O, Look! We Do Books

Another researcher has discovered that students want books.  Our students have asked over and over and over again: “Does this course come with books? “Can I keep the books? “Can I write in the books?
Digital isn’t the same as print. I have worked in both industries over the years. You can see my posts here and here. This study at least validates what my students already know: we need books.

With her new book, Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University, brings more data to the case for print.  Baron and her colleagues surveyed over 300 university students in the U.S., Japan, Germany, and Slovakia, and found a near-universal preference for print, especially for serious reading. (She finds that the format doesn’t matter so much for “light reading.”)

When students were given a choice of various media—including hard copy, cell phone, tablet, e-reader, and laptop—92 percent said they could concentrate best in hard copy.

Learn with us: https://thecomputermama.teachable.com 

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Because Women Match Socks

Study Suggests Women Code Better Than Men This article supports what I have learned in the classroom. I have seen women programmers far exceed what men programmers can do…. because women match socks. Programming is all about On Event Clicks: does the button do what the user expects? The event matches the expectation. Women are very good at matching which kid gets which socks. Guys, not so much.


Computer codes written by women get higher approval ratings than the code written by men – but only if the gender of the coder is being hidden


I am the one who knows how to teach Microsoft Access! I have developed and deployed robust, commercial databases. I have also learned what it takes to teach database programming.

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Get the books at Amazon.com

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Connections, Connections, Connections

Visit our school at Teachable
Get the books at Amazon.com
Our Complete Guide to Microsoft Outlook is live at Teachable!

ANOTHER Excellent Review! “What you did well in your last course…
For your last course, our review team noted that your teaching was
prepared and polished.” UDEMY

All materials for this program are available online.
  • Step-by-step video demonstrations
  • Companion eBook with 342 pages of detailed instructions
  • Sample presentations and images
  • Practice and Quizzes

Our Complete Guide to Microsoft Outlook teaches how to:

  • Design and format professional E-mail using Themes and images
  • Track and respond to messages
  • Manage the Inbox with Rules and Quick Steps
  • Create appointments, meetings and tasks
  • Plan and collaborate online

The Microsoft Outlook 2013 Certification Training Program is part of the Microsoft Business Certification program: Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). MOS certification is the globally recognized standard for validating expertise with the Microsoft Office 2013 suite.  Students who wish to prepare for Microsoft Certification Exam 77-422:  Microsoft Office Outlook 2013 will find beginning through advanced lessons that demonstrate these required MOS topics.

This course teaches the objectives for the following certification tests:
Core Certification: Pass any 1 test:
Outlook® 2013: Exam 77-423

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Getting it Right

My big brother was one of the first people to watch our Microsoft Office videos. He then offered several hours of “helpful,” unsolicited comments about the narration.

<Really? I don’t recall asking for advice.>

 Getting it Right: We struggled with the voice and narration. We wanted to record the narration the way it is taught in a live classroom. Something about the presentation and pacing is very effective.

We Succeeded. From one of our students: “This course was excellent. It was extremely efficacious in that it was designed to be hands-on, task based, with an incremental and coherent progression that clarified each skill that was to be developed in a manner that created a deep tacit understanding of the material. This was crucial because learning by rote, a teaching methodology I have encountered with other material, evaporates in the mind very quickly over a short period of time.

“In addition, Ms. Nofs’ personal teaching style, evidenced in the course and in her online persona “The Computer Mamma,” proved singularly useful in helping to highlight essential points and sustain interest in the material at hand.

“Her variations of intonation and stress combined with her use of pace, repetition, discourse markers, asides, rhetorical questions, etc., kept the material fresh and facilitated retention of the intended key points. It also made one feel as if a dialogue were being created between teacher/specialist and student. Her teaching style was very effective pedagogically.

“I highly recommend her courses – in person and online.”

P.M, Ph.B., M.A., A.D.V.S.


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Teachers Pay Teachers


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Digital Design Theory: The BEST Job EVER in the Whole World

Digital Design Theory:I am really lucky. My job lets me color outside the lines and be creative. We had a blast with “Go, Blue” the video for Beginning Microsoft Word. Every screen has something animated.

Little Video Shows:I’ve wanted to do this since 1995 when I first figured out how eLearning would work. I saw that the story should be fun and educational. However, the story, or teaching, was only the top layer of many layers that linked to online content: reference links as well as up-sell links.

For our product, Microsoft Office, the story focuses on successful women and men who get the job done well. Our lessons show real world examples of practical solutions. I could draw it all out on storyboards, but how could anyone produce it in 1995?

The Computer Mama on PBS: I picked up the phone and called WFUM PBS in Flint. I announced (nope, didn’t ask) that I was going to do a program on computers. I had no television experience, no portfolio, not even a good suit. I was amazed when the Station Manager, Mr. Leon Collins, invited me to create a pilot program.

What fun!The hardware, the teleprompter and the editing software fascinated me. I remember Leon trying to explain the details of the co-production agreement but I just wanted to play with the talking Barney puppet and watch it interact with the program on PBS.

What did I learn?You should turn off the mic when you take a break. Everyone in the sound room heard me mouthing off to Mancini.

Great Software Works: Fast forward to 2015 and look at the tools that are available to teach and tell the story. The best shows can be produced on a desktop. The videos can have hyperlinks to more content online. The software is robust, affordable, and easy to use. The results are professional.

To my University of Michigan colleagues: Go Blue! Good luck, Coach Jim Harbaugh.

As Garrison Keillor sang: ”I’m, I’m from MICHIGAN and you’re from someplace else.”

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Digital Design Theory: Look Who’s Talking


Digital Design Theory: When I started teaching Microsoft Office, I was surprised how many people recorded my classes and how many audited the classes a second time. Who would want to hear eight hours of Excel Formulas…again?

We wanted to capture the spirit and action of the live classroom into videos. We also wanted to link all of the video lessons to our Microsoft Office Specialist certification training: 100% video coverage.

Now Appearing: Trying to capture the Live Performance into little video lessons has been challenging. Speaking in front of an audience is different from writing a textbook. The Computer Mama is a dynamic speaker: humorous, engaging, and knowledgeable. Live classes have a relaxed pace: there is time to wait for the laughter or the a-ha responses. The videos seem to hurry-up. I find that I am editing the lessons and making them simple so that we can complete the steps in less than 10 minutes. The books have far more details and examples of how the software could be useful.


Movies vs Books: Writing a textbook in the same manner as talking live in the classroom does not translate very well. The language of certification books is formal. The material is specific: “Click on Cell B2.” However, even with the constraints of technical writing, the Computer Mama books have an author. There is someone with a voice and an attitude. Students enjoy the sidebar comments from the Computer Mama and the picture stories in the margins. In comparison, many of the Microsoft Office books used in colleges are institutional: a collection of various writers with different methods of teaching.


Look Who’s Talking: We are working on different approaches to the narration on the little videos. Our BETA videos are available on YouTube. Keep in mind that publishing on YouTubeflattens the video and removes the links to the online certification topics.


The Computer Mama Guides to Microsoft Office Certification Training


Order the Books at www.Amazon.com
Teachers: Download the lessons at www.teacherspayteachers.com
BETA YouTube Channel: The Computer Mama Guides
Outstanding Certification Training:
It is possible to cover technical material in a methodical, concise method… and still have fun.
This course offers you detailed, effective instruction to guide you through multiple lab exercises. Instructionally, you are provided with consistent and logical content, opportunities to practice the skills presented.
November 11, 2012 ProCert Labs certifiies the Microsoft Excel 2010 Advanced Guide for the Microsoft Vendor of Approved Courseware program.
I did it! I passed the PowerPoint exam! She said it was the highest score she has seen. I scored 967 (required: 700) and I got 100% on everything but Working with Visual Content which was 89%!” – Student
Emmitt Kelly Jr., Pt Barnum Circus from the Precious Moments Collection of Marni Frank

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Digital Design Theory: Observation, Orientation and Notation

Digital Design Theory: Observation, Orientation and Notation
Good teaching has a method for transferring knowledge. In math, students are taught theorems and proofs. The results may be written as a formula: a2 + b2 = c2. Chemistry has a specific language for teaching and documentation as well: H2O. Music has a written language, too, or we would have lost the works of Beethoven and Mozart. And so does computer technology.
Observation, Orientation and Notation: The Computer Mama method comes from years of teaching online and in the classroom.  We have been able to take a complex subject and teach it plain and simple.
Observation: Using the Words Each lesson explains the objective and how todays’ technology available can meet the goals. There are many ways to get the job done. Students want to know which ones work best.
Orientation: Thinking in Pictures Our Microsoft Office certification lessons include at least one image that shows the entire screen as well as a close up of the particular option. Menu Maps at the beginning of each lesson help the student focus on which Ribbons can complete the task.
Notation: Writing it Down Computer technology uses Breadcrumbs to document how someone can find one button among hundreds.  Breadcrumbs are printed above each image in our computer lessons so that our students can find their way back.
We teach the way you learn

“I did it! I passed the PowerPoint exam! She said it was the highest score she has seen. I scored 967 (required: 700) and I got 100% on everything but Working with Visual Content which was 89%!”– V.S., Student, Community College of Rhode Island

We write the way you teach

“Your instructions were great! They executed the skills with little to no problems. I was still able to help on some things which I enjoyed! Thanks so much!!”  -K.M., Teacher, TeachersPayTeachers


Emmitt Kelly Jr., Teacher,  from the Precious Moments Collection of Marni Frank

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