Dordt College News

Modules get students ready for work place

December 2, 2013

"No lace. Definitely no lace." "Make sure your tie knot is snug."

These were some of the pointers alumni business panelists shared with students in one of the one-credit modules now being offered by the business department.

Three modules were designed to cover topics that faculty felt were missing from the program or that could benefit from being covered in a more focused way.

“We asked our alumni to tell us about gaps they found in their training when they began a job,” says Professor Tim Klein. Three areas came up: professional practices, advanced Excel, and QuickBooks.

Although each of these topics was being addressed in some way in courses the department offered, they didn’t fit anywhere perfectly and they didn’t warrant a whole course. The one-credit modules help students develop specific skills that will help them as they apply for and begin a job.

The one-credit modules meet other goals too. They allow students who have a full load, but don’t want to add another full course because of time or money, to have a middle option.

“It’s particularly helpful for accounting majors who need more than the number of credits needed to graduate before they can take the CPA exam,” says Klein.

The modules also give local business people opportunities to learn specific skills they use daily. The classes, offered over lunch hour, meet for five weeks each.

Klein had five community members from local businesses take his Excel module.

“It was wonderful for students to hear the questions asked by employees in local businesses and listen to them talk about how they use Excel,” says Klein. These business people, in turn, learned new short cuts and gained greater familiarity with a program they use regularly.

Erica Vonk, the business administration department assistant, taught the Professional Practices module to business students as well as students from other majors.

“Before, there were bits and pieces of information students should know about preparing to be involved in the business world sprinkled throughout several courses. This module allows us to address topics more deliberately,” says Vonk. It also frees up time in other courses for other topics.

Students in Vonk’s course learn such things as how to look for and apply for jobs, do practice interviews, and understand personal and workplace etiquette for business.

In Professor Shirley Folkerts’ QuickBooks module, students learned the basics of using QuickBooks, a computerized accounting software program used by many small business owners to manage their books and create financial reports.  They set up customer and vendor accounts and processed payroll and inventory for a small business, just as they would in a real business. 

“Accounting students may someday have clients who use QuickBooks,” says Folkerts. “Or they may start their own business. It’s a good skill to be able to put on a résumé.”

The modules are being offered for the second time this year.


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