Information Systems Education Conference
ISECON Proceedings

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Workshop Presentation

Teaching Methods for Some Very Complex Excel Functions

William Tastle
Ithaca College

Developing expertise with Excel can be non-trivial, to say the least. Some instructors simply list functions on the board and consider their teaching of the technology to be complete. This seems to be the practice, rather than the exception, with business instructors in general and there is some evidence to suggest that it is commonplace in other disciplines. This workshop will inform the instructor in some well-tested methods for bringing clarity to a number of the more complex Excel functions such as nested IF statements, VLOOKUP versus the INDEX and MATCH functions, pivot tables, and string manipulation. It is this last item that is outstanding in its power to clean data for either analysis in Excel or to import to a database table. You will learn methods that have proven themselves to be very successful in the classroom for parsing data that cannot be handled using the Text to Columns button in the Data tab of Excel. String manipulation will include LEFT, RIGHT, MID, LEN, FIND, and SUBSTITUTE. When I have visited corporations (profit as well as non-profit) I have found that it is not uncommon to for needed data not to be properly used because it is in a format that the uninformed cannot parse. At the conclusion of this workshop you will have the necessary skills to teach students how to manage these complex operations. If time permits, we will also discuss array functions, a quick way of handling complex calculations with ease.

Targeted Attendees
UG and Grad instructors who require the use of Excel and want to enhance their knowledge of complex operations.

Recommended Citation: Tastle, W., (2012). The Proceedings of the Information Systems Education Conference, v.29 n.2056, New Orleans, LA.