose a topic (from a module if you like) that has multiple concepts that can be formed into an outline.  Follow the steps above to create an outline that is 1-2 pages long.  Format it, save it, and upload it to your post page.

Class #1: Welcome to GS-32367 Computer Lab!

September 11, 2015 in Comp_Lab

Congratulations for finding our computer class website! What follows are the steps you will need to take to save your assessed work for this class.  Let’s start with the basics…

What you will need for this class:

  1. A USB flash drive.  All of your assignments for this class must be saved to it.
  2. Prompt attendance.  This is a Friday afternoon class.  Most students would like to leave campus and begin their weekend ASAP.  I will start class at 12:30.  If you are late, I will have to repeat what I already said, and we’ll all get out of class later.
  3. Access to the Internet.  The Boricua Computer lab is officially open until 5:45PM.  Anywhere else you have access to the Internet, you can view all of the class materials and assignments.  So if you miss a class, you are still responsible for the assignments.

How do I log in?

login page

The log in box is on the right side of this page.  Type (in lowercase only) the first initial of your first name, and your last name into the ‘Username’ box.  Type in your password in the password box.  If you do it right, you will see your username, avatar, and a ‘Log Out’ button replace the log in box.

Also, you will see a black menu bar across the top of the webpage.  You can customize your account by clicking on the ‘My Account’ tab, and clicking on ‘Profile’ .  Under ”Profile’ you can upload a picture of yourself under the “Change Avatar” tab, and under ‘Settings’ you can change your password or email account.


More importantly, once you login you can access the ‘Dashboard.’ The Dashboard is your control panel for saving your class assignments. That being said, here is the cardinal rule for this class:


If you don’t upload a file to your account
and you lose that file
is your problem, not mine!!! If you upload a file and then lose it,
I’ll be able to get it back for you,
but only if you upload your files to your student account!


You have been warned!!!

There are three ways you can save your work to this website.  Let’s say you just want to write down a comment about the class material for that day’s class.  Posting a comment requires doing the following steps:

1)  How to Post a Comment to a Webpage on the Class Website

  1. Make sure you’re logged in.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the post.  If you don’t see the words, “Leave a reply”, click on the blue comment link that should be at the bottom right, at the end of the post.
  3. You should now see “Leave a reply” and a white text box.  That box is where you should post any comments to my edublog entry.
  4. When you’re finished typing your comment, click on the ‘Post Comment’ button.


Sometime you may be asked to write your own post for a class assignment. To “post” your class assignment, follow this procedure:

2)  How to Post a Page to the Class Website

  1. Click on the ‘Posts’ button on the left sidebar – this will take you to a webpage that lists all of the files and posts you have created on this website.  Whatever you have uploaded, you can find here.posts
  2. To create a post to save your class assignments in, click on the ‘Add New’ button, just to the right of the pushpin and ‘Posts’ title.
  3. You will now see an “Add New Post” title.  Two text boxes are below the title, the first says, ‘Enter title here.’  Not surprisingly, type in a title for your post.  The title should include information that will help you find it when you are looking for it in the future.  The second box is a text box where you type whatever information you would like to include to complete a given assignment.  This can include computer files, pictures and other media.










4.  On the right side of the page is a ‘Categories’ box.  Check the ‘!melrose’ box, so that your post doesn’t get lost in the many files on this website.

5.  When you want to save a draft of your work, [THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT], click on the blue ‘Publish’ button to the right of the text box.  If you do not click on the ‘Publish’ button before leaving the page, all of your work will be lost!


Finally, in the later classes, you will be creating your own Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.  To save them to the class website, you will need to do the following steps:

3)  How to Upload a File to the Class Website

  1. Create a new post and add a blank line to
  2. Above the text box is a button  with the words, ‘Add Media’.  Click on that button.
  3. When you click on the ‘Add Media’ button, a popup window will appear. Click on the ‘Upload Files’ link, which will open up another window where you can select a file on your hard drive or flashdrive.
  4. Click on the ‘Select Files’
  5. Once your file has been “crunched,” scroll to the bottom of the window and click on the ‘Insert into Post’ button.  Important: if you don’t click on the ‘Insert into Post’ button, your file will not be uploaded, and your work could get lost!insert
  6. Once your file is uploaded, you will see a link embedded in your post.  While you are editing your post, you won’t be able to click on it to open it up.  When you are done editing your post, click on the ‘Publish’ button (your edits will be lost if you don’t!)
  7. You need to know these skills in order to submit work to me for evaluation.  No printouts, flashdrives or emails will be accepted.  By the third class, we will have practiced these steps several times, so everyone should become comfortable saving their work in this manner.
  8. Let’s move on to today’s assignment: using Web 3.0.


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