Working Knowledge: Tech Guides for Adult College Students
If you take on-line courses you are using advanced technology. The Internet, your web browser, and the course management system did not exist 20 years ago. And much to the dismay of some, this relentless march of technology is ongoing and accelerating. The technology of distance education continues to advance and, as a distance student, you will regularly encounter the use of new technologies. Sometimes it gets to be a little overwhelming.
The How To Guides provided here are designed to help. Our approach is provide what we call “working knowledge.” In many cases, to make effective use of a technology you need a little bit of context and a few key points. Sure there’s usually a lot more to know, but if all you want to do is make something go, you need working knowledge. We keep this distinction in mind in these guides and we stick to the point.
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Tech Guides for Empire State College Students
Spreadsheets are useful for:
- organizing and presenting data
- for visualizing data using charts
- for data analysis of all kinds.
In this series of tutorials we demonstrate spreadsheet skills and techniques that you can use for data management and analysis using Microsoft Excel 2000. Much of the material covered here is conceptual and will apply in any version of Excel, or some other spreadsheet. In a few cases what you’ll see in your spreadsheet may be different and you’ll need to find the equivalent command or feature in your spreadsheet.
The introduction describes the terms used throughout the series.
Terms and Techniques
Basic Skills: Organizing, Formatting, Importing Data
Part One: Moving a table
Part Two: Formatting the table
Part Three: Organizing and Sorting
Making use of data copied from a web page in Excel
Intermediate Skills: Working with Functions
Intermediate Skills: Charting
Create A Basic Chart
Understanding the Chart Wizard
Line Charts: the basics
Line Charts: Advanced techniques and comparison with XY charts
XY (Scatter) charts: the basics
XY (Scatter) charts: plotting a function
Histograms Part One: Creating a histogram manually
Histograms Part Two: Using the Data Analysis Toolpak
Installing the Data Analysis Toolpak
Pareto Charts: Create a Pareto chart
Advanced Skills: Statistics and Data Analysis
Inference From Charts: Trend Lines and correlation
The Least Squares Method
On-line Resources: Visualization
Scientific visualization is more than just a tool for understanding data. Our perception define our reality, so understanding how humans perceive and use information is central to understanding what we can know. Some of the most intriguing and active areas for new research in all of science are rooted in visualization.
||Multimedia Resources From the AAASPodcasts, video, interactives: these are just a few of the emerging ways for learning about, and doing, science via the Internet. The AAAS has assembled a variety of resources on a single web site.
But lest you think that all you’ll find here are long winded recorded lectures on arcane topics, you might want to take a look at the Gonzo Scientist. The regular feature on the site tends to cover the use of games and other technologies not typically associated with science. In this article, Author Jon Bohannon covers a virtual scientific conference convened using World of Warcraft (WOW) – a popular massive multiplayer on-line gaming environment (if you are not sure what that means, ask a teenager). Be sure to watch the video segment embed ed in the page. If you’ve never seen WOW in action it’s quite impressive.
If your tastes are a little more, let’s say reserved, take a look at the 2008 Visualization Challenge slide show. This resource provides assess to some of the best science visualizations of 2008.
Another highlight: Video Forests in Flux
On-line Resources: Geotechnology
The U.S. Department of Labor has identified geotechnology as one of the three most important emerging techno-scientific fields (nanotechnology and biotechnology are the other two). Opportunities for learning about geotechnology are expanding and so are opportunities for rewarding careers. Geotechnology is playing a increasingly prominent role in fields including; environmental science, homeland security, natural resources management, sustainability science, public administration, utilities management, and many more.
Of Special Note: For students with a interest in this topic, The Empire State College Course, GPS and the New Geography, is for students who want to learn about this topic first hand. Students in this course use GPS and other new geography technologies as part of a larger study of environmental science.
Are you familiar with Google Earth? WorldWind looks a lot like Google Earth but adds capabilities for downloading and analyzing a wide variety of earth sciences data.
For a brief overview of what WorldWind is all about, and how you can use it, see this flyer produced by NASA.
On-line Resources: Technology
Software and the Internet are transforming the face of education. As a student, you’ll save time, and be a more effective, if you know how to use the software and techniques the support on-line learning. The resources found here will be particular value to adult students taking on-line courses.
||Google Apps: It’s All About CollaborationThe work we do, both on the job, and as learners and teachers, increasingly requires collaboration. On the Internet, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Delicious and a host of new technologies are making it possible for people to work together in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.You can even create and manage documents now using fully on-line tools: word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. On-line documents are convenient and they are easy to share. Google Docs is a leader in this area and anyone can sign up for an account and start working with on-line tools for free.if this all seems a little vague, watch this video from Google, Google Docs in Plain English, that explains the idea. This may be the best thing for students since the pencil.