Quantitative Reasoning in Business
Fall 2016, 8-Week Format

Moodle, Course Calendar, Notes & Resources
Syllabus quick links: Course Objectives, Course Format, Texts, Additional Resources, Basis of Grade

Course Information

Days & Times: Tuesdays, 5:45PM - 7:45PM.
Note: The first class meeting is Tuesday, August 23, and is mandatory.
Location: McMullen Hall, Room 101
Credits: 3 hours
Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Dr. Richard Jerz
Contact Information: Email:Rick@rjerz.com
Phone: (563) 447-0180 (voice mail)
Office: 408 Ambrose Hall

Catalog Description

This course provides students the opportunity to develop quantitative insights and skills relevant to success in the study and practice of Accounting, Economics, Finance, General Business, International Management, Management and Marketing. Key topics include the role of functions, linear systems, optimization, and scenario analysis in business. Students will develop skills in the visual display, written expression and oral presentation of analytic findings in a business setting.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be expected to achieve the following outcomes:
1. Use quantitative information to analyze simple and complex business outcomes
2. Effectively present quantitative information orally, visually and in writing
3. Use critical reasoning skills to analyze and interpret data to solve complex business problems
4. Demonstrate proficiency in using Excel
5. Apply quantitative reasoning to evaluate financial wellness

Course Format

You will receive a "Welcome" email from me about a week before class that will provide access to all course materials on Moodle, and explain how the course is conducted. Watch for this email!

This is an 8-week course that is delivered in "hybrid" format. We will meet in class, but for only approximately one-half of the allotted hours. Some lectures may be delivered "electronically." We will review this plan the first evening. The "Course Calendar" webpage shows which topics will be in-class and which ones will be "electronic."

All "electronic" materials will be delivered asynchronously, meaning that you do not have to be behind your computer at any specified time, and you can work when you are most productive. In class, we will review major concepts, answer your questions, and have lab time to work on Excel projects.


Only 1 textbook is required.

"Microsoft Excel 2010 Comprehensive," 1st Ed., Gary Shelly, Jeffrey Quasney, et. al., Cengage Learning, 201. ISBN 978-1439079010, or

"Microsoft Excel 2013 Comprehensive," 1st Ed., Steven Freund, Mali Jones, et. al., Cengage Learning, 201. ISBN-13 978-1-285-16843-2 or ISBN-13: 978-1-305-50117-1, but not ISBN-13: 978-1-285-16844-9.

You can pick whichever book matches the version of Excel that you have on your own computer or work computer. For Macintosh users, if you have Excel 2011 on your Mac, then the 2010 textbook works better. If you have Excel 2016, then I suggest the 2013 textbook.

Additional Course Resources

This course assumes that the student has some computer skills and understands how to use products such as email, browsers, word processing, and spreadsheets. The university computer lab computers meet all course needs.

Computer Hardware: You will need a computer (PC or Macintosh) and high-speed access (such as DSL or cable) to the Internet (especially for viewing course videos.) Many past students have found it extremely helpful to bring laptops to class, especially for following along with the Excel techniques demonstrated in class. On the other hand, many prefer the traditional way of taking notes, i.e., with paper and pencil, and using the lab computers. I ask only that you refrain from surfing the web, checking email, playing games, etc. during class time if you do choose to bring a laptop.

Quantitative Software: Our quantitative software is Excel. You will need access to Microsoft Excel 2010, Excel 2013/365, Excel 2011 (Macintosh) or Excel 2016 (Macintosh), and not earlier versions. Excel 2010 and Excel 2013/365 are available on all St. Ambrose lab computers. Macintosh users can also run Excel 2010 or 2013/365 by installing a Windows emulator on their Mac, such as Parallels or VMware, but Excel 2011 or Excel 2016 for the Mac is also fine.

Support Software: You will need a browser (at least at IE9, Firefox 25.0, Safari 6, Chrome X or 30.0, or equivalent or newer) with Flash installed (for streaming video), an email account (SAU or other), Adobe PDF Reader, Microsoft Office, and iTunes (optional). Most modern computers include a video player.

This course makes intensive use of my lecture videos. These videos are provided in "Flash" format on Moodle, in a downloadable format, and as podcasts generally from the iTunes store, for free. See my "Videos, videos, videos" link on Moodle for more information.

Mobile Device: Mobile devices are optional. A modern mobile device (tablets and smartphones) can be handy for playing videos and doing assignments “on the go”. Moodle, and almost all my course materials, are designed for easy viewing and interaction on most mobile devices, such as iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.

Moodle: All course materials will be available from my website. We will be using a product called Moodle as our course management system. Since Moodle will be new to most of you, I have provided a separate video that shows how to use it. If you happen to go to this course on Blackboard you will see that I have provided a quick link to get to Moodle. You will not need to pay for Moodle. I provide this to you for free. I also have made a separate video about using Moodle that you should watch before the course begins.

Basis of Grade

Attendance and participation: 10%
Self-Assessments: 25%
Expanded Problems: 50%
Case Study Project: 15%

A+: 97-100, A: 93-97, A-: 90-93, B+: 87-90, B: 83-87, B- :80-83, C+: 77-80, C: 73-77, C-: 70-73, D+: 67-70, D: 63-67, D-: 60-63, F: 0-60

Attendance and Participation: Attendance is required. Let the instructor know (by phone or email) if you are unable to attend. You get 3 points for each class you attend, 1 point if you notify me ahead of time with a reasonable reason, and 0 points if you are absent and do not let me know.

Special Note: Attendance on the first night of class is mandatory. If you cannot attend the first night, you will need to drop this course. No exceptions!

For each chapter, students will be required to make posts to a discussion forum. This will be explained on the first night of class.

Homework: Students must read the textbook and will be required to answer a set of questions for each chapter, typically 15 true/false or multiple choice questions.

You must complete homework questions by the due date. If you get a score that you do not believe reflects your knowledge, you can redo your homework and your highest score counts.

Expanded Problems: Most of these exercises will involve completing the step-by-step chapter projects from the Shelly Cashman book. When you are done with the problem, submit it to Moodle for grading.

For the best learning experience, these expanded problems need to be completed sequentially. If you miss the due date, you can still submit up to one week late with a 30% reduction. After one week, you cannot submit for points but you should still complete the chapter on your own.

Case Study Project : Students will be required to analyze a case study and provide an effective presentation of the case analysis, including visual aides.

You can pick one of the case study projects from the 2010 textbook "Case and Places." If you have the 2013 textbook, I have provided these case study projects for you at the bottom of every chapter Resources webpages. Alternatively, you can pick a project from work or another organization.

You must also present your project in the last week (finals week.) The format for this presentation must follow the "Pechu Kucha" technique. You must use either a voice-over-PowerPoint presentation, or if you prefer, another form of video/audio presentation.

As part of this assignment, you must comment on other student's presentations.

For more details about this project, see Presentation Report Guidelines.

Bonus Points: Occasionally, bonus exercises are provided. In the spirit of quality and continuous improvement, whenever you identify an administrative error about any component of this course, you will receive one (1) bonus point.

Administrative Items

Rectifying Scores: During the semester, I will post all your scores on Moodle for you to view. After you get your homework or exam grade, you have a week to complain about your score. Beyond this period, I will not entertain any complaints.

Student Success Center: Students are encouraged to go to the Student Success Center (SSC) in Ambrose Hall 243 or to call 333-6332 for information regarding tutoring for papers in all classes, and study strategy advice. The center staff suggests that students seek help early, although drop in and contractual tutorials are arranged throughout the semester.

Accommodations: Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Student Disability Services office as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. (SDS Student Handbook)

Classroom etiquette: Please pay a professional courtesy to the instructor and your classmates by turning off all cell phones and pagers during class. The use of computers is allowed only for lecture-related activities. In general, please avoid behavior that distracts from the learning experience of you and your classmates. In on-line discussions, a courteous tone and politeness is expected. (SAU Student Handbook)

Academic Integrity Policy: For St. Ambrose's policy, please click here.