The students are undergrad business majors starting a program in management information systems (MIS). Most are about 21 years old.

Students know:

  • Basic Excel (formulas, relative vs. absolute cell refs, chart creation)
  • How to use a browser

Most students have no programming background.

The amount of time students spend studying has been steadily decreasing over the years. Many students work full time, or close to it. Their motivations vary, but avoiding debt is a big one.

Program and course

Undergrad MIS program. Graduates seek entry-level MIS positions as tech support, junior systems analyst (or related job), junior project manager… Graduates are unlikely to be full-time programmers, but there's a good chance they will do programming of some sort. Spreadsheet macros, database validation script, like that.

The degree program uses Microsoft tech. This course uses Excel VBA. VBA is much used in business. It has all of the features students need to learn about in an intro programming course, as least as we define it. VBE, the VBA editing environment, is good enough for our purposes.

This course is a prereq for other courses where students create databases, write reporting software, etc.


Students have access to a computer with an Internet connection, and Excel.

Students have around 100 hours for the course, excluding exams and admin overheard. This is based on:

  • 11 weeks
  • 3 hours of contact per week
  • 6 hours of study per week