What’s this Big Square thing?!?!

The following post was written by my older brother, but I have no problem relating to it.

“I’m not much of a blogger but recent experiences have been much too appalling not to share with the world.

Most people in the older generations are under the strong impression that all of us in the new generation or pretty technology-savvy. Or at least computer-savvy. This has been one of my own strongly-held beliefs… until I took Management Information Systems this semester at USU. I’ve now realized that there is a large portion of the population that, when staring point-blank into a computer monitor, become at least three times as dumb as they normally are. Let me explain.

For anyone not familiar with MIS (Management Information Systems), the class itself is basically set up thus: it teaches you some basic principles of business management (specifically interacting in the Information Systems side of things), it covers basic and intermediate Microsoft Excel techniques, and touches a bit on web design. It really is very simple, or so I thought.

A perfect example of people freaking out in front of a computer happened today in class. Our professor told us he was going to go over some new Excel features that we hadn’t used before. Like ALWAYS, we’re required to start by opening up an excel file that has all the information on it so all we have to do is manipulate it the way we’re supposed to. So, the professor opens up the folder with all the files and explains that instead of only opening up one file, we would be opening up *GASP* FOUR files. After naming only two of them, a loud buzz falls over the classroom as people start freaking out before they’ve even opened up a file.

“Wait, which file is it?”

“I don’t see that one!”

“Is it this one?!”

“I still don’t… oh wait, here it is! Wait no, that’s not it!”

Ten hands go up before he even finishes telling us which files to open. In hopes of answering people’s questions in one shot rather than individually, he tells us that two of them are Text files, one is the excel file, and the fourth is an Access file. Unfortunately this just further confuses everyone since apparently no one knows what a text file is (even though we just finished creating HTML on Notepad) and everyone gets confused when they open it up (if they actually find it) and, heaven forbid, it’s NOT an excel file.

So while the professor has to go around and help half the class just find the files we need, I open up Solitaire and manage to win my first game before the professor makes it back up to the front of the classroom.

Okay. So we’ve finally found all the files, so we’re ready to start and blast through this thing right?

Step #1: Click on File > Save As… to save all the files to the desktop so we can find them easily when we need them later. Simple enough right?

While everyone is happily saving along, all of a sudden we hit another bump in the road. Uh oh, the read-only Access file doesn’t work like all the other ones!

Once the professor realizes this, he shows the simple solution up on the big screen. Solution: The “Save As…” button is in a different spot.

The familiar hum returns as people become confused. A different spot? Will it still save my file? Why is does it say this on the screen? How come my screen looks like an excel file and not an access file?

Just when the professor thinks everyone is on the same page, another hand goes up. “Uhm, my Access file didn’t save to the desktop!” Professor goes over to computer, and shows him *once again* where the right button is.

Wow, we haven’t even started working with our Excel file have we??? Ok, let’s get started. Step #2: Click this button, and choose this option and choose this text file that we just saved to the desktop to import the data.

Miraculously, everyone seems to be on the same page up to this point.

Ok, this box will come up. MAKE SURE THIS OPTION IS CHOSEN and then click Next, and you will see this box come up.

The hum returns as everyone starts talking and fifteen hands go up because a different box came up. It was quickly apparent that it was because the wrong option from the first box was highlighted, but he is forced to explain it individually fifteen times.

Just as he’s about to move on, (I’m really not making this up or just trying to throw out stereotypes) this blonde girl across the room shouts out that she still has no idea what files to save to the desktop.

On the bright side, I’m getting really good at Solitaire.”

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