Explore. Practice.
Learn. CIS150.

The Introduction to Computing class, CIS150, at Grand Valley State University facilitates weeks of practice with Office applications along with faculty lead exploration of modern technology concepts.

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are what you will know and what you will be able to do after you complete the course. Please see course topics to see what will be covered in the class.


You will be able to demonstrate understanding of the essential features and functions of computer hardware and software in the context of contemporary business technology.

Microsoft Excel.

You will be able to create formulas and charts to represent numeric data using spreadsheet software.

Critical Thinking.

You will be able to analyze business needs and use application software to meet those needs.

Microsoft Word.

You will be able to design and create professional documents using word processing software.

Microsoft Access.

You will be able to create and administer databases for effective data access and maintenance using database software.

Joy of computing

How Does the Class Work?


You explore new Excel skill through a simulation. The emulated software through a browser on Windows or Mac laptop helps you to get a first impression of the new computer skill.


Through an ebook or course videos you explore how the new skill works and how it applies in computer work. Your exploration is only limited by your own interest.

Hands-on Project

Under the guidance of the instructor you will work inside of the real software to complete a project that applies the new skill. There are 12 projects in the class.


You will complete formative assessments to check your work during practice. You will have 5 chances to improve each of your projects after getting detailed feedback on what needs to be changed. Finally, a hands-on exam will give you closure on the new lessons learned.

Joy of computing

What Topics are Discussed in Class?

The course topics are divided into two major groups: theory and hands-on. Each week a combination of the two are covered in lecture/discussion sessions.

Module 1: Theory

  1. What does it mean to be "computer literate"?
  2. How can becoming computer literate help you in a career?
  3. What exactly is a computer, and what are its four main functions?
  4. What is the difference between data and information?
  5. What are bits and bytes, and how are they measured?
  6. What's on the motherboard?
  7. How do I set up my computer to avoid strain and injury?

Hands-on: Word Skills

  1. Navigate through a document using the Navigation pane
  2. Apply font attributes
  3. Format text with styles
  4. Review the MLA style for research papers
  5. Format paragraphs
  6. Insert and modify page numbers
  7. Create citations
  8. Create and update a bibliography

Module 2: Theory

  1. Application Software: Programs That Let You Work and Play
  2. System Software: The Operating System, Utility Programs, and File Management
  3. Understanding and Assessing Hardware: Evaluating Your System
  4. Networking: Connecting Computing Devices

Hands-on: Excel Skills

  1. Perform a what-if analysis
  2. Use relative and absolute cell references
  3. Work with dates and Date functions
  4. Work with Logical functions
  5. Use the PMT function to calculate a loan payment
  6. Create an embedded pie chart
  7. Modify the chart's data source
  8. Create a histogram and Pareto chart
  9. Add sparklines to a worksheet
  10. Create PivotTables and PivotCharts based on business data

Module 3: Theory

  1. Managing a Digital Lifestyle: Media and Ethics
  2. Securing Your System: Protecting Your Digital Data and Devices
  3. Software Programming
  4. Databases and Information Systems
  5. Networking and Security in the Business World
  6. How the Internet Works

Hands-on: Access Database Skills

  1. Learn the guidelines for designing databases and setting field properties
  2. Create a table in Design view
  3. Define fields, set field properties, and specify a table's primary key
  4. Import data from Excel
  5. Import an existing table structure
  6. Add fields to a table with the Data Type gallery
  7. Define a relationship between two tables
  8. Find and maintain data using a form
  9. Preview and print selected form records
  10. Create a form with a main form and a subform
  11. Change the alignment of field values on a report
  12. Apply conditional formatting in a report

Joy of computing

What are Students Saying?

Author image
Fall 2017

I was really uninterested in this class when I originally signed up, but it was required by my major. The Prof made it really interesting and fun and easy to understand for someone who doesn't care much about computers. I am now genuinely interested and at least somewhat informed in the basics of this field. I am glad I had to take this class, which I never expected myself to say, and the Professor is the main reason it was enjoyable.

Author image
Fall 2018

This class taught me the skills I needed to be more efficient using Office applications, which in turn increased my productivity in other classes. You will also gain skills and expertise to support your professional career. Aside from Office skills, the basic technical knowledge covered in the class will apply to making good purchasing decisions and working in almost any career.

Author image
Winter 2018

This class was awesome! For a subject that I really had no interest in, the information that the professor presented was very interesting. It made my mind think in a way that it normally does not and it was beneficial to the learning as a whole.

Author image
Winter 2018

This class absolutely met my goals for taking it. I wanted to learn and feel confident with Word and Excel and I achieved that. I don’t love computer concepts but I enjoyed this class.

Author image
Winter 2018

Not only do I have a better understanding of the topic, but I feel like I really learned something and with some classes I am focused more on the grade than the subject, and that was not the case at all for this class.”, “This class is extremely well structured and organized to a tee. I enjoed participating.

Download The Course App Now!

Get mobile notification of course updates and graded assignments. See your current course grade anytime, anywhere. Contact the course instructor from the app.

Any Questions for the CIS150 Robot?

Joy of computing