Syllabus, SP16


CAOT 085 Syllabus, Spring, 2016


Hi, Everyone.  Welcome to our Los Angeles Valley College class!

This Syllabus contains the basic information for our course.  There is a lot of information here, but I think it’s better that you know everything you can rather than being surprised later.  However, it is extremely important that you read and understand three other documents before delving into this Syllabus in detail.  You should see links to all of these at the top of this web page.  The documents are:

If you’re not on the class website right now, you will find all of these on the class website at  You may need to click on the CAOT CLASSES button at the top of the page to get into the correct area of the website.

Learning Objectives

In our course, you will learn the following, at minimum:

  • Manipulate, arrange, name portions of, and modify the MS windows Graphical User Interface.
  • Plan, design, understand, arrange, manipulate, name portions of, save, and modify worksheets, workbooks, and their component cells
  • Edit and format portions of worksheets.
  • Adjust and control worksheet printing options.
  • Manipulate the visual depiction of information in  worksheets, including freezing, sorting, and filtering data.
  • Plan, produce, manipulate, format, and modify charts to depict data graphically.
  • Create, modify, and troubleshoot mathematical formulas, including multi-dimensional, relative, and absolute cell/data references.
  • Plan and implement financial decision-making while producing complex financial functions.
  • Produce worksheets with hyperlinks and the potential for web presence
  • Prepare, edit and print and format workbooks.


Online students might wonder, “Since I will be taking my exams at home or somewhere else off-campus, may I use the book, my notes, my friends, the software on another computer, another screen hooked up to my regular computer, my super-smart dog, and/or anything else to help me get a good grade on the exams?”  The answer is:  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  This is a real college-level class that happens to be offered online (isn’t that nice?), and all students need to meet college standards without exception.

You will be required to provide and follow to the letter the following Affirmation before taking the first exam, and it will apply to all forms of assessment throughout the semester.  If you cannot in good conscience make this Affirmation, you must not take this class.  If you lack the self-discipline to take the exams with absolutely no supplementation, then I commend your level of insight, and you must not take this class. Following is the Affirmation I will be requiring you to provide early in the semester.  Please watch the Etudes system for an Announcement about it.  You will need to respond to this Announcement in Etudes as soon as it comes out.  If you do not, you will not be permitted to take exams, which means that you will not be able to pass the class.

I affirm, under penalty of prosecution for perjury and/or expulsion from Los Angeles Valley College and the Los Angeles Community College District, that I will not use or cause to be used any supplemental resources, human (other than myself), written, printed (other than an unmarked Exam Briefing sheet that may be provided by Dr. Sachs), electronic (including no additional computers or computer screens other than one main screen on the one computer you are using), computerized, auditory, or other supplementary resource(s), when looking at and/or taking any of the Exams or other assessments for the CAOT class(es) in which I am enrolled.  When looking at or taking an exam or assessment, I may only have the following:  Myself, my glasses (obviously, only if needed), my clothes, an unmarked Exam Briefing sheet that may have been provided by Dr. Sachs, a pencil or pen, and my exam computer with mouse, keyboard, and single monitor.  Any attached printer must be turned off during any exam.  I will not collect any images of any type of the exams.  I affirm that I will act in accordance with both the intention and the exact letter of this Affirmation.

Class Schedule

This is a VERY MAJOR part of the class.  Please ensure that you click on its link at the to of the screen.  You will probably be looking at this Schedule several times a week.

How Class Works

As an online class, we do not meet in person.  Beginning on the first day of the semester, all (yup, that’s 100%) of our communications will be handled through the Etudes system.  If you try to send me an e-mail outside of the Etudes system during the semester, do not expect it to be read.  We use Etudes exclusively for communication effective the first day of the semester.  This Etudes system is described elsewhere in this Syllabus and to a lesser extent in the Welcome Letter.  It is vital that you read and act on everything in the Welcome Letter, the First Steps, and the Readiness Checklist, with no exceptions.  Doing it sooner is much better than delaying.

Academic Honesty

Your taking this class implies a solemn promise that you will do 100% of your work and exams alone, with no help from others, and no consultation from others.  The exception is that you may wish to discuss any homework problems that are giving you trouble with other students taking the class (perhaps by using the Chat feature of Etudes).  Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses which I do not tolerate.  They may result in failure on an exam, paper or project; failure in course; and/or expulsion from the college.  For more information, please refer to the “Academic Dishonesty” policies in the LAVC Catalog. You may be surprised that some of the things listed there are not acceptable in a collegiate environment.


This class is taught entirely in English.   If you are a native English speaker, it would be a good idea for you to be at English 21 level or higher to take this class.  If you are not a native English speaker, it would be a good idea for you to be at English 361 level or higher to take this class.  Many students with poor English skills have done poorly in the class in the past often NOT because of mental limitations, but instead because of language problems. There is a free English test you can take to determine your level; you may check with the Counseling office for more information.

The Pass/Not Pass (aka Credit/No Credit) Enrollment Option

If you are taking this class as a “normal” class, where you wish to earn a grade and college units, then you simply need to enroll and follow all of my directions.  But some students are not interested in earning grades or units.  The remainder of this “Enrollment Option” Syllabus section is for these students exclusively.

There is a deadline to apply for this option as specified in the Los Angeles Valley College Schedule of Classes. If you are taking this class just to learn the software(s), and if you REALLY DO NOT CARE AND WILL NEVER CARE about a course grade or about earning units, and will never need to demonstrate to anyone that you passed or even took the class, then you should consider reducing your stress considerably by filing for credit/no-credit status.  You may talk to a counselor and the admissions office at the college about this option.  Credit/no credit is an option that could produce NO COLLEGE UNITS, even if you would otherwise earn a grade of A, B, C, or D. If enrolling Pass/Not Pass, you would NOT need to submit homework (since you are likely to receive a Fail grade, which will translate as “No Credit,” which won’t bother you, right?) and it will be technically harmless, if not such a hot idea, for you to simply fail all exams.

Websites We Use

We will be using seven primary websites for our class.  Although information about each of these appears elsewhere on the class website and in various parts of this Syllabus, here’s a little information on each:

1.  The general class website can be reached at

2.  For obtaining the textbook bundle from the publisher:

For obtaining the textbook bundle from the LAVC bookstore instead:

3.  For training and all exams, we will be using SAM 2013 (  NOTE that there’s no “www” in the URL.  Please see the link at the top of this web page for a link to SAM site for more detailed information.

4.  For SAM technical support and training videos:

5.  For class communications, we will be using the Etudes system, at  The Welcome Letter explains more about this system, and there’s quite a bit of information about it below, too.

6.  For submitting textbook homework, we will be using the Dropbox website.  Although the main site is, there are instructions you should read first in the Dropbox Information area of our class website.  This will help you get set up more directly and with more benefits than you would accrue through the company website.

7.  For your personal student information and your main online relationship with Los Angeles Valley College, use


Etudes:  An Online System for our Communications

We will be using the following website for communications:  This site will be used extensively for announcements, resources, chat, and all messages (in Etudes, they’re called “Private Messages,” or “PMs”).  After the semester begins, ALL communications between students and Dr. Sachs must use this “Etudes” system.  For our class, after the semester begins, regular e-mail for online students will not be used; you will need to use Etudes to send and receive messages to/from me.

Please check the Etudes system daily during the semester.  Even on weekends.  This is a major survival item for this online class.  If you can’t commit to checking daily, then I recommend that you do not take the class.

You’ll probably want to re-read the section about the iPhone App in the Welcome Letter since, if you can use the App, your life will be even simpler.

About two weeks before the semester begins, the college will automatically list you within the Etudes system.  That will be the first moment you will actually be able to see our class’ Etudes stuff.  Your login for Etudes is described in the upper right corner of the Virtual Valley website.  Check that out as the semester start date gets closer.

Once you can log into Etudes, look across the top of your screen.  You will see a tab for our class.  Clicking on that tab will open up a world of information for you. Within Etudes, once on our class’ tab, the left side of the screen will let you navigate to all parts of the site, including not only DISCUSSIONS AND PRIVATE MESSAGES, but also all ANNOUNCEMENTS and the important RESOURCES section. The ONLY approved way to communicate with your professor after the semester has begun is with the Private Message (“PM”) part of Etudes.  You get to the PMs by first clicking on DISCUSSIONS AND PRIVATE MESSAGES, then choosing the Private Messages link at the to of the page.  You choose to address your message to me (Dr. Steven Sachs), then write it.  There is also a provision on the message screen to attach a file if you need to do that.  Repeating:  After the semester begins, regular E-mail outside of the Etudes system will not be used.

The Etudes DISCUSSION GROUPS are also particularly helpful for student-to-student communication. Etudes also has a chat room.  Be aware that anything you type in there remains available for everyone to see throughout the entire semester!

It is CRITICAL that you check Etudes daily.  Yes, I am telling you (again) that you need to look at Etudes at least once a day, weekends included.  The ANNOUNCEMENTS section of Etudes is by far the most important.  It will keep you apprised of unscheduled changes; it will provide you with some Exam Briefings; it will deal with certain known software issues, and much more.  While Etudes will e-mail you certain high-priority announcements automatically (that’s one reason it is so important to ensure that the LAVC Admissions Office has your current e-mail address), lower-priority announcements may require you to log in to see them.  Even if you get lots of e-mails alerting you to new Etudes announcements, some new announcements may NOT create automatic e-mails to you, so you still need to log on to Etudes to check them daily.

Etudes also contains a constantly-evolving pool of Resources.  These include links, videos, briefings, and other things that are vital for your progress through the class. Consulting Etudes does not replace your referring often to the Class Schedule (see its entry in the link group at the top of this page) or other parts of the Syllabus.  There are many things in the Schedule and Syllabus that will not appear in Etudes.  So it’s important to refer to the schedule and the Syllabus often as well. VITAL for class success:  Please make it a habit to check into Etudes daily.

Among other resources listed in the Etudes menu (at the far left of the Etudes screen), Etudes currently lists “Online Tutoring.”  This “resource” is useless for us; they do not offer line tutoring in Microsoft Office applications, so you’ll need to ignore this ostensible resource.  So far, I haven’t been able to get the Etudes people to take the bad link off the screen.  So it goes.


Introduction & Choreography

Exam Briefings: You will sometimes be provided with an Exam Briefing sheet a few days before Major exams.  (No briefings for other types of exams [like Minor Exams] are planned, but you might luck out and get one from time to time.)  The differences between Major Exams and Minor Exams are addressed below.

Expect Briefings to appear in Etudes in the Announcements section.  You will want to grab onto these the moment they are posted!

Training and Exam Choreography: The typical choreography for training and exams has three-day sequences.  We have Trainings, Minor Exams, and Major exams. These sequences, which appear in the Class Schedule and on the due dates of the online SAM Schedule, usually happen once for each MAJOR exam like this:

Saturday:  The MINOR exams for the chapters/subject matter you have been studying are due.  Note that MINOR exams are typically to be completed before 11:55 p.m. the night before the associated Major exams.   These MINOR exams will become available several days (often more than a week) before they are due.  You will have the opportunity to complete these MINOR exams any time you wish, between their release dates their final due date.  Then, the following Sunday night:  The MAJOR exam takes place late in the evening (usually some time between 7:00 p.m and 10:00 p.m.).  Then, the following
Monday:  The online training sessions for the next chapters for class will usually become available in SAM.
After Sunday:  Some small number of days after the MAJOR exam date (not after Minor Exams), I will post grades as an Announcement in Etudes.  Grades are not scheduled to be available within the SAM system; you’ll need to rely on the Etudes Announcements to see your grades.

Note:  All SAM online training for all assigned chapters is all due the night before the Final Exam.  (The Final Exam is of course one of your Major Exams.)  This means that you can work on this training (or review it) even after you have taken the relevant Major exam (other than the Final).  Please don’t confuse SAM online training with Major or Minor Exams.  Minor Exams are due no later than the night before their associated Major Exams, while SAM online training for the entire semester won’t be due until just before the Final Exam.  Even the Excel Chapter 1 SAM training isn’t due until almost the end of the semester.  But of course it would be pretty stupid to wait to do it until long after the Chapter 1 exams!  You can see the training due date in the Schedule.

Major vs. Minor Exams

Online students have both Major and Minor exams.  All exams are taken within the SAM system.

The SAM Practice Exam

There will be one SAM practice exam available before your first “real” exam is due so you can become familiar with the exam interface.  The interface is pretty intuitive, but playing around with it during a practice exam can be of great benefit.  It won’t count toward you grade, and you’ll be able to go through it more than once if you want to.

Don’t worry if you can’t answer any of the practice/sample SAM exam questions; I make this available just to help you get used to the interface.  Your “score” on this practice/sample exam does not count for anything.  There will NOT be several “practice” exams; just the one to let you get used to the interface.  The subject matter in the practice exam may not match any of the subject matter in your “real” exams.

More Details on Exams

Exams may have Objective items, Practicum items, or both.  An Objective item requires you to identify a correct answer (like a true/false item, a multiple-choice item, or maybe even to provide a fill-in).  A Practicum item requires you to actually do Excel as if you were working on the software on your regular computer.  The SAM testing system provides you with a simulation of Excel and directs you to do something.  It watches what you do and grants credit when you do it correctly and accurately.  Example:  You may be asked to save or rename a file within Excel.

It is important to differentiate policies in this Syllabus that relate to Major and, separately, to Minor exams.  Minor exams cover each chapter’s material individually.  These may be completed as soon as they become available in the SAM Assignments area.  Minor exams are relatively brief and may have only practical questions, only objective questions, or a combination of both.  They will count less than Major Exams toward your course grade (see the Syllabus section on grading).  Minor exams are typically due at 11:55 p.m. the (usually Saturday) night before their associated Major exams.  Minor exams may be completed any time between when they become available (several days before the deadline date) and the aforementioned 11:55 p.m. deadline.  You DO NOT NEED TO WAIT to do the Minor Exams until the night before the associated Major Exam!

Major exams typically include both Objective and Practicum sections and count significantly more toward your course grade (see the Syllabus section on grading to see just how much more).  Major exams occur only on Sunday evenings, as noted elsewhere in this Syllabus. Exam “deadlines” refer to the last moments when you can submit the exams for credit.  The exams will automatically stop at their deadlines (you would run out of time) if you are still working on them at those times.  You can only get credit for the questions/procedures you have completed before the timer runs out.  Most students anticipate this and begin their exams with plenty of time to finish before the deadline.


You’ll probably want to re-read this section of the course Syllabus after you have already established your SAM account and can look at the SAM training.  You’ll especially want to look at the section below called, Even More on Sam Training, which takes you through the mechanics of doing training exercises.

The most significant parts of SAM Exams are very similar to the online SAM training.  In “regular,” non-exam training, SAM has steps like Observe, and Practice, and Apply.  The exams do not include Observe or Practice, but they are otherwise very similar to the Apply parts of training. Exams even have “Show Task List” drop-down arrows so you can navigate tasks out of order. The Objective portions of the exams are all some combination of multiple-choice, true-false, matching, and/or fill-in.  For fill-in questions, always type in lower-case letters.

For Major Exams, the Objective parts are worth 20% of the grade. The Practicum portions of exams emulate the software; it’s like you’re working within the software itself rather than simply answering questions about it. For Major Exams, the Practicum parts are worth 80% of the grade.  It’s more important to me that you can actually use the software than it is that you can answer questions about it.

DO NOT TAKE SAM EXAMS ON A WIRELESS NETWORK!  Find a computer that is wired to the internet for your exams!  DO TAKE SAM EXAMS USING THE FIREFOX BROWSER.  If you don’t already have Firefox, get it free at

Remember:  Major exams take place on Sunday nights, so make your wired-computer-use arrangements early. I recommend strongly that, as exam times come near, you practice working the Training exercises with a self-imposed time limit.  This will help get you used to working under the time constraints that the MAJOR exams themselves will impose.  For Major Exams, in most cases, I usually provide about 60 seconds of exam time for each Practicum exam item.  Not always.  Sometimes a few of the Practicum items can be completed it just a click or two, and of course that doesn’t take a full minute if you already know what you’re doing.

Make-Up Exams

There are NO make-up exams for either Major or Minor exams.  However, there may be some small relief under certain circumstances, as follows: Students missing one pre-Final Major exam will have that pre-Final Major exam’s score replaced by HALF OF the mean (average) of the other Major, pre-final Major exams (this would be a maximum of 50% credit).  Students missing the Final Major Exam will have that exam’s score replaced by one QUARTER OF the mean of the pre-Final Major exams (this would be a maximum of 25%, and would be a very low amount of credit).  Students missing two or more Major exams will not have any missing exam scores replaced. No score replacement is available for Minor exams.

Exams and Online Training

What are the SAM Training and Exams Like?  How about the Briefings?

You find all assigned SAM training and exams in the Assignments part of the SAM website.  On the SAM website, some things will only be listed the day they are due (like exams), so you will want to refer instead to the Class Schedule on this website to plan on what to do when.  The Class Schedule has all due dates listed for the entire semester.

SAM training is not due until almost the end of the semester, but of course you should be doing it throughout the semester anyway. All training exercises are officially due the night before the Final Major Examination, but it would be pretty dumb to wait until the last night before the Final Major Exam to do all of the training!   You may do the training exercises as many times as you wish before the night preceding he Final Major Examination.  The optimal way to do this is to complete all training relevant to a particular exam a couple of times shortly before that exam takes place.  Then, even after the minor exam, you can re-do the training to freshen up your knowledge. The Final Exam is cumulative, which means that it will require you to perform not only in the areas immediately preceding the exam, but also in information you have “accumulated” earlier in the semester. To receive credit for a given training exercise, you must complete that exercise 100% at least once before its due date.  Doing it again later, even if you just do some of it, will not interfere with this 100% credit.

The SAM Study Center

When you are in SAM, you may see a Study Center button in the upper right corner of your screen.  If you don’t see it, don’t sweat it.

This Study Center is an optional part of SAM.  Using it will not add directly to your class point total, but it may still help you learn Excel and potentially do better on the exams too.

The Study Center has several mechanisms to help you learn the material for the exam for which you are preparing.  When you click on the exam for which you’re preparing, you can choose Tutorials, Self-Quiz, or Flashcards.  There may not be all the same stuff available for every exam or chapter.

I don’t think the Study Center is executed very well, but it still might be worth your having a look at least once.  And if you like it, it’ll always be there.

Once in the Study Center, choose one of the goodies, then, for the first time you’re in there, click on the upper left box (next to the Excel icon) to get to the “Help and Information” instructions.  They’ll assist you to figure out how to use the Study Center.

SAM has some videos to help you learn about using the SAM website, and that includes information on using the SAM Study Center.  You can click HERE to get to those videos.

More on Exam Briefings

For most Major exams, you will have a Briefing available.  These Briefings will appear attached to Announcements in the Etudes system.  Although typically only Major exams will have full Briefings, I sometimes include special Gotcha information even for some Minor exams.

Briefings usually include information on number of exam items, start/end times, and other basic stuff.  More importantly, they may include “Gotchas,” which are things about which you need to be especially careful and vigilant during the exams.  I typically pre-test the exams, and if I find something hinky about an item, I’ll usually include a Gotcha in the briefing so you don’t do something “wrong” innocently.

If you see a Minor Exam Briefing (usually there are none), it may cover more than one Minor Exam at a time.  As a result, they may make reference to information or procedures about which you have not yet studied.  For example, if you’re reading a Briefing for Chapters 1 & 2, and you are only about to do the Minor Exam for Chapter 1, realize that the Briefing may refer also to stuff from Chapter 2 that you haven’t seen yet.  Implication of this:  Wherever a Minor Exam Briefing mentions material that has been in the assigned reading and study for the chapter exam you’re about to take, the Briefing will help you prepare.  If it says something that mystifies you, yet you have studied everything and done 100% of the homework, then assume that material will apply to a future Minor Exam.

Even More on SAM Training

When you begin a SAM training exercise from the SAM Assignments area, here’s what happens and how to handle it.

If you have speakers attached to your computer, turn them on.  There is some narration (often with a very boring voice, but you can’t have everything) that can be very helpful.  Now, step-by-step, here’s how it goes:

1.  An orange rectangle talks about what you will learn.  This rectangle may appear at the beginning of each step.
a.  You SHOULD read the whole thing one time before dismissing it.
b.  Click the CONTINUE button after reading it.
c.   When the exact same orange rectangle appears again, you can just click CONTINUE right away to get rid of it.

2. OBSERVE step:  The computer shows and tells you what to do in a video.
a.  Be sure you sound is turned on if you’re working in an environment where sound (even with a headset) is available.  You can do SAM training without speakers or a headset, but it’s better to have sound.
b.  Press TASK COMPLETE when you have observed, and the system will move you to the next step, which is …

3. PRACTICE step:  The computer tells you what to do again, but, this time, it waits for you to take the correct action (no movie).
a.  Follow the directions, one at a time.
b. Press TASK COMPLETE when you have practiced, and the system will move you to the next step, which is …

4. APPLY step:  The computer just gives you a general direction, and you decide and take the steps necessary to complete the task.
a.  Press TASK COMPLETE when you have done the work and the system will move you to the next question, unless you’re done.

5.  You can cheat and go straight to the Apply step.  DON’T DO THIS unless you really already know how to do the task.  It would be really foolish.  You could miss a nuance that you would have to know for the exam or for “real” Excel.

6.  At the far left is a “Show Task List” drop-down arrow.  This allows you to move among the tasks out of order (not a good idea).  It also allows you to review one you want to do/see again.

SAM Training Caveats

When you finish a training, you need to tell the computer that you are done.  If you just shut SAM down, or if you walk away from your computer, or if you just shut the thing off, then I will not get a report that you finished, and you’ll lose credit.

It is the completion of the “Apply” step that gives you the credit.  Of course, you should do all the steps that lead up to it.

Textbook Information

The Textbook Bundle

Please refer to the Welcome Letter (see link at the top of the page) for detailed information on the Textbook Bundle. It is NOT a good idea to just purchase the textbook alone outside of the bundle, because you’d have to purchase other parts of the bundle separately, and the cost would almost certainly be much higher this way.  Still, you can get them directly from the publisher, as noted in the Welcome Letter.

Textbook Organization

Here’s another section of the Syllabus that will make much more sense once you have a copy of the textbook in front of you, whether it’s an online version or a paper version.  You might want to make yourself a note to go back here once you get the book.

The first portion of the textbook, consisting of two sections, gets you ready to do Excel.  It actually has sections that look like homework, but for these two sections, you are not assigned to do the homework.  Still, if you’re not already an expert in Windows (that’s different from Office), you should go through the Windows chapter carefully.  The Windows the book teachers is Windows 8.  If you have a different version, you should probably ignore this chapter and just get your Windows training elsewhere.

Please note the Welcome Letter‘s treatment of Office 365; it’s not such a hot idea to use it, and that letter explains why.

Note that the actual instruction in Excel 2013 begins after the introductory portion of the textbook.  The first Excel chapter is called — get ready — Excel Chapter 1.

The first “section” of the textbook, Office 2013 and Windows 8:  Essential Concepts and Skills, provides general microcomputer concepts.  Look through the chapter, and if you are already very familiar with the subject matter, you can skip the chapter.  However, if you don’t already know this material, it will be extremely valuable for you to study it.  YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS STUFF BEFORE TAKING ON EXCEL!  You surely don’t want to get a job, be expected to know all of this stuff, then fumble in ignorance when your employer asks you to “put xyz onto the cloud, please,” or asks what kind of flash storage you’re using.  Do you know what these mean?

The next “section” of the book, Explore Office 365, is of limited utility for us since we won’t be using it.


Textbook Assignments and What to Put into Dropbox: How should I handle the different parts of each assigned chapter in the textbook?

The CLASS SCHEDULE, which you can find by clicking on the Class Schedule link at the top of this webpage, will tell you when each homework submission will be due in our shared Dropbox folder.  (Read about our extremely important, shared Dropbox folder in the Dropbox Information document.)

Now refer to the document called Preparing Your Homework (link is at the top of this page) for details on which parts of the textbook to include in the Dropbox and how to prepare them.  The only things that go into the Dropbox are assigned exercises from the ends of assigned textbook chapters.  The Dropbox must not contain anything from SAM.

You will want to refer to the “Preparing” document frequently while doing your assigned homework.  To get full credit for homework, you will need to follow the instructions in Preparing Your Homework precisely.

SAM Online Training Credit

SAM training segments are all due at 11:55 p.m. the night before the Final Major exam (see Schedule), but you should complete them earlier as long as they appear in your SAM Assignments display.  You will earn full credit if you complete fully all assignments on time.  THIS IS A BIG DEAL:  If any of these assignments is not completed fully, and/or if any of these assignments is not completed on time, you will receive only half credit.  However, if by the deadline you have completed fully less than half of all of these assignments, you will receive no credit (0 points). That’s right:  If you leave even one part of one training out, you only earn half credit for the entire semester’s training.  Please be careful about this.


Sources for Points

Point Sources for ONLINE Classes Maximum Possible Points
On-Time Completion of All Assigned Training in SAM (see Schedule for date deadline) 125 (collectively)
On-Time Dropbox submission of Chapter Homework Folders (see Schedule for date deadlines) 125 (collectively)
Major Exams, Pre-Final 700 (collectively) Each pre-final Major exam counts the same.  Example:  If there were only two such pre-final Major exams, each would be worth 350 points.
Minor Exams 300 (collectively). Each Minor exam counts the same.  Example:  If there were six such pre-final Minor exams, each would be worth 50 points.
Final Major Exam (Cumulative Format) 450

Grading System

A = 1462 (approximately 86% of maximum possible points)

B = 1292 (approximately 76% of maximum possible points)

C = 1122 (approximately 66% of maximum possible points)

D = 1020  (approximately 60% of maximum possible points)

Fail = 1019 and lower

Doing the Homework

The Homework for this class consists of doing the TEXTBOOK ASSIGNMENTS and, separately, the online SAM TRAINING.  Details can be found in other areas of this Syllabus. This class requires considerable HANDS-ON computer work and outside study.  If you choose to do less work, you should NOT expect to learn the software well and you should not expect to do well in the class.  The assigned exercises are the minimum you need to do.  If you can put in more time, do all the exercises (but you must only submit the assigned ones).

PLEASE make sure that you do your homework alone.  Doing it with other people REDUCES YOUR UNDERSTANDING and has VERY OFTEN resulted in grades of “D” and “Fail” in computer classes.  It is not “friendly” to do your homework with other people, and it WILL HURT YOU.  Most of my students who fail classes have made this error. Online students need to put in a minimum of 25-30 hours per WEEK (after the second week of class) working through the book and SAM training.  Do less?  Learn less.

Student Data Files for the Homework

Where Does One Find the STUDENT DATA FILES (the publisher’s homework files) to complete the Textbook Assignments?

While working through the textbook exercises, you will be asked frequently to open certain, preexisting files that the publisher has provided for you.   The best way to get these files is to follow the directions in the Getting the Publisher’s Homework Files document, a link to which appears at the top of this web page.

Once you download the publisher’s files, I recommend strongly that you copy all of them (make a second set) to a fresh, “working” folder.  When you actually do your homework, work on a copy in the “working” folder rather than on the original that you downloaded.  That way, if you screw something up badly, you can just make another copy of the original and start fresh.

On-Campus Laboratory

There is a computer lab (the “computer commons”) in the library building.  As an active LAVC student, you may use this lab even if you are not enrolled in any on-campus classes.  Be prepared to provide a student ID card to prove you’re a student.

Disabled Students

If you are a student with a disability requiring accommodations (note:  our online-only class does not include any classroom or on-campus time), and have not contacted the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (SSD), do so in a timely manner.  At the time of this writing, the Services for Students with Disabilities Office is located in the Student Services Annex, Room 175 or call SSD at (818) 947-2681 or TTY (818) 947-2680 to meet with a SSD counselor.  Once you are registered with SSD and if they tell you that you are entitled to instructor accommodations, PM me in Etudes to let me know.



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