Our new business/technology curriculum

Our business department is undergoing some shifts next fall due to changing budgets, retiring staff, and a technology director (that's me) who would like to see the way we teach computing. Up until now, aside from a web design class (introductory HTML, WYSIWYG tools, design principles, etc.

Our business department is undergoing some shifts next fall due to changing budgets, retiring staff, and a technology director (that's me) who would like to see the way we teach computing. Up until now, aside from a web design class (introductory HTML, WYSIWYG tools, design principles, etc.), we've largely taught productivity applications. We've offered Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, as well as combinations of those depending upon the length of the course. While these are useful classes, they just don't require a whole semester to teach.

Given that, here are the descriptions for the courses I'm proposing we offer in our course catalog this spring (to make way for scheduling classes in 2009-2010). Keep in mind, that this is a small school on a budget that hasn't had a computer science program to speak of since the math department stopped offering COBOL and Fortran several years ago. What do you think? Is this a good start or am I missing something important? Better yet, as this program matures, where do we head and what new courses should we offer in years to come?

Office Productivity Applications Students will learn about major tools for producing business documentation and managing data in an office setting. Microsoft Office and OpenOffice applications will be used to create professional documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and simple databases. Similarly, cloud-based productivity applications such as Google Docs and Zoho will be used to explore new collaboration models. Students will end the course by working in small groups to create and pitch a business plan. This course has no prerequisites and is recommended for freshmen and sophomores.

Introduction to Web Design and HTML This introductory level course is appropriate for any students who would like to be able to create a website and have a solid understanding of the way the World Wide Web functions. The course will teach students the basics of HTML, as well as WYSIWYG tools for creating and managing web sites. The course will also cover social networking tools and other Web 2.0 technologies for creating online content. Finally, design principles for a variety of audiences will be covered. A final website project will complete the class.

Advanced Web Design, HTML, and Scripting This course should be taken by students who already have experience with HTML or have taken the Introduction to Web Design course. Students will look at a broader range of HTML tags and develop pages with XML. Students will also use Cascading Style Sheets, Javascript, and PHP to create dynamic, useful websites. Students will also learn to interact with data stores to collect and display data.

Introduction to Programming This survey course of computer programming concepts, languages, and tools will cover Integrated Development Environments, compiling/executing code, algorithms, basic scripting, LOGO, Python, Perl, C++, and Java. It will culminate in a significant programming project completed in the language of the student's choice. This course is appropriate for students who plan to enter computer science, engineering, mathematics, or scientific fields. Prerequisite: Algebra II and permission of instructor or math department chair.

Database design and programming This course provides an introduction to database technologies and their uses in business and industry. Students will learn about relational database design principles and contrast these with object-oriented databases. Database development tools including Access and OpenOffice Base will be used to create data stores and applications. As the course progresses, students will learn Structured Query Language (SQL) and will be able to apply queries to interactive, data-driven web applications. This course should be taken concurrently with or after Advanced Web Design.

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