Course Syllabus

Click here to download the Syllabus as a Word document.


BTS 161 Business Software Essentials

Fall 2014, 5 credits


Keith Rowley

My goal: To help all students achieve the class objectives and earn the highest grade they are willing to work toward, in a fun, supportive environment.

Reaching me:

  • Canvas Inbox Messages: this is the best way to contact me. When in Canvas, click "Inbox" at top right.
  • Bellevue College email: If for some reason you cannot reach me using Canvas Inbox, my email address is Please ensure that “BTS 161” is in the Subject line. I check email daily: I usually do not check email weekends.
  • Phone (office): (425) 564-5708. Leave a voicemail if I don’t answer.
  • Phone (IBIT Division): (425) 564-2311. In case of emergency.
  • Office hours: by appointment, A254 (ask for me at the front desk). Come see me!

Eric Nacke

My goal: To support all students in their efforts to successfully complete this course and the Office Assistant Certificate in a collaborative and fun learning environment

Reaching me:

  • Canvas Inbox Messages: this is the best way to contact me. When in Canvas, click "Inbox" at top right.
  • Bellevue College email: My email address is Please ensure that “BTS 161” is in the Subject line.

I check email daily, even on weekends, but I may not always respond on weekends.

  • Phone (office): (425) 564-2145. Leave a voicemail if I don’t answer.
  • Phone (Arts and Humanities Division): (425) 564-2341. In case of emergency.
  • Office hours: Room R130Y
    Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:00 – 12:30, or by appointment. I’m waiting for you!

Please communicate with us about any questions, concerns, ideas, worries, or anything else! We are here because we want to help you succeed, so please don’t hesitate to let us know if there is any way we can support you in your studies.

Note that the instructors reserve the right to change anything about the course at any time without notice. In practice, we only make changes that we feel are beneficial to the class in general, and we often make such change in class. We will try our best to inform the class of any changes. That said, the class website will always have the latest, most accurate information about this class. Please make it a habit to check this site frequently.



Place & Time

  • Room:                   A134
  • Day & Time:       Mon & Wed       12:30 – 2:40 pm

Course Description

BTS 161 Business Software Essentials introduces personal computer and business software in a Windows based environment. Includes file management strategies, personal computing tools, internet navigation, effective business document design, spreadsheet analysis and design, and a survey of fundamental software used in a typical business environment. Projects include design and creation of a file management plan, and fundamental interactive spreadsheets.

This course is also part of the I-BEST Office Assistant Certificate program. It introduces strategies for students to read with understanding, apply analytic and critical thinking skills, and communicate professionally in learning to use Microsoft Office computer software. Below is a description of I-BEST.

Recommended Prerequisites: BTS 101 or 104 or equivalent keyboarding experience.


A Summary of I-BEST

I-BEST stands for Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training. It is a program that provides eligible students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses and certificate programs. Eligible students are at ESL levels 5 and 6 or ABE levels 3 and 4. Students begin earning college certificates faster than traditional models that require them to complete all basic education courses before enrolling in college-credit classes.

I-BEST students enroll in professional-technical classes as well as an academic skills class. The academic skills class is taught by the basic skills instructor. It provides support for students in reading, writing, and study skills, among other things.

The content course is team taught by a content instructor (Keith Rowley) and a basic skills instructor (Eric Nacke). The purpose of having two instructors in the class at the same time is to combine their relative areas of expertise. One is an expert in the content material, while the other is an expert in basic skills instruction. The basic skills instructor is required to team teach for at least 50% of the class time, while the content instructor is in the classroom for 100% of the time.

Our goal, as your two instructors, is to work together to make the lessons as clear and accessible as possible. We will be writing key ideas and vocabulary on the whiteboard, answering and asking questions, guiding individual students, roaming around the classroom, and doing what we can to make the classes informative and engaging. Our aim is to help you learn and keep up with the pace of the class. In short, you have the advantage of getting two instructors for the price of one.


Combined Course Outcomes

As part of the IBEST Office Assistant Certificate program, this offering of BTS 161 integrates course outcomes from the Business Technology Systems department and the Developmental Education department. These outcomes are listed together and are incorporated into the curriculum as combined goals that IBEST instructors seek to help students achieve with equal importance and dedication.

By the end of this course you will be expected to:

Content Course Outcomes

ABE/ESL Indicators

  1. Use common business software such as personal information management, presentation applications, database applications, and online software.
  2. Identify and select the appropriate software tool to solve business problems and achieve needs.
  3. Navigate the web and utilize online communication and collaboration tools to research and solve problems.
  4. Create and manage files in a Windows environment.
  5. Apply strategies to create an efficient workflow.
  6. Understand and identify the various basic components of a computer system.
  7. Define general word processing, spreadsheet, and other common concepts and terminology.
  8. Publish documents to print, electronic and online media.
  9. Design, create and format a variety of business documents, including business letters, newsletters, business correspondence, business plans, flyers, spreadsheets, presentations, budgets, charts, and database reports and tracking.
  10. Research resources to solve problems independently.


  1. Demonstrate familiarity with common business software commands and vocabulary.
  2. Actively apply prior knowledge to assist in understanding information in texts.
  3. Determine the purpose and audience for communicating. Use multiple planning strategies to support a single purpose and produce a legible and comprehensible draft.
  4. Locate important information, read for detail, and determine missing information using a wide range of strategies.
  5. Appropriately use both everyday and specialized vocabulary and a variety of sentence structures to convey ideas.
  6. Organize information using strategies, such as sequencing and categorization.
  7. Recognize unfamiliar and specialized words, computer terminology and abbreviations
  8. Make edits of grammar, spelling, sentence structure, language usage and text structure, often with the help of software editing and proofing tools.




Assignments & Grading

We will use a combination of research, exercises, and freeform explorations. Your grade will be based on points earned for each of these assignments:


Course Component Descriptions

Discussions (Canvas)

Each week, you will be asked to respond to a simple prompt on our class Canvas site discussion boards. Most Discussions are personal and subjective, and many help us judge how we are progressing in the class. Do your best to answer these prompts fully and in your own words, as they will be graded.

Chapter Projects A & B

These are the main projects in each chapter of our textbook. You will complete them on your own, reading the textbook chapters, and using the software on your computer (mainly Microsoft Office).

Grader Projects (MyITLab)

These are assignments from MyITLab. You will download the instructions from MyITLab, follow the instructions by working in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, and upload your file to MyITLab for automatic and immediate grading.

When we study Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, we will work on the Grader Projects in class; however, we may not finish them in class. If not, you must complete them on your own, using the software on your computer (Microsoft Office and MyITLab).

There are four of these—one each for Word chapters 1 and 2, and Excel chapters 1 and 2. Skills covered in the Grader Projects are the skills covered in both Projects A and B for each chapter.

K Projects

End-of-Chapter Projects K offer the most points of any assignment category. They are the most important way for us to know how well you are learning to use the software. They are open-ended, hands-on projects that you do in Excel, and they assess not only how well you have learned the material covered in class and in the eText/textbook, but also how you can use Microsoft Office to solve real-world problems.

There are two of these—one each for Excel chapters 1 and 2. Skills covered in Projects K are the skills covered in both Projects A and B for each chapter.

End-of-Chapter Quizzes (MyITLab)

You will take an “End-of-Chapter Quiz” for each textbook chapter. Questions are taken from the eText/textbook, but the test you take will be in MyITLab. You may take the quiz as many times as you like, and MyITLab will keep the highest score.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will consist of open-ended, hands-on projects that you will complete in Microsoft Office. It will be comprehensive.

It will be a take-home test, so you may use your textbook, eText, notes, videos, the internet, YouTube, etc.; however, you must work alone.


For each class you attend, sign in, and participate in, you earn 10 points. In order to earn the full 10 points, you must not only show up in class, but also sign the attendance sheet and actively participate. Tardiness (showing up late) earns 5 points. In order to earn the full 5 points, you must not only show up in class, but also sign the attendance sheet and actively participate.

If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed and to catch up.

Simulations (MyITLab)

You may choose to do “Simulations” in MyITLab. They are web-based, HTML5 simulations of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which will train you how to use the software. Like a tutor, the computer leads you step-by-step through the various features, tools, and commands of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It will be important for you to take your time with these Simulations—they are slow to respond sometimes. Read every instruction carefully and follow them closely, including spelling and grammar.

These assignments are optional extra credit. You may take them as many times as you like, and MyITLab will keep the highest score.

Extra Credit

Designed to help you learn new skills or expand on the ones you have already learned in class, extra credit will vary from class to class. Instructor will inform you of extra credit opportunities.


This category covers a variety of projects that are not covered in the other categories.

Late work

Late work will NOT be accepted in this course.  If you believe you have a valid reason for turning in work late like illness or emergency, please contact us AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  If you believe you will have to turn in work late, it is best if you contact us BEFORE the due date if possible. If this is your concern, you may call or talk to us in person, but it is best to message us in Canvas: I will forget, and Canvas leaves a traceable trail.



Everyone in our class starts the term with an A. The challenge is to maintain that A by attending class, studying, and completing assignments. We are allowed to issue an A to everyone in the class if appropriate, and that is our goal. Grades will be assigned at the end of the term by dividing the number of points you’ve earned by the total number of points possible.

% of possible pts           Letter Grade

95 - 100                                             A

91 - 94                                               A-

87 - 90                                               B+

83 - 86                                               B

80 - 82                                               B-

77 - 79                                               C+

73 - 76                                               C

70 - 72                                               C-

65 - 69                                               D+

60 - 64                                               D

0 - 59                                                 F

We will post your grades regularly on our class Canvas site. Please check your points regularly and notify us if any corrections are needed.


Course Materials






MyITLab and eText
Author: Pearson
ISBN: 0133497119
Note: MyITLab is an online learning system that will help you learn how to use Microsoft Office. You must purchase a MyITLab access code at the BC Bookstore for $113.35. This gives you 12 months access to MyITLab and all Pearson GO! Series eTextbooks. The MyITLab code is good for all BTS classes that use MyITLab—BTS 147 (PowerPoint), 161 (Software Essentials), 163 (Word) 165 (Excel), 168 (Access), 265 (Advanced Excel) and 268 (Advanced Access) for 12 months. Once you purchase the MyITLab access code for one class, the MyITLab access code will work for another BTS class that uses MyITLab—within 12 months.
When you purchase your access code for MyITLab, you will also get an electronic version of the GO! With Microsoft Office 2013 Volume 1 text—called an “eText.” You will access this version via computer or tablet such as an iPad or Microsoft Surface.

Optional Printed Textbook:

Note: If you wish, you may acquire a printed version of the textbook. There are two choices available for purchase (which you get to keep, write in, etc.), plus two choices for free (which you borrow and must return, thus you can’t write in).

Purchase/Keep Options:

  1. Print Offer for GO! With Office 2013 (black-and-white, loose-leaf 3-hole punch version)
    Pearson sells a black-and-white, loose-leaf, 3-hole punched version for $35.00. This is a special deal only available to Bellevue College students, and it is only available via Pearson Publishing online by clicking here. If you choose this version of the printed textbook, you will need to put it in a big 3-ring binder.
  2. You may also choose to purchase the regular, full-color spiral-bound textbook. It can be special-ordered through Anthony Wellnitz at the BC Bookstore, or you can find it at Amazon or other booksellers:  
    GO! With Microsoft Office 2013, Volume 1 (full-color, spiral-bound version)
    Author: Gaskin, Ferrett, Vargas & McLellan
    ISBN:  9780133142662
  3. Print one page at a time from within eText to a printer.
  4. Several copies of the textbook are on reserve in the LMC.

Borrow/Return/Free Options:



Internet and Canvas access:

Besides MyITLab and the textbook, most course material is located on our class website, on Canvas, which is located at

To gain access to Canvas, you will need your BC Student Computer account info: user name, Student Identification Number (SID) and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Sign up at  or in the open lab Room N250.


Windows 7:

We will study one chapter of Windows 7. Most the computers on campus run the Windows 7 operating system, so if your computer runs Windows 8 or Windows Vista or another operating system, you will have to use a different computer for that chapter.


Microsoft Office 2013:          

Available for use in the open lab, Room N250, and any other student-accessible computer on campus. We highly recommend you use Office 2013 for this class. Files created with other versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint may have problems; we will not make exceptions when grading these files.



USB flash (or “thumb”) drive, 2GB minimum recommended. Available at the college bookstore, Target, Staples, Best Buy, etc., or try

BTS Open Classroom

BTS specific classrooms are available for your use according to the schedule listed below. The instructors and tutors in the classroom will answer technical questions to the best of their ability. Every instructor may not be familiar with assignments given by other instructors and every tutor does not know every application. Show respect and patience to the instructors and tutors if they are unable to help you. Tutors are not allowed to assist you with quizzes for this class. Contact the instructor for specific help.

BTS Open Lab Schedule:

Room A 132

  • Tuesday               3:00 – 5:10
  • Wednesday          3:00 – 5:10
  • Friday                   10:00 – 4:00
  • Saturday              10:00 – 4:00



Instructors’ Expectations

Professionalism is defined as the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize a person in the workplace. This is a business class, and all of us are either already in the professional business world or aspiring to join it. Therefore, we will use professional business standards for our class behavioral standards since this is something we already have in common. Also, Bellevue College’s general policies are in effect at all times in our classroom. These can be viewed at

We will add or subtract points for behavior that either exceeds or falls short of the standards.

Helping others: You are strongly encouraged to help other students, except on assignments which we specifically tell you must be done independently. If you see a question on a discussion board in our class site, you are encouraged to share your knowledge by responding with an answer or helpful ideas.

Punctuality: As a business professional, you are expected to meet your deadline commitments and complete work by the due date and time. To reinforce this habit, we do not give points for late work. You will need to plan your time very carefully and ensure that you have a contingency plan in place for PC problems.

In some rare cases, serious situations may arise that would cause you to contact us regarding an adjustment to the schedule, and if this occurs we are happy to discuss this with you.

Poor planning, over-committing, disorganization, malfunctioning email, etc. will not be accepted as reasons for turning your work in on time.

Communication: For purposes of this class, professional communication includes the following:

  • Never use offensive language.
  • Check your spelling and grammar. Use correct punctuation and capitalization.
  • Be positive and handle frustration and complaints with respect and discretion.

Ethics: “Ethics” are a professional’s rules and principles of behavior. The choices you make define you as a person. Are you honest, loyal, and reliable? Or are you a lying, stealing, cheater who is not to be trusted?  For your career to be successful, you must make choices that are solidly ethical, leaving no doubt about the value of your character.



  • Come to class every day, unless you are ill. Stay home until you are well to prevent the spread of illnesses. If you become ill, please message us in Canvas. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn.
  • Read the syllabus!  This syllabus outlines the class. Take the time to read it so there will be no surprises!
  • Ask questions. It is likely that if you are stuck or confused, so is someone else in the class. There are no dumb questions!
  • Plan ahead! Figure out how you will do the assignment. It is likely that you will want to work on assignments on campus so get familiar with the campus computer labs’ hours and resources. Start your assignments early so you can ask questions when you are stuck and get answers before the due date!
  • Keep up! Complete and submit all assignments by the due date. This is your way to practice your new skills. Don’t lose opportunities by being late or forgetting to submit your projects.
  • Proofread all documents you turn in. In the business world it is crucial to have effective, correctly written communication skills. Write carefully, read the documents you turn in more than once, or have someone else read it first before turning it in. Points deducted for errors.
  • Choose a study buddy: someone you can exchange e-mail addresses and phone numbers with so that when you are stuck and need help, you have a resource at hand
  • Have fun! This class will challenge you. Enjoy the challenge as an opportunity for you to learn as much as you can about Officesoftware.
  • 2-Minute Rule: When you work at the computer, don’t struggle with a task that is not working for more than 2 minutes before you ask for help. Type your questions in the Questions About Anything section of the Class Site. Or call your Study Buddy!



The BC Business Division leadership has provided the following descriptions of behaviors that are to be strictly avoided:

Cheating includes copying answers on exams, glancing at nearby exams, turning in assignments or papers that have been used in other classes, giving or receiving help during an exam, purchasing or selling notes, assignments or examination materials, etc..

Stealing includes taking the text, work, notes, exams, library quotations, or any other intellectual or personal property of others without their permission or knowledge.

Lying includes making untrue statements or making statements with a basis of truth but stated in such a way as to create an untrue impression or belief.

Plagiarism includes presenting the words, ideas, and/or work of others as if they are your own, presenting others’ papers as your own work, and/or including parts of published or electronic works without giving credit where credit is due.

To clearly demonstrate your ethics, you must acknowledge via bibliography, citations, etc. where you have obtained information or ideas that are not your own, whether they are from fellow students, or sources within or outside BC. Please refer to the Library Media Center’s information on using source information properly:

If we find that you have acted in what we believe to be an unethical manner by cheating, stealing, lying, or committing plagiarism, you will be dismissed from class and you will receive an F. This class cannot be dropped after the F is entered. Your behavior will be reported in writing to the Dean and will be added to your permanent record.

If you would like to appeal the decision, please refer to WA State laws for details on the appeals process: 

Information about Bellevue College’s copyright guidelines can be found at:

Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity

Cheating, stealing, and plagiarizing (using the ideas or words of another as one’s own without crediting the source) and inappropriate/disruptive classroom behavior are violations of the Student Code of Conduct at Bellevue College.  Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to, talking out of turn, arriving late or leaving early without a valid reason, allowing cell phones/pagers to ring, and inappropriate behavior toward the instructor or classmates.  The instructor can refer any violation of the Student Code of Conduct to the Dean of Student Success for investigation.  Specific student rights, responsibilities, and appeal procedures are listed in the Student Code of Conduct at:

Affirmation of Inclusion

Bellevue College is committed to maintaining an environment in which every member of the campus community feels welcome to participate in the life of the college, free from harassment and discrimination.

We value our different backgrounds at Bellevue College, and students, faculty, staff members, and administrators are to treat one another with dignity and respect. 

Diversity:  We are all different, of course. We all have different experiences, we are different ages, we speak different languages, and we have so many other special and unique characteristics. Because of this, we will all learn software at a different pace and for different reasons. This is a good thing!  It will allow us to see many perspectives, which will give us a broader view of this subject. To ensure we take advantage of the diversity in our class, we need to:

  • Always have a positive reaction to differences between people.
  • Ask questions and seek understanding. Take the time to listen and explore the way others think.
  • Be patient.
  • Never make negative comments or jokes about race, nationality, creed, age, or gender.
  • Never say anything critical or demeaning to others.



Bellevue College E-mail and access to Canvas

All students registered for classes at Bellevue College are entitled to a network and e-mail account. Your student network account can be used to access your student e-mail, log in to computers in labs and classrooms, connect to the BC wireless network and log in to Canvas. To create your account, go to: .

BC offers a wide variety of computer and learning labs to enhance learning and student success. Find current campus locations for all student labs by visiting the Computing Services website.

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

The Disability Resource Center serves students with a wide array of learning challenges and disabilities. If you are a student who has a disability or learning challenge for which you have documentation or have seen someone for treatment and if you feel you may need accommodations in order to be successful in college, please contact us as soon as possible.

If you are a person who requires assistance in case of an emergency situation, such as a fire, earthquake, etc., please meet with your individual instructors to develop a safety plan within the first week of the quarter.

If you are a student with a documented autism spectrum disorder, there is an additional access program available to you. Contact or 425.564.2764. ASN is located in the Library Media Center in D125.

The DRC office is located in B132 or you can call our reception desk at 425.564.2498. Deaf students can reach us by video phone at 425-440-2025 or by TTY at 425-564-4110. Please visit our website for application information into our program and other helpful links at

Public Safety

Public Safety and Emergencies

Public Safety is located in the K building and can be reached at 425-564-2400 (easy to remember because it’s the only office on campus open 24 hours a day—2400).  Among other things, Public Safety serves as our Parking Permits, Lost and Found, and Emergency Notification center.  Please ensure you are signed up to receive alerts through our campus alerting system by registering at

If you work late and are uneasy about going to your car, Public Safety will escort you to your vehicle. To coordinate this, please phone ahead and let Public Safety know when and where you will need an escort.

Please familiarize yourself with the emergency postings by the door of every classroom and know where to go in the event of an evacuation.  Your instructor will be asked if anyone might still be in the building, so check in before you do anything else.  Emergency responders will search for anyone unaccounted for.

If a major emergency occurs, please follow these two rules:

1) Take directions from those in charge of the response. We all need to be working together.

2) Do not get in your car and leave campus (unless directed to) - Doing so will clog streets and prevent emergency vehicles from entering the scene.  Instead, follow directions from those in charge.

Please do not hesitate to call Public Safety if you feel safety questions or concerns at any time.

Final Exam Schedule

Our final exam time is Wednesday, December 10, from 11:30am – 1:20pm.

Academic Calendar

The Bellevue College Academic Calendar is separated into two calendars. They provide information about holidays, closures and important enrollment dates such as the finals schedule.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due