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APP 110 Business Computer Fundamentals
Week  1 Discussion
DQ1  Computer Skills
Learning Objectives Covered
LO 01.01 – Discuss the importance of computer skills for career needs and personal use
Career Relevancy
Computers are an inescapable part of modern work life. We use them to manage data, communicate, research, document, and protect. Depending on your future career, you may need to use specialized computers such as medical diagnostic equipment. For this discussion, we will cover the importance of basic computer skills like keyboarding, file management, and the ability to use basic general applications for word processing, presentations, and data management.
Specific Computer Skill: Participating in a Class Discussion
Before we get into the background material for this discussion, let’s first cover how you will participate in the discussion.
Building community in an online classroom is a shared responsibility. Some students may complain that the online classroom lacks the ‘feel’ of a traditional classroom. One way we bridge this gap is to actively participate, in a meaningful way, in the online discussions which are similar to face-to-face conversations. To be able to maximize your ability to communicate with your peers, you must be able to navigate the course, add your thoughts to the discussion board each week, and research the given topic. All of these steps require the basic computer skills you’ll learn this week. Make sure to attend a live session to watch the demonstration on how to enter your initial and follow up posts.
The most important reason to participate in discussions is that they are proven in significant research to be the best way for online learning to grow. In active discussions, you, your fellow students, and the instructor work together to develop knowledge on topics. You should find yourself looking at topics in new ways that were not obvious to you when you started the discussion. Discussions, like many things in life, will give back to you what you put into them.
What is a discussion post and why are we doing it?
Discussions are fluid in that you have a responsibility to add to the conversation, offer alternative ways of looking at things, to share your experiences, and to bring to the conversation new ways of looking at or exploring a particular topic. Your contributions matter. Imagine, if you will, sitting in a classroom with other students and the instructor asks the group to engage in a discussion about a particular topic. You cannot receive credit for this if you do not participate. Below we will explore some strategies for how to engage in the discussions.
What is the word “prompt”?
The prompt is the question itself. When you enter the discussion forum, you will see the question being asked of you. This question is the prompt. This question ‘prompts’ you to get the conversation started and to offer your response.
Let’s explore the week one discussion. Here are 5 tips to consider before writing your initial post and/or follow up posts:
Schedule time for the discussion
Scheduling time for discussion posts creates an opportunity to use your smartphone or even your tablet to set reminders. Your tablets have a calendar feature that you should be using. Schedule at least an hour or two on Monday and Tuesday to conduct research for and write your discussion response.
Consider creating an outline for the discussion.
When are you going to research?
When are you going to post the initial response?
When are you going to make the first peer response?
When are you going to make the second peer response?
Set the due date on your calendar one day earlier. An early due date will give you an extra day to work with when you find yourself against the clock.
Know your stuff
Do the reading and re-read the content if you do not understand something. You should fully understand the topic before making your first post to the discussion forum.
Do research. If you have re-read the content and still have difficulties understanding the material, this is an excellent opportunity to go out and find additional research on the topic. The Independence University Library is a useful resource, and the librarians can help you locate what is needed.
Ask, affirm, and redirect – AAR
Consider asking questions. When responding to your peers, you will want to further the conversation and asking questions can be a great way to do so.
Consider affirming what was said. Tell the author of the post not only what you agree with, but why you agree with it and perhaps share outside research or even your own professional experience supporting that claim.
Consider redirecting them. Perhaps there is another perspective for your peer to consider. Redirections are an excellent opportunity to bring in research and provide your analysis.
Extend the conversation
Do not just say “Great post!”. Tell them what made their initial response a great post and then provide an opportunity to extend the conversation. Ask questions, share research, and bring in new perspectives to the conversation.
Be an active participant
Be active in the forum more than a couple of days. Consider this to be an ongoing discussion. You would not want to have a discussion with someone wherein they respond maybe once or twice in a week. An online discussion should be ongoing throughout the week.
Go beyond the minimum expectations. For example, if you need to make two follow-up posts strive to make four or five as this will not only show that you are active on the forum but also provide an opportunity to engage with your peers.
Finally, focus on the quality of your posts. Quality is much more important than quantity. It is much better to have three fully developed, substantive, and engaging peer responses than six peer responses that do not go beyond “great post” or help extend the conversation.
How to participate
When responding to the discussion prompt, you will begin by clicking on the text box titled “Reply.” This 1-line text box is located just below the sections titled “Reply Requirements.”
Reply 1.jpeg
When you click or tap in this text box, it will turn into a full-text editor as shown below.
Reply Box.jpeg
The reply box is a typical text entry tool that you will, or already have encountered in online interactions and communication and it is called a Rich Text editor. The reason it is called a Rich Text editor is that it contains a toolbar that is used to modify the text’s appearance. When you write within the writing area, you can highlight the text you have written using your mouse or finger on the touchpad and then use the toolbar to change how the text looks.
Why would we change how the text looks?
Using the toolbar options to modify specific text is used to make your written content clearer to the reader. This is called enhancing the text, and it can be used to emphasize important words or to provide numbers for a list of steps you may be describing.
Let’s give it a try.
Tap on the Reply button just below the Reply Requirements section below.
In the Rich Text editor, tap the writing area and write a few words—any words will do.
Double tap one of the words to highlight it. (You can also double tap and drag your finger or mouse to highlight multiple words.)
Next, tap on the icon in the top left corner of the toolbar that looks like a B. Notice how the word changes and stands out compared to the others.
Now, try some of the other icons in the toolbar. Click the next icons and observe how the highlighted word changes. You are welcome to play around with the toolbar, but be sure to click the Cancel button below when you are done so your experiment doesn’t become your official post for the week.
Now you have the technical skills to respond to the Discussion Prompt. Understanding how and when to enhance your text is a valuable writing skill you will improve over time. Being able to enhance your text not only allows you to make more of an impact with what you write but will also be needed when you begin writing research and essay papers. You will learn more about each of the standard tools located on most text editor toolbars and what they do as you explore the Microsoft Word application next week.
Please watch the short video below for step by step instructions on how to complete the Week 1 Discussion.(7:13 min)
When writing your post, you will want to use outside research. It might be from something in the text for the course, on this particular page, or something you find in a book or online. (In future courses, we will cover more about how to determine the quality of a source. For now, simple common sense is useful. if the source material seems flaky to you, then do not use it as a source.)
It is imperative to give credit to the original author for three reasons:
The instructor can use the reference to review the source material. This can be useful to make sure the material is used in the correct context or help engage with the student better in comments to deepen understanding.
It helps the instructor—and you—distinguish between your thought and the source thought. Now, you might be tempted to think it will be better for your grade if the instructor thinks that brilliant quote came from you, but actually, what your instructor is looking for is how you can develop a position or thought with evidence. This is what will be a critical need for you in your future career where you will need to be able to state a position and defend it to your supervisors, employees, and clients.
It is proper respect to the work of others. You do not want anyone to claim your hard work as theirs and the same is true of others about their work.
Whenever we chose to do our own research, we need to craft the right new citations and references. Attend a live session or contact the Writing Center (Links to an external site.) (in SHARC) if you want assistance.
We use the Institution Writing Guidelines or IWG for how we construct papers early in your program of study. Over time, this will become much easier to do. It is based on a more detailed set of guidelines widely accepted in higher education and the professional world called APA. So, if you see APA examples mentioned in a course, they will also fit in the more relaxed expectations of the IWG.
Below is one way you could cite for this discussion if using the video above.
Sample Reference
Computer Skills. (2017). In (Comp.), Computer Fundamentals (APP110 Week 1 Discussion). Independence University.
Sample In-text citation
(Computer Skills, 2017)
The difference in how you use a reference versus an in-text citation is like this. First, they are teammates. The in-text citations is used in the text where you are using the info from the source and the reference is the more detailed information needed to go find your source. It looks like this:
Sample post on why discussions are important.
Discussions allow students to demonstrate their knowledge on a topic, just as they can in writing papers or taking tests. However, discussions also allow for students to talk to each other about the content in an interactive way (Computer Skills, 2017). This means students develop knowledge together about a topic, learning from each other and being encouraged by each other.
References
Computer Skills. (2017). In (Comp.), Computer Fundamentals (APP110 Week 1 Discussion). Independence University.
Background
For each discussion, there will be some background material. The background material is not meant to be all you study for the discussion. It is meant to give you ideas for your own research and to help the class understand the boundaries and goals of the discussion.
For this week, we’ll keep it short since we have already given you a lot just in practicing how to participate.
We are fortunate to have computers in the workplace. It is much easier to track things down, make corrections, and utilize data than it was prior to the arrival of computers. Of course, there are downsides. Much more data is tracked on individuals than ever before and there is a dependency on computers. If something goes wrong such as a computer breaking or a power outage, it can create an unproductive and stressful environment. For workers, there is a need to have skills in keyboarding, computer communications (email, messaging, video conferencing), presentation development, and data management—often even in careers or positions where one would not anticipate the need. Just as speed is an advantage in sports, it can be an advantage at work as well. Fast reading and typing (which means speed and accuracy) can help an employee stand out and be more effective. This is something we can all continue to develop over time through practice and focused effort.
Computers have come to be commonplace, not just in the office but in many homes. The ease of taking your work and home life with you on a laptop or tablet has magnified the ways computers are helpful and necessary. Computers can be used for many personal reasons such as budgeting, communicating with friends and family through social media, storing photos and other important documents, and even watching television shows. When you familiarize yourself with the ways computers function, and the many avenues of learning and production that are available to you for work and personal life, you can have a wide array of possibilities at your fingertips for work and personal enjoyment.
Prompt
As you can see, by the instructions above concerning how to simply participate in a discussion, the importance of computers skills applies to your academic needs as well as to career and personal experiences. With time, our society has become more and more dependent on computers to help us with many tasks, both personal and professional. There may be some professions that rely more heavily on computers and others that focus more on manual labor. Thinking of your future career and how important computer and computer skills are, answer the following question. Do you think your future career will continue to become more and more reliant on computers, and is it a good thing to depend so fully on computers to help with work skills and careers? Explain your answer.
For your citation, you might use articles that show examples of computer skills that are useful in various types of professions and why those skills benefit the workplace. You can also find articles from experts that suggest ways to minimize dependency on computers while still having a productive business.
Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful but discuss this and figure it out together.
Reply Requirements
You must submit:
1 main post of 150+ words with 1 in-text citation and reference (follow the Institution Writing Guidelines)
2 follow-up posts (replies) of 50+ words
Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be:
Your own words (no copy and paste)
Unique (no repeating something you already said)
Substantial in nature, which means there has to be some meat to the reply not something like: “Good job, Rasha, your post is excellent.” A substantial post will do one of the following:
Extend the conversation deeper,
Challenge the post being responded to, or
Take the conversation in a career-relevant tangent
Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. You’re training to be a professional—write like it.
DQ2  Improving Your Computer Application Skills Learning Objectives Covered
LO 03.02 – Demonstrate application user interface usage sufficient for meeting needs in the academic environment and future career environment
Career Relevancy
In the professional realm, it is imperative that employees, managers, and leaders be able to communicate with each other and efficiently collaborate on a given topic, conversation, meeting, or project. While this includes verbal and personal communication, it often also includes written communication through email, instant message, and online collaboration systems. By understanding how to use the tools in Microsoft Office you can save time and effort. In the workplace, this is a very attractive skill to have as it saves employers money and allows you to spend your time on other more important tasks.
Background
APP110_wk1_D2.jpg
Application Skills in the Career Environment
In the workplace, word processors and spreadsheets have been around since the personal computer became a mainstay in offices across the country. What has really taken things up a notch is the addition of presentation software (like PowerPoint), scheduling software for emails and everything else that can possibly be scheduled, and a number of other applications available in Microsoft Office. These applications make everything you do easier, quicker, and free up time to focus on those job tasks that require time spent thinking and being creative. And really isn’t that the point? Businesses want their employees to be able to spend the majority of their time doing “business”, not trying to keep up with correspondence, scheduling meetings, and other time-consuming details.
One of the great advantages of being proficient at using Microsoft Office applications is that they apply to all areas of business. For example, if you are working for a doctor in a front office position, you can use Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel and other applications from the software to do your job. The same can be said if you work in a factory, at a school or university, at a retail store, and many more. There is not a place where these skills are not needed or desired by employers.
The following articles will reiterate this, by explaining basic computer skills every person should know and how important these skills can be.
5 Basic Computer Skills Every Employee Should Have (831 words) http://www.saxonsit.com.au/blog/workplace/5-basic-computer-skills-every-employee-should-have/ (Links to an external site.)
The Important of Computer Skills in the Workplace (824 words) https://showme.co.za/cape-town/business/computers-technology/the-importance-of-computer-skills-in-the-workplace/ (Links to an external site.)
These articles mention work emails as a crucial part to success in the workplace. This is what is used quite often to communicate important information, therefore, your understanding of emails and how they work is mandatory. Along with emails, spreadsheet application and word processing knowledge is key to success in an office environment as well. Knowing the basics of communication and computer applications will help you become proficient in your career. Having a working knowledge of computer basics can help you create opportunity for yourself in the workplace.
Application Skills in the Academic Environment
Much of what students are expected to do and learn in classrooms (both in-person and virtually) is molded around a good grasp of computer skills and knowledge. In an academic environment, students are expected to be able to check and write emails, write papers and essays, work on collaborative presentations with other students, and search through the vast amounts of content available in the digital world. The main skills that you need to be able to master as a student in the academic environment are:
Email
Word processing
Presentations creation and delivery
Basic spreadsheets
While email is important, for this course, you should be focusing more on the other three areas. Word processing is needed each time you write a discussion post or do an assignment. Often the documents you are given in a course to work with are Word-based. For example, when you are preparing to write your discussion post for this course, the first thing most students do is open up a Word document. Why not just type what you want to say in the dialog box? Using Word allows you to type out your thoughts and ideas, save them, and refine them as you go. You can have set up your ideas on how you will answer your discussion posting and then add to each piece as needed. Knowing how to use the basic functions of Word allows you to cut parts you don’t want, move things around, check your spelling and make a long list of modifications without losing any of your work.
Definitely write discussion posts and replies in Word and save them. That way, if something happens like your Internet going down or you hit the wrong button, you still have your content to upload without having to start over from scratch.
Presentation software (in the case of this class, MS PowerPoint) is a great way for students to organize  school projects to present to the instructor or class as a whole. PowerPoint has many features that allow you to customize your presentation to look both professional and keep it interesting. Have you ever had to sit through a presentation that had plain white background slides, with black words and no images or anything to spice it up? That is the fastest way to lose the interest of your audience both in the workplace and in school. You can have the most interesting topic to share and based on the look of your presentation, your audience is bored and will not pay attention. PowerPoint gives you so many options to bring animation, ClipArt, add images and graphs, not to mention a large array of backgrounds in order to capture the interest of your audience so that your message (whatever it happens to be) comes across clearly.
Being able to access and utilize basic spreadsheet skills is yet another skill that is important in the academic environment. Programs such as MS Excel allow you to take data and track it and organize it in a meaningful way. Even simple formulas can assist you in performing basic math functions using the values in your spreadsheet. Gone are the days when you had to add up a string of numbers using a calculator. Excel also makes it easy to create charts and graphs to show and compare data.
It is obvious that good computer skills can benefit any student. The following article speaks about the importance of computer and technology skills to online learners.
Essential Computer and Technology Skills of Online Learners (618 words) https://oedb.org/advice/essential-computer-and-technology-skills-of-online-learners/ (Links to an external site.)
Basic information, that is important for online students to know, includes being familiar with the system your school uses to communicate class assignments and lectures. The easier you can navigate your learning management system, the faster you can get to what materials you need for your specific class work. Becoming familiar with researching online can also benefit you greatly as a student. Having the correct hardware or software for what you are trying to achieve in your school work is also very crucial to your success.
Prompt
One of the nice things about the Microsoft Office 365 suite of apps is that many of the interface controls are similar from one app to another. Another is the ease with which pieces can be shared from one to the other. Still, there is a learning curve initially to gain proficiency with these products—very few people truly master them as most of us do not need full mastery to do our work.
As you look forward to improving your skills and consider your future career, where do you think these skills in computer applications will be helpful? If you already have mastered the basics, what skills do you want to develop further for your future career?
This is an easy discussion prompt, but you still need an outside reference. Since you are not yet your future professional self, you need an outside expert to help answer the question about what you need to know. Places you may want to search include one of the academic databases in SHARC (click the button that says “ProQuest – EBSCO – CINAHL”), the U.S. Department of Labor job descriptions, ask someone you know who is already in that field, or search online for a professional association representing that field.
In your replies to others, you can add pieces you think they might need or offer suggestions on how to develop those skills.
Reply Requirements
You must submit:
1 main post of 150+ words with 1 in-text citation and reference (follow the Institution Writing Guidelines)
2 follow-up posts (replies) of 50+ words
Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be:
Your own words (no copy and paste)
Unique (no repeating something you already said)
Substantial in nature, which means there has to be some meat to the reply not something like: “Good job, Rasha, your post is excellent.” A substantial post will do one of the following:
Extend the conversation deeper,
Challenge the post being responded to, or
Take the conversation in a career-relevant tangent
Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. You’re training to be a professional—write like it.
Click here for info on the Institution Writing Guidelines (IWG) if you have questions.
References and Resources:
Gill, A. (2017, August 22). 5 Basic Computer Skills Every Employee Should Have. Retrieved from http://www.saxonsit.com.au/blog/workplace/5-basic-computer-skills-every-employee-should-have/ (Links to an external site.)
Cape Town – ShowMe Community Website. (2008). The importance of computer skills in the workplace. Retrieved from Cape Town: https://showme.co.za/cape-town/business/computers-technology/the-importance-of-computer-skills-in-the-workplace/ (Links to an external site.)
Open Education Database (2018). Essential Computer and Technology Skills of Online Learners. Retrieved from OEdB: https://oedb.org/advice/essential-computer-and-technology-skills-of-online-learners/ (Links to an external site.)

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