According to the syllabus, CMIS 245 (Computers and Management Information Systems) is a three-credit business and administrative studies course that teaches students the skills required to use microcomputer applications (PC applications) effectively. This course has software requirements, including the PC version of Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Office 2016 and the four main applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. Also, students cannot complete this course using a Mac computer, due to the lack of compatibility.
Computers and Management Information Systems has no final exam. But it contains twelve lessons and four assignments worth twenty-five percent each. The first lesson covers the fundamentals of Microsoft Office. Lessons two through four cover one of the most commonly used Microsoft Office applications, Word. These three lessons cover topics such as paragraph formatting, applying borders, lists, columns, word wrapping, text highlighting, formatting tables, and adding formulas. Then lessons five through seven cover Excel and focus on topics such as creating spreadsheets, inputting different formulas, entering data, organizing data, and formatting data. The third application, Access, is covered in lessons eight through ten and go through filters, sorting, functions, creating databases, foreign keys, and queries. Last, lessons eleven and twelve focus on PowerPoint and cover creating slides, viewing slides in different ways, slide transitions, animations, adding images, and adding tables.
Each of the four assignments have students completing Capstone Exercises that are located within the textbook. The Word, Excel, and Access assignments have three Capstone Exercises, while the PowerPoint assignment only has two. Prior to beginning the assignments, students will have to download a folder containing a bunch of files that will be used throughout the entire course. The Capstone Exercises in the textbook have students opening the appropriate downloaded file and altering, editing, rearranging, and adding the content of that file. Students may have to insert Excel tables in a Word document, rearrange text within a paragraph, change fonts and colors of certain text, etc. This may seem easy, but the instructions within the textbook and the specific assignment instructions must be followed with absolute precision or points will be deducted. Also, the Capstone Exercises are quite lengthy and have a lot of detail. I would recommend that students use the highlighter built into the textbook to highlight each step of the Capstone Exercise that they have completed. I also recommend completing each of the Capstone Exercises in one sitting. I found it extremely difficult to return to the exercise after taking a break from it for a while.
When I first read the online syllabus for CMIS 245 I thought it would be extremely easy and that I could have had it done in less than a month. While I am not saying that it was hard, but following the instructions one hundred percent was sometimes a challenge and time consuming. The main challenges that I faced were applying the correct formulas and functions and locating some of the specific instructions, such as certain font colors and specific header styles. Also, prior to enrolling I had absolutely no experience using Access, which slowed me down significantly. Though, surprisingly, I got a higher mark on the Access assignment than I did the Word assignment and I have a lot of experience with Word. All that being said, with the right amount of effort and dedication to the course, it could be easily completed within four weeks (one week for each assignment).
Personally, I would recommend this course to every single Athabasca University student. It is quite easy and, at the very least, it gives students more in-depth knowledge of Microsoft Office and Word, which are used very frequently. Overall, I can honestly say that I learned a lot of things regarding each of the Microsoft Office applications that I know will be useful in the future.
Whether CMIS 245 is a requirement for your program or if it is just a course you are interested in taking, you will learn valuable, commonly used programs; meanwhile, lessening your workload from taking a relatively easy course and not having to write a final exam.