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Board 39: Building Spreadsheet Skills Using an Interactive Textbook

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Chemical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Matthew W. Liberatore University of Toledo Orcid 16x16

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Matthew W. Liberatore is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Toledo. He earned a B.S. degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, all in chemical engineering. His current research involves the rheology of complex fluids as well as active learning, reverse engineering online videos, and interactive textbooks.

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Katherine Roach University of Toledo

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Katherine M. Roach is a third year chemical engineering student at the University of Toledo.

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Performing an Internet search on the term “spreadsheet training” returns over 40,000,000 results. However, most of these training websites include static content or videos demonstrating how to use a certain version of a specific spreadsheet program, usually Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or Apple Numbers. Here, a new interactive textbook from zyBooks provides a technology to actively learn how to create and program a spreadsheet. Since many formulas, functions, and features of spreadsheets are common across platforms and versions, spreadsheet concepts can be presented, interacted with inside the interactive textbook, and generally applied in the learner’s preferred spreadsheet program. Topics include formulas, functions, charts, trendlines, solver, error, statistics, interpolation, and more. Generally, animations and question sets replace blocks of text used in many textbooks and website. All of the interactions are recorded, and learners are awarded participation and homework grades. Over 100 auto-graded homework problems with randomized numbers and content are being used by students during Spring 2018. Initial findings compiling over 20,000 student interactions include a high reading rate (90%) and success on auto-graded homework problems (87%) encompassing 8 sections and over 50 problems.

Liberatore, M. W., & Roach, K. (2018, June), Board 39: Building Spreadsheet Skills Using an Interactive Textbook Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30022

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