When the word “Excel” comes up in conversation, it’s like the black sheep of Microsoft. “Excel. Oh no, I don’t really do Excel” is a common response. Learning Excel in the Microsoft Professional I class at Globe University, students often say how they hate Excel or just plain don’t understand how to use it.
Globe University-Green Bay Instructor Jolyn Helgeson decided it was time to make Excel a little more interesting for students to better engage them in the coursework. She had students create a worksheet in Excel and used bags of Skittles to develop skills on formatting, formulas and data analysis.
This applied learning project helped students apply the skills they learned in class through a unique activity, with a goal to increase their understanding and retention of the information.
Helgeson distributed Skittles and asked students to complete a page of tasks like inputting the colors and amount per each bag. She also had students format the spreadsheet and analyze if there were any trends between the bags to see if Skittle colors were evenly distributed.
“Creating charts and graphs with the Skittles showed me how evenly the candy is distributed, while also showing how much attention must be paid to your averages and equations when working with Excel,” said James Gardipee, student.
Student Michael Race added, “I liked learning about all the great things that the Skittles project showed me how to do in Excel! It really helped me to learn all the different steps and helped me retain the information. The one skill I find the most useful that I never used before was the AutoSum function. This function saves a ton of time.”
3 Excel Time Saving Tips
1.) Use auto sum to easily make calculations of rows or columns. Auto sum can find the average, total, and many other features and is found on the “Home” tab.
2.) To select an entire worksheet to change the format, click the upper left hand corner
3.) You can make any table instantly appealing by using Table Styles. Create your table and under the design tab, hover your mouse over each style to see what it would look like.