MyLab IT UNC Greensboro

EDUCATOR STUDY

MyLab IT educator study documents hybrid emporium model in Business Computing I course at University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Key Findings

  • To save time and money for the department, the course was redesigned from a face-to-face course to a hybrid, emporium-style course run by one lead instructor, keeping MyLab IT as the foundation of the course.
  • Students who completed all Excel Grader Projects had average Excel Capstone Project scores seven percentage points higher than students who skipped one or more Excel Grader Projects and the difference is statistically significant.
  • At the end of the course, 89 percent of students reported feeling extremely or very confident in their ability to successfully use Microsoft Office.

School name
University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC

Course name
Introduction to Business Computing I

Course formats
Hybrid/emporium and online

Course materials
MyLab IT with Exploring Office 2016 Volume 1 and Technology in Action by Evans, Martin, and Poatsy

Timeframe
Fall 2017

Educator
Mary Catherine Chauvin

Results reported by
Sara Owen Kasper, Pearson Customer Outcomes Analytics Manager

Setting

University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) is one of 17 campuses that comprise the University of North Carolina’s system of higher learning. Approximately 18,000 on-campus students and more than 1,700 others in extension programs enrolled for the 2016–17 academic year. Sixty-five percent of resident undergraduate students are female, and 27% of resident undergraduate students are African American. UNCG offers 85 undergraduate degrees in more than 100 areas of study, 74 master’s programs, and 32 doctoral programs.

About the Course

Taught at the Bryan School of Business and Economics in the Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, Business Computing I is a three-credit course open to all students seeking an introduction to computer usage. It is also a pre-admission requirement for the Business Studies major at UNCG. More than 500 students enroll each Fall and Spring semester.

In today’s highly competitive job market, every college graduate needs computer proficiency. Business Computing I introduces the student to fundamental microcomputer and Internet tools that firms use to function effectively. The objectives of this course are to provide the student with a general understanding of computer systems and to develop some basic competencies with common business software applications. These competencies include:

  • Understand microcomputer terminology and operations;
  • Use electronic mail, understand Internet concepts, and implement effective online searches;
  • Employ the Windows operating system; and
  • Productively use microcomputer software for word processing, business graphics, and electronic spreadsheets.

Topics covered include: Windows OS, Internet, securing your system, system software, email and internet collaboration tools, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2016.

Challenges and Goals

Mary Catherine Chauvin has taught the Microsoft Office suite for over 15 years and came to UNCG in Spring 2016 after teaching at Guilford Community College in North Carolina. During her time at UNGC, an idea arose to teach Business Computing I as an emporium model, to save both time and money for the department, using MyLab IT for the foundation of the course. The course was previously taught three days a week with MyLab IT in a face-to-face setting by a full-time professor. In the new hybrid model, students meet only once a week in a computer lab for one hour, but spend more time outside of class completing course work and working in study groups. Chauvin was brought on as the course lead to ensure a successful redesign and a commitment to student success. She runs about 15 sections of 35 students in both Fall and Spring and a few sections in Summer sessions.

Implementation

MyLab integration with Canvas
UNCG uses Pearson’s Learning Management System (LMS) integration service which means that students access MyLab through Canvas, the LMS at UNCG. Students taking the course have just one access code and a single sign-on process instead of the need to log in to Canvas and additionally sign in to MyLab. This results in a simple way for students to start their MyLab assignments, ensuring that they are ready to work from the first day of class.

MyLab IT
The course is designed in style of a hybrid emporium model. (A few online sections are also offered each semester.) Class meets in a 35-seat computer lab once a week for one hour. Attendance is mandatory, and students sign a roster upon entering the classroom. Attendance is recorded in Canvas at the end of each day. For each class absence, one percentage point is deducted from the final course grade. Three tardies equal one absence.

Students must check their Canvas and MyLab IT announcement board every day to read important information that may have been posted about the course. Assignments, activities, and tests are found in MyLab. Students have required work due before each class session. Before class begins, Chauvin checks to see which students completed the assignments and awards points. Students have about five or six assignments per chapter, including an end-of-chapter quiz, a Simulation Training, and a Grader Project. To be successful in this course, Chauvin expects students to spend 4–6 hours per week on their assignments.

Chauvin uses the first 15–20 minutes of class to answer questions about course content and go over the more challenging parts of the assignments. The rest of class time is used to work on assignments in MyLab. Students may work on the Grader Project due at end of the week or ask questions on another assignment. During each class, three students are chosen to circulate the computer lab helping other students.

The course is not self paced; all activities have specific due dates, although students may work ahead to a certain extent. All activities, assignments, and assessments must be completed before the specified due date or a 3% penalty is applied for every day late. Because learning in this class is cumulative, students are encouraged to complete all assignments in order to develop the skills needed in subsequent chapters. Students may improve their score by correcting and resubmitting assignments. Exams and Capstone Grader Projects may not be submitted late.

About study groups
Study groups are an essential component of the hybrid course. Each student is assigned a study group with eight or nine classmates; the group is required to meet outside of class for two hours each week. Each week the study group leader must fill out a Google form detailing when and where the group met and what topics were discussed. Students are encouraged to meet in the computer lab, although they may meet wherever they choose. On the Fall 2017 end-of-semester survey, 72% of student respondents agreed that working in a study group was a good way to learn from other students.

Because Chauvin is the only instructor for more than 500 students each semester, it’s challenging for her to immediately respond to emails, so when students have questions about homework, they are encouraged to first reach out to their study group for help. If students must contact the professor, they are required to adhere to a professional email format (details included on the syllabus).

Course assignments

  • End-of-chapter quizzes include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint quizzes from the Exploring series and from Technology in Action chapters. Students have three attempts to get their best score and may view their attempt results for quizzes.
  • Simulation Trainings and Grader Projects: Assigned from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint chapters. Some allow for multiple attempts; the highest score is recorded in the gradebook.
    • When unable to start or complete a Simulation Training, students on the end-of-semester survey reported using the available learning aids (Read, Watch, Practice) for assistance: always – 58%; often – 29%; and occasionally – 13%.
    • 97% of student survey respondents agreed that the MyLab IT Simulation Trainings helped them get familiar with and practice skills in Microsoft Office before completing the Grader Projects.
    • 100% of students agreed that the MyLab IT Grader Projects helped them get familiar with and learn the skills in Microsoft Office.
    • if students were unhappy with their grade on the first attempt of a Grader Project, 59% reported they always used View Submissions in MyLab IT to help correct their errors; 35% reported they often used View Submissions.
  • Midterm project: Students are tasked to write their resume adhering to the style accepted by the career services center at UNCG. They must also create a LinkedIn profile page. This project develops skills in Microsoft Word and social media. If students stay in the Bryan School of Business and Economics, they will be required to create their resume, so this project gives them a head start. Chauvin and a graduate assistant use a rubric to grade this project. This is the only hand-graded assignment students complete during the semester. For extra credit, students may take their resume to career services and go through a resume approval process to fine-tune their resume. About one-quarter of the class do this extra step.
  • Exams are timed, and students are responsible for submitting exams before the time expires. All exams are taken in the computer lab during class through MyLab IT. Students have one attempt and may not review their results.
    • Word and Excel unit exams are in a Capstone Grader Project format.
    • Final exam is objective-based, multiple-choice format.

Best practices
Chauvin’s syllabus encourages students who want to succeed in the course to be active learners. Students are encouraged to do an assignment more than once to become proficient with a new skill. The following best practices are encouraged:

  1. Log in every day and complete your assignments.
  2. Pay attention to what you are reading and doing.
  3. Take notes: if something is a bit complicated, write it down, think about it.
  4. Ask questions.
  5. Contact your study group frequently, at least twice per week.
  6. Work all assignments repeatedly until you earn 100%.
  7. Keep up with the assigned readings and work for the course–do not to get behind.

MyLab IT Integrity Violation
An Integrity Violation is the result of students sharing Grader Project files and/or submitting another student’s file as their own. This act is considered plagiarism and is cheating. Chauvin has a zero tolerance for Integrity Violations and takes the following actions:

  • 1st offense: involved students will receive 0 points for the assignment.
  • 2nd offense: involved students will receive 0 points for the assignment and the violation will be reported in student records, to the student’s advisor, and to the department head.
  • 3rd offense: formal disciplinary action and student will receive an F for their course grade.

Assessments

  • 40% Exams
    • Word unit Capstone Grader Project
    • Excel unit Capstone Grader Project
    • Midterm project
    • Final exam
  • 30% Microsoft Excel (chapters 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • 10% Microsoft Word (chapters 1, 2, 3)
  • 10% Microsoft PowerPoint (chapters 1, 2)
  • 10% Technology in Action (chapters 3, 5, 7, 9)

Results and Data

Out of a total of 583 students taking Intro to Business Computing in Fall 2017, 491 passed the course with a final letter grade of A, B, or C — a success rate of 84%.

Completing a Capstone Grader Project requires the skills learned from three or four textbook chapters. For the Excel unit, which comprises 40% of the course grade, students complete 15 Grader Projects (18 for online students) and are assigned a final Excel Capstone project to test cumulative knowledge. By completing Grader Projects, students build on the skills they need to be successful on the final Capstone Project.

A t-test, which measures whether the means of two groups are statistically different, was used to compare the average Excel Capstone Grader Project score of students who scored above and below the mean Excel Grader Project score of 87% (figure 1). Students who had an Excel Capstone Grader Project score of 0 or did not complete any Excel Grader Projects were removed for the purpose of this analysis.

  • Results show that students who scored above the mean Excel Grader Project score had a significantly higher average Excel Capstone Project score (M=93%, SD=8%, N=365) — eight percentage points higher — than students who scored below the mean Excel Grader Project score (M=85%, SD=13%, N=146), indicating that this difference was statistically significant, where t(509) = 8.13, p<.05.

A t-test was also used to compare the average Excel Capstone Grader Project score of students who completed all Excel Grader Projects and students who skipped one or more (figure 1).

  • Results show that students who completed all Excel Grader Projects had a significantly higher average Excel Capstone Grader Project score (M=92%, SD=9%, N=403) — seven percentage points higher — than the score of students who skipped one or more Grader Projects (M=85%, SD=14%, N=108), indicating that this difference was statistically significant, where t(509) = 6.5, p<.05.

Average Excel Capstone Grader Project scores

Figure 1. Average Excel Capstone Grader Project Score for Students with Overall Excel Grader Project Scores Above Average (n=365) and Below Average (n=146) and for Students Completing All Excel Grader Projects (n=403) or Skipping One or More Grader Projects (n=108), Fall 2017 (N=511)

Figure 2 includes the average number of Excel Grader Projects skipped based on the letter grade of the Excel Capstone, indicating that students may want to consider how skipping a Grader Project could impact their performance on the Capstone.

Average number of Excel Grader Projects skipped based on Capstone Project letter grade

Figure 2. Average Number of Excel Grader Projects Skipped Based On Letter Grade of Excel Capstone Grader Project, Fall 2017 (N=511); A (n=343); B (n=101); C (n=38); D (n=15); F (n=14)

The Student Experience

Responses from the Fall 2017 end-of-semester survey of Chauvin’s students (7% response rate) indicate that the responding students recognized the value of MyLab IT.

  • 100% of students agreed that their knowledge of Microsoft Office and their ability to successfully use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint increased as a result of using MyLab IT.
  • At the end of the course, 89% of students reported feeling extremely or very confident in their ability to successfully use Microsoft Office.
  • 95% of students agreed they would recommend MyLab IT to other students.

Open-ended student comments on the survey included the following:

  • “I enjoyed MyLab IT once I got the hang of how it worked. My computer skills have really improved.”
  • “I definitely learned a lot, it was actually something I realized that I would need in the future, especially Microsoft Word and Excel. There were things I didn’t know that these programs were capable of doing.”
  • “I would recommend this course to anyone needing improvement in Microsoft Office, whether for personal or school.”
  • “I am very happy to have been a part of this class. Although it has been challenging, especially the Excel portions, I learned a lot.”
  • “I graduated from UNCG in 2008 with several online courses. This technology was not available to me then. We have certainly come a long way. It’s impressive. It has definitely been a positive, rewarding experience.”

Conclusion

Chauvin notes that she has received some extreme feedback from students taking the course, ranging from criticism to praise. She adds, “Some students hated study groups at first, but once they got into it, they made friends. These are freshmen, and everyone has to do their work on their own or learn to do it together without cheating.” As the sole instructor teaching more than 500 students in 15 sections, Chauvin has her challenges, but has found ways to make the hybrid emporium a successful course at UNCG.

I am very happy to have been a part of this class. Although it has been challenging, especially the Excel portions, I learned a lot.

Student, Introduction to Business Computing course