Author Archives: Dee Hobson

Want to “Spice Up” Your Resume?

Are you about to enter the job market?  What credentials do you have on your resume that might catch a potential employer’s eye?

Many individuals looking for employment are learning that computer skills are very important and often required.  How is it possible to display on your resume that you are proficient in using application programs such and Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.

Let’s take a look at the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification program.  This program offers exams in the most current version of Office (2016) as well as the two previous versions, Office 2013 and Office 2010.

Microsoft Office 2016 Specialist Certifications are offered in the following categories:

  • Microsoft Word 2016
  • Microsoft Excel 2016
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
  • Microsoft Access 2016
  • Microsoft Outlook 2016
  • Microsoft Word 2016 Expert
  • Microsoft Excel 2016 Expert

All Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exams are timed and require a comprehensive knowledge of the features provided by the software.  Click on the following link to download the exam objectives for one or all of these exams.  These objectives provide a list of tasks you could be asked to perform when taking the exam and serve as a guide to assess your current skill level and prepare to take one of the exams. You may need to scroll down to see the objectives.

Microsoft Office Specialist 2016 Exam Objectives

Here is a partial sample (not in order) of the Excel 2016 Exam Objectives:

Creating and Manage Worksheets and Workbooks

  • Create a workbook
  • Import data from a delimited text file
  • Add a worksheet to an existing workbook
  • Copy and move a worksheet

Navigate in Worksheets and Workbooks

  • Search for data within a workbook
  • Navigate to a named cell, range, or workbook element
  • Insert and remove hyperlinks

Format Worksheets and Workbooks

  • Change worksheet tab color
  • Rename a worksheet
  • Change worksheet order
  • Modify page setup
  • Insert and delete columns and rows
  • Change workbook themes
  • Adjust row height and column width
  • insert headers and footers

Perform Conditional Operations by using Functions

  • Perform logical operations by using the IF function
  • Perform logical operations by using the SUMIF function
  • Perform logical operations by using the AVERAGEIF function
  • Perform logical operations by using the COUNTIF function

Format and Modify Text by using Functions

  • Format text by using RIGHT, LEFT, and MID functions
  • Format text by using UPPER, LOWER, and PROPER functions
  • Format text by using the CONCATENATE function

Richland College is a Certified Microsoft Testing Center.  The Business Office Systems and Support department offers courses both in the classroom and online in Office 2016 applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access). These courses are designed to prepare students to attempt with confidence the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam for the course in which they are enrolled.

If you are thinking of going back to work, changing careers, or entering the job market for the first time, MOS certifications are excellent credentials to add to your resume. Employers know that certification guarantees knowledge without further training and often look for these credentials on a candidate’s resume.

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, ANino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6215.

 


What’s the Difference between Office 2016 and Office 365

As a student at any of the DCCCD campus locations (Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, Northlake, Richland) you are able to download for free Office 365 including free space on Microsoft’s OneDrive (cloud storage space).

Do you know all of the benefits of this free software?  Review the third column in the table below to better understand what you are receiving at no cost.

If you are not a student but are considering upgrading to Office 2016 or Office 365, you may also want to review the table.  The first column lists the feature, the second the features you will receive if you purchase Office 2016, and the third the features you will receive if you subscribe to Office 365.

 

What’s the

Difference?

One-time Purchase (Example: Office Home & Student 2016) Office 365 Subscription (Example: Office 365 Home)
Cost Pay a single, one-time cost Pay a small monthly fee, or save by paying for a full year
Office Applications Get Office 2016 applications, like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Your apps won’t be updated when new features are released. Get the latest version of Office applications, like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Right now that’s Office 2016, but your version will continue to receive new feature updates. PC users also get Access and Publisher.
Feature Updates Security updates are included, but you won’t get new features that are added to Office 2016. Upgrades to major releases are not included. Your version of Office will always be improving. Get the latest features and updates from Microsoft. Major upgrades to future versions are included.
Install Office

On More than One Computer

(Mac or PC)

One-time purchases are designed for a single operating system, so your copy of Office is good for either one Mac or one PC. With Office 365 Home, you can install Office desktop applications on up to 5 computers, which can be a combination of Macs and PCs. If you don’t need all of those installs, share them with members of your household.
Install Office

Get Advanced Features on Tablets and Phones

Get basic editing features only on your tablet or phone. Get extra features when you sign in to Office apps on your device. With Office 365 Home, you’ll get these extra features on up to 5 tablets and 5 smartphones.
Extra Online

Storage

Not included. Securely store your files in the cloud and access them from anywhere. Get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user, for up to 5 users.
Technical Support

Included

Initial technical support is included for installing only. Contact us throughout your subscription at no extra cost for help with technical issues, or for subscription and billing support.

 

If you are interested in seeing a comparison of the various versions of Office 2016 and Office 365, click on the following link.

A Comparison of Versions of Office 2016 and Office 365

Although you may have a preference, most software is going to subscription pricing.  This might be the last version of Microsoft Office to offer a one-time purchase option.  Regardless of which option you choose, Microsoft continues to expand the features available to users of their Office software suite.

Source:  Support.Office. Com


Interested in learning more about courses offered by the Business Office Systems and Support Department at Richland College?  Please contact Angela Nino, lead faculty, of the BOSS department.  (anino@dcccd.edu or call 972-238-6215) The BOSS department is a Microsoft Authorized Testing Center; if Microsoft Office certifications are important to you, keep in mind that you will be able to both learn MS Office 2016 software and attempt the Microsoft certification exam of your choice with us!


Accounting versus Currency Format in Excel

When formatting numbers, do you understand the difference between the Accounting number format and the Currency number format?

When you click the $ button on the Home Tab in the Number group on the Ribbon, you are applying the Accounting format.

To apply the Currency format, you would need to either click the down arrow in the Number format text box or launch the Number Dialog box.

Both the Accounting and the Currency format will add two decimal places.

Accounting Format

  • aligns all the dollar signs at the left edge of the cell
  • a dash is displayed for a zero value

Currency Format

  • aligns the dollar signs next to the number
  • a zero is displayed when the cell’s value is zero

currencytable

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, anino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6215.

 


EXCEL 2016 Offers New Chart Types

If you have ever examined Excel’s charting tools, you may be wondering what other chart types could there be as previous versions of Excel offered eleven chart types.  These included Column, Line, Pie, Bar, Area, X Y (Scatter), Stock, Surface, Doughnut, Bubble, and Radar.

Microsoft’s newest version, EXCEL 2016, brings with it some new and modern chart types to help you better illustrate data that you include in your worksheets.  These charts are also available in PowerPoint 2016 and are:

TREEMAP:   A Treemap chart displays hierarchically structured data. The data appears as rectangles that contain other rectangles. A set of rectangles on the same level in the hierarchy equal a column or an expression. Individual rectangles on the same level equal a category in a column. For example, a rectangle that represents a type of food found in a grocery store (Dairy)  may contain other rectangles that represent products in that category.

See Treemap chart below.

treemap-chart-in-excel-2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WATERFALL:  As explained by Microsoft, “Waterfall charts are ideal for showing how you have arrived at a net value, by breaking down the cumulative effect of positive and negative contributions. This is very helpful for many different scenarios, from visualizing financial statements to navigating data about population, births and deaths”.

PARETO:  A Pareto chart contains both bars and a line graph. Individual values are represented by bars. The cumulative total is represented by the line.

HISTOGRAM:. A Histogram chart displays numerical data in bins. The bins are represented by bars. It’s used for continuous data.

BOX and WHISKER:  A Box and Whisker chart, as explained by Microsoft, is “A box and whisker chart shows distribution of data into quartiles, highlighting the mean and outliers. The boxes may have lines extending vertically called ‘whiskers’. These lines indicate variability outside the upper and lower quartiles, and any point outside those lines or whiskers is considered an outlier.”

SUNBURST:  A Sunburst chart is a pie chart that shows relational datasets. The inner rings of the chart relate to the outer rings.   It’s a hierarchal chart with the inner rings at the top of the hierarchy.

For more information from Microsoft regarding the creation and use and to view samples of these new chart types, click the following link:

New Chart Types in Excel 2016

Interested in learning Excel 2016?  Please contact Angela Nino, lead faculty in the Business Office Systems & Support Department at Richland College.  (anino@dcccd.edu or call 972-238-6215) The BOSS department is a Microsoft Authorized Testing Center; if Excel certification is important to you, keep in mind that you will be able to both learn to use Excel 2016 and attempt the Microsoft Excel 2016 Certification exam with us!

 


Public Speaking Tips Video

Two Must-HaveIf you suffer from stage fright every time you are asked to make a presentation in front of a group of people, this video was made for you!

Created by the Richland College Speech Faculty, the video was prepared to help instructors remind students of important public speaking behaviors prior to giving a presentation.

If you would like to learn more about how to speak in public and communicate effectively, why not consider enrolling in a speech course at Richland College!

Enjoy the video!

Click here to view the Speech Tips Video


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, anino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.


WRITING TO WIN: Coordination in Successful Teamwork

By Royce Murcherson

Royce top pictureIn the last blog, I talked about collaboration as part of an overall team structure that helps colleagues come together to craft solutions and improve processes. Communication is also a key component in collaboration, for without communication there can be no real collaboration. And without coordination, the fruits of communication and collaboration are lost.

The Three ‘C’ Model:  COMMUNICATION * COLLABORATION * COORDINATION

What is coordination? It is the glue that holds the model together. Coordination within teams is simply ensuring the job gets done.  If you find yourself in the role of ‘team leader’, you must ask yourself two questions. What is my role and what will it take to get the job done?

The Role of Team CoordinatorRoyce People holding MS logo puzzle

  • The team leader or team coordinator serves as a primary liaison between team members.
  • The team coordinator is responsible for making sure team members are keenly aware of their specific roles and function within the group.
  • Team coordinators are also tasked with the authority to make critical decisions when the team cannot arrive at a consensus.

Coaching ResponsibilitiesThe Responsibilities of the Team Coordinator

Think of a team coordinator as a coach in a team sport. The team is made up of individuals each with particular skills or talents. The team coordinator must channel all of these talents into an effective force that will bring a project to completion.

The Team Coordinator Must:

  • Have a long term vision of the work to be done
  • Know each team member
  • Define team roles
  • Ensure the team has a common goal
  • Make sure all team members know their assignments
  • Leverage resources and specific skills of the team
  • Create a workable plan
  • Have the correct tools available for the team to complete their tasks
  • Encourage effective communication among the team
  • Conduct periodic checkpoints to determine progress against deliverables.

 

Coordination AbsentWhat Happens when Coordination is Absent?

A lack of coordination within a project team can decrease productivity, complicate processes and delay the completion of projects. Below are some common signs:

  • Duplication of Work A usual sign of a lack of coordination within a project team is redundancy. Redundancy is caused by a lack of communication. With redundancy, an organization will spend double the efforts, materials and time to produce the same item twice. Redundancy typically results from the poor coordination of a project team.
  • Lost Information Teams must effectively share information to function at an optimal level. When this information is not readily available as needed within the team, the lack of information can create a cascading effect that will damage the team. Lost information can lead to delays.
  • Delays on Deliverables – Deliverables are the building blocks of an overall project. Deliverables can be reports, documents, and software upgrades, anything that contributes to the successful delivery of the project to the customer. One of the signs that team lacks coordination is called ‘delay’ and delays on deliverables can cause a project to miss a completion date.

Advantages of Team CoordinationThe Big Advantages of Team Coordination

The advantages of team coordination are realistic. Roles, responsibilities and deadlines are assigned. Informal coaching and mentoring takes place which benefits the group. It ensures a consolidation of work that can be measurable, attainable, and time constrained. It provides a single access point of communication between the team coordinator and business executives.

For an expanded discussions on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that   Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, anino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.

 


Calculations Quickly!

Here’s a quick but very useful Excel tip.  It is especially helpful when performing calculations on lengthy columns. 

Excel Tip

Give this tip a try to see if you like this method better than dragging the fill handle down, which is the method used by many who work with Excel daily.  It is easy and very fast!


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, anino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.

 


Writing to Win: COLLABORATION, the Second ‘C’ in Success

by Royce Murcherson

Writing to Win Book CoverIn the last blog post, I talked about teamwork in the workplace being more effective when communication, collaboration, and coordination are at the center. I began the discussion focusing on the importance of effective communication. It should be concise. It should present information in the form of a well thought out plan.  It should be clear and easy to understand. It should speed up the decision-making process.  And it should be inherently persuasive which speaks directly to the level of collaboration a strong team must have to be successful.

Without communication, there can be no real collaboration.

WHAT IS COLLABORATION?

Collaboration is a group process through which colleagues come together to craft solutions and improve processes not limited to one individual idea. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COLLABORATE?

What Does It Mean to CollaborateCollaborating means:

  • Everyone has a voice at the table
  • Being perceived as a good partner
  • Valuing Different Viewpoints
  • Coming across as a common united front

THREE ESSENTIALS IN THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS

  • Three EssentialsEngage Your Partners – Team members should share knowledge. Knowledge sharing is a healthy and productive means by which the group can arrive at the best solution.
  • Capture Ideas and Action Items – Team members should keep an accurate record of meeting notes. Some alternative forms of note taking can include diagrams or flow charts that visually depict innovative proposals.
  • Recognize Ideas – Team members should give credit where credit is due. A pat on the back, a nod at the table, and a simple “I agree” can go a long way. There is no stronger motivation than positive feedback.

TWO MUST-HAVE’S TO MAKE IT WORK

  • Two Must-HaveBuild Relationships – It is absolutely essential to build relationships among your team members. Take time to build personal relationships by getting to know each other.  During this process, strengths and opportunities can be discovered and used to the best advantage of the team.
  • Foster Trust – Being able to depend on your colleagues to deliver tasks on time and in detail is also absolutely essential. Trust is the confidence. And confidence that each member will fully contribute to the group eliminates pressure and unnecessary stress.

THE BIG ADVANTAGES         

Since collaboration is now a hot item in the workplace, the advantages are not hard to spot. Collaborative teams bring together different viewpoints because teams are frequently pulled from different talent pools or departments to achieve one goal.  Because a variety of ideas will be put on the table, it’s much easier to develop ingenuity when there is more than one option. Good ideas give way to better ideas.  Groups who collaborate tend to be more inventive and resourceful.  Collaboration can also bring a certain unity to the decision-making process. Having more than one stakeholder ensures that team decisions will be reflective of all and not one, eliminating perceived bias. Lastly, a quick delivery of the product is likely to occur.  Having several hands on deck is an automatic advantage when considering a collection of talent, skills, and intellect.

For an expanded discussions on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

            Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that   Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, ANino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.


Are Two-Year Colleges Sometimes Better than Four-Year Universities?

graduation-hatCommunity colleges (also known as junior colleges) offer a two–year degree called an associate degree. A student with a strong academic record at a community college can then transfer to a more expensive state or private college for two more years to earn a bachelor’s degree.

However, the second function of community colleges is to prepare students for the job market by offering associate’s degrees in the career and technical areas and entry-level career training. Adult students who want to upgrade their skills for workforce reentry or advancement are also using the offerings of community colleges.

For some, community college is an opportunity to get extra academic guidance and support. Community colleges often have small class sizes. The priority of the faculty is teaching, not research. Plus there are generally lots of support services, such as mentoring programs and organized study groups. The difference in cost between a community college and a four-year university is substantial.

Read what the Washington Post had to say in an article published on June 29, 2015 regarding community colleges:  What’s wrong with going to a community college? How two-year colleges can be better than four-year universities.

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.

 


WRITING TO WIN: Teamwork and the Three ‘C’s’ of Success

by Royce Murcherson, Ph.D.Royce 1 Man

What are the real benefits of teamwork in business? Why is it increasingly important? Teamwork and team building are being used in business environments where the nature of the work is complex or multifaceted, not to mention fast-paced. Working in isolation as a single contributor may not be as productive as several colleagues with different skills working toward a single goal. Successful teams rely on three effective mechanisms: communication, collaboration, and coordination. I will discuss each of these mechanisms over the course of three posts, the first being this one which is dedicated to ‘communication’. 

WHAT IS EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATION?

It is a successful exchange of ideas between colleagues or team members that produce solutions to problems, improvements in process, setting expectations, knowledge sharing, and creating awareness. In short, effective communication assures quality in products and services. 

Royce 1THE RULES OF EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATION

  • It should be concise.
  • It should present information in the form of a well thought out plan.
  • It should be clear and easy to understand.
  • It should speed up the decision-making process.
  • It should be inherently persuasive. That is, the material or information being presented should be convincing and factual.

FORMS OF BUSINESS COMMUNICATION

  • Correspondence
  • Proposals
  • Reports
  • Meetings
  • Informal Discussions
  • Presentations

Royce 2VERBAL INTERACTION AND THE TEAM MEETING

Rules and forms of communication are obvious. What is not obvious is the manner in which team members or colleagues verbally interact with each other. Be aware that you are a member of a team which means each person has a voice in the process. When making comments or presenting information, be sure to invite your colleagues to respond with questions, improvements or enhancements, possible redundancies or even errors of which you may not be aware.

  • Consider Your Audience Your audience is your team, colleagues, or stakeholders. Written and verbal communication must not be overly informal. Think of the tone in which you are communicating. When writing, do not fall into ‘text talk’ or ‘sofa chat’. At the same time, do not be overly formal. Remember, you are not at a back yard barbecue, nor are you addressing Congress. This advice also applies to verbal communication. The most important skill is being able to identify your audience and adapt your tone and style of communication to the situation.

 

  • Question, Listen, and Encourage When working within your team, think of yourself as a teacher or facilitator. Yes, you should invite questions and comments, but you should also take it one step further. The roles of teacher and facilitator focus on developing a healthy exchange between students and attendees. What is the best way to accomplish this? Question, listen, and encourage. Question your team members on their points of view. Make a concerted effort to listen and show sincere interest in their ideas. When comments or feedback display creativity or ingenuity, encourage more dialogue. Invite your colleagues to explore their ideas and report back to the group.

 

  • Stay on Point Whether facilitating or communicating within a team meeting, stay on point. Follow the agenda. Be aware of time constraints even as you question, listen, and encourage. This burden does not always fall to the person who called the meeting. Each member has a responsibility to make valuable contributions.

Next time, look forward to my discussion of the second ‘C’, the benefits of collaboration in the team environment.

For an expanded discussions on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that   Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.