Student Achievement Assessment Committee
Administrative Office Systems
To become a “successful” administrative professional, students in the Administrative Office Systems two-year program should achieve the following learning outcomes while enrolled in the program:
• The ability to operate personal computers and work with a variety of office software such as word processing, database, spreadsheet, presentation, and desktop publishing.
• The ability to compose, format, edit, and proofread a variety of written business communications such as letters, memorandums, forms, tables, and reports.
• The ability to organize time to meet deadlines and work under pressure in the production of high-quality documents.
• The ability to acquire, organize, summarize, and make decisions about paper-based and electronic-based office data when working with or without direct supervision.
• The ability to analyze, integrate, and master office systems by having completed simulated office activities and on-the-job experience.
1. Learning Outcomes Assessed This Year
The specific goal of this assessment period is to measure Outcome 1—The ability to operate personal computers and work with a variety of office software such as word processing, database, spreadsheet, presentation, and desktop publishing. More specifically, the goal is to determine whether students’ need to be able to work with the various software packages mentioned during their internship experience. In addition, employers were asked to note skills in which students are particularly proficient and/or deficient in meeting the demands of their jobs.
The Administrative Office Systems (AOS) program in the Applied Sciences Department is a two-year associate degree program at BGSU Firelands College. The degree has a minimum of 34 semester hours in the technical courses and a minimum of 29 semester hours in the non-technical courses. To learn to operate a computer, students complete a one hour course in the Windows operating environment (BUSE 201) and a one hour course in Keyboarding (BUSE 110) [Both keyboarding courses (BUSE 110 and BUSE 119) emphasize the development of keyboarding skills and the proficiency of those skills on microcomputers.] To acquire software skills, students complete four hours of word processing instruction (BUSE 261 and 262), three hours of database instruction (BUSE 268, 269, and 270), three hours of spreadsheet instruction (BUSE 264, 265, and 266), two hours of desktop publishing instruction (BUSE 274 and 275), one hour of presentation instruction (BUSE 272), and two hours of web software instruction (BUSE 278 and 279) [a software skill not specifically mentioned in the learning outcome].
More specifically, in the software skills courses (BUSE 261, 262, 264, 265, 266, 268, 269, 270, 272, 274, 275, 278, and 279), pencil and paper exams test the students’ knowledge of software terminology, functions, and techniques and applications exams evaluate students’ ability to create, edit, and save (print) files and use formatting functions to create business documents for print and for the Web such as database tables and reports, customized spreadsheet forms and reports, charts, letters, electronic mail, mail merge documents, online forms, flyers, newsletters, brochures, and Web sites and pages. In the two simulation courses, BUSE 217, Integrated Office Applications, and BUSE 401, Office Administration, students review the format of business documents for print and for the Web while completing the tasks that incorporate instructions specific to the nature of the simulated office environment.
2. Assessment Methods and Procedures:
All students in the two-year associate degree program in Administrative Office Systems must successfully complete an internship in an office environment. The grading of the course is Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. The course, BUSE 314, Work Internship, (a two-credit course) is one of the technical courses in the two-year program. Students are encouraged to enroll in the course during the final semester of their program.
The requirements of the course include: three 5-page reports concerning the office environment, the position performed (task analysis) in that office, and a self-evaluation of performance in the office and an evaluation of the student’s performance completed by the employer at the end of the semester. The evaluation assesses the student’s office skills, personal work characteristics, and basic business knowledge. The successful completion of this internship enhances the student’s employability upon graduation.
Ratings and comments on the BUSE 314 Work Internship employer evaluation form for the academic years of 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, and 2003 2004 were used to evaluate student knowledge and performance of office tasks and personal work characteristics.
The ratings from the 24 employers were tabulated and the comments were listed. Eight of the 25 questions ask employers to assess student skill with software. Six of the questions ask the employer to assess skill in office tasks such as keyboarding, formatting, and managing records, five questions assess knowledge of basic business, and the remaining six questions assess personal work characteristics such as attendance and punctuality; appearance; initiative; dependability; cooperation; and customer (client) relations. Of the 25 questions, ten of the questions specifically or indirectly determine the software in use during the internship experience, the skill level necessitated for the internship experience, and the final open-ended question specifically asks employers to comment on the “overall ability of the student employee’s proficiency in use of the computer to complete office tasks….”
3. Inferences from Assessments:
During this assessment period, software usage and software skill ratings and comments are being reported. Based on the ratings and comments gathered from the employer evaluation forms, these findings resulted from the tallying of responses.
1. As to be expected, all 24 employers checked word processing as the software most often used and required for the performance of the tasks performed by the student employees. The word processing skills of students were evaluated as very good to excellent. As one employer noted: “I was really impressed with her [the student employee’s] ability to use Word. I had her make various forms for me. She did a wonderful job.” Another employer noted, “She [the student employee] has showed us some word processing points we found extremely useful.”
2. Fifteen of the 24 employers checked spreadsheet software was used in the student employees’ performance on the job. The spreadsheet skills of the students were evaluated as very good to excellent. Seven of these employers noted that spreadsheet usage primarily involved the preparation of “basic” (or “simple”) spreadsheets and charts. One employer indicated the student employee knew how to format a spreadsheet but had difficulty with the formulas and functions required. As he noted, “This inability to handle the math end of spreadsheets speaks to the student’s inadequate math skills more than it speaks to her inability to handle Excel itself.” Another employer noted: “When I determined her (student employee’s) ability to handle such tasks as lists and multiple worksheets, I gave her several worksheets I was working on and had her complete the analysis and formatting of them. It saved me time and allowed me to work on other material for the proposal.” Two other employers noted that student employees had Excel skills beyond their expectations of what they might have expected from students in such a program as this one.
3. Ten of the 24 employers checked database software was used in the student employees’ performance on the job. As indicated by five of these employers, the student employees were asked to primarily perform data entry but they were also asked to query tables or forms for specific data and to prepare reports. An employer who did not indicate that the student employee used database software in performing her internship stated: “If I had realized she knew how to work with Access, then I would have had that installed on our office computer rather than sending requests to another department.”
4. Twelve of the 24 employers checked desktop publishing software was used in the student employees’ performance on the job. Several software programs were mentioned in completing desktop publishing publications including PageMaker, PrintShop, Publisher, QuarkXPress, WordPerfect, and Word. In addition, it should be noted that apparently some of these activities were done using Macs as well as using PCs. One employer noted: “Although she (the student employee) was unfamiliar with the DTP we used, she adapted quite easily to the program and she seemed to enjoy the DTP projects we gave her.” Another employer indicated: “She seemed to enjoy this creative aspect to the job whether it was designing a form or a brochure; she tried to determine what I needed and then went about completing the job. She could pretty much do whatever I threw at her.”
5. Only six of the employers checked presentation software was used in the student employees’ performance on the job, and these six noted that it was PowerPoint that the student employees used during the internship. One employer specifically commented that the student employee prepared at least three presentations for them requiring about 20 to 30 slides per presentation, and she spent time adding special effects and speakers notes to make these presentations enjoyable and usable. He stated: “She (student employee) was the right employee for this position in our office. We plan to hire her full time.” In addition to these six employers who noted the use of PowerPoint by their student interns, three other employers indicated they do not now use the software but had plans to install the software within the near future.
6. Eight of the employers checked Web software was used in the student employees’ performance on the job. After completing the BUSE 278 and 279 course sequence in Web software development, one student put together the entire organizational Web site using FrontPage, and it was then her responsibility to update the site periodically. Four other students prepared Web pages placed on their company Web sites and were responsible for posting them to the Web sites. These four employers made no mention of the type of software used in preparing the Web pages. One employer noted: “I see her (student employee’s) ability to create a Web page as a definite asset to her background. All her software skills seem very good, and she enjoys the computer and its challenges.”
4. Actions Taken/Program Improvements:
The two-year associate degree in Administrative Office Systems will be eliminated in Spring 2006. In addition, the following courses BUSE software courses will be eliminated at Firelands College/BGSU: BUSE 201, Introduction to Windows Applications, BUSE 261, Introduction to Word Processing Applications, BUSE 264, Introduction to Spreadsheet Applications, BUSE 268, Introduction to Database Applications, BUSE 274, Introduction to Desktop Publishing Applications, BUSE 275, Advanced Desktop Publishing Applications, BUSE 278, Introduction to Web Software Applications, and BUSE 279, Advanced Web Software Applications. With the elimination of the two-year program, the BUSE 314, Work Internship, course will no longer be offered at Firelands College/BGSU. In addition, as noted in the proposal to eliminate the two-year program in Administrative Office Systems and to eliminate the one-year certificate in Desktop Publishing Specialist, “As a result of the elimination of the two-year Associate of Applied Business in Administrative Office Systems, student learning outcomes will no longer be collected and analyzed.”
Although data and comments were derived from the BUSE 314 Work Internship employer evaluation form for Outcome 1 this academic year of 2004-2005, no programmatic changes will be made in the two-year associate degree program nor will there be any course content changes made in the above mentioned courses due to these eliminations.
The Administrative Office Systems program has the following immediate recommendations and future plans for the content of BUSE 262, Word/Information Processing Applications; BUSE 265, Intermediate Spreadsheet Applications; BUSE 266, Advanced Spreadsheet Applications; BUSE 269, Intermediate Database Applications; BUSE 270, Advanced Database Applications; BUSE 272, Presentation Software Applications; and BUSE 276, Desktop Publishing Applications; in achieving Outcome 1—The ability to operate personal computers and work with a variety of office software such as word processing, database, spreadsheet, presentation, and desktop publishing.
• Word Processing—One three-hour course in word processing software will continue to be offered at Firelands College. A new textbook will need to be used to provide a quick review to introductory skills in formatting characters and paragraphs, in creating tables, and proofing tools and to emphasize the intermediate and advanced features of the software such as page and section formatting; headers/footers; columns; styles; templates; graphics; mail merge; graphics; Web pages; forms; macros; footnotes and endnotes; outlines; indexes and tables of contents; and master documents.
• Database—By using MIS 200, Introduction to Management Information Systems as the feeder to BUSE 269, Intermediate Database Applications, a one or two class period review of introductory skills in database software will be needed to bring students up to par or to provide a review of knowledge and skills forgotten. This inclusion of a one or two class period review will mean the adjustment of content covered in BUSE 269 and the sequence course of BUSE 270, Advanced Database Applications.
• Spreadsheet—By using MIS 200, Introduction to Management Information Systems as the feeder to BUSE 265, Intermediate Spreadsheet Applications, a one or two class period review of introductory skills in spreadsheet software will be needed to bring students up to par or to provide a review of knowledge and skills forgotten. This inclusion of a one or two class period review will mean the adjustment of content covered in BUSE 265 and the sequence course of BUSE 266, Advanced Spreadsheet Applications.
• Desktop Publishing—With the elimination of 2 one-hour courses in desktop publishing, some course content will need to be consolidated and/or eliminated to be covered in the one-hour course of BUSE 276, Desktop Publishing Applications. A new more compact textbook will be needed to consolidate the coverage of skills in producing multiple-page publications for print.
• Presentation—No content change will need to be made to this course, for no course elimination occurred in this software area. The course will continue to be updated based on software and textbook revisions.
Although the two-year associate degree in Administrative Office Systems will be eliminated and eight BUSE software courses will be eliminated at Firelands College/BGSU in Spring 2006, a one-year certificate program, Business Applications Specialist, will be offered beginning in Fall 2005. This certificate will incorporate the software courses noted above and will include three hours in business electives, in business communications (BA 203), and in management information systems (MIS 200). All software course content will continue to be updated to meet software revisions and organizational demands.