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COT 204
Using Windows
(Windows 8.1)

Revised: January, 2014
Credits: 3
Instructor: Ed Nickel
Office: HTC 133
Phone: 753-2241 (office with voice mail)
E-mail: due to increased spam my email address will be provided the first day of class
Class Web Page:
Textbook: Microsoft Windows 8.1: Step by Step, by Ciprian Adrian Rusen and Joli Ballew, ©2013, ISBN 978-0-7356-8130-9 is available at the college bookstore or click here for some discounters/used book dealers. Please note, this is also available as an ebook if you prefer.


CATALOG DESCRIPTION: COT 204, Using Windows covers the fundamentals necessary to operate the Windows system, how to customize the Windows environment, and how to use the various accessories. (Formerly, COT 204, Introduction to Windows)

You do not need to own a Windows 8 computer for either the online or live versions of this class. A Windows 8 system will be provided for use either in the GBC computer labs or from your home Windows based computer via the GBC remote access computer lab. [If you are in the online version of this class, then in the first lesson you will be shown how to access your virtual lab computer and given the proper codes and passwords to log on from any computer with high speed (DSL or better) Internet access. In addition to high speed Internet access, all you need is a computer with Windows XP or newer, everything else will be provided either by your instructor or via specific downloads.]

Welcome to COT 204, Using Windows, primarily Windows 8 with a some Vista & XP for comparison. This course provides an in-depth introduction to the most widely used personal computer operating system, Windows. We will cover some of the key differences between both the different editions as well as the older versions of Windows as we progress through this class. We will cover many aspects of Windows from the fundamentals of navigating this OS and customizing it to advanced uses of its networking capabilities and multimedia accessories. COT 204 can be used as a substitute for CIT 112 computer AAS program requirements except in the Networking Specialist program. This class has no prerequisites, although it assumes you have some fundamental math and typing skills. You will need additional time each week to do homework assignments and to practice topics covered in class. If you have the current version of Windows, doing your assignments at home is a good way to complete your assignments, however, if you or others use your computer for significant work, please be aware that you will be changing various settings so you should make note of your initial settings prior to making changes so you can put things back when you have completed these exercises. Due to the specialized nature of the lab exercises required for this class if you cannot use your home computer you may use the computers in HTC 139 lab on the Elko campus to do homework, or in the WebCampus version using the remote access lab.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: This class is either taught live using GBC's computer labs or via WebCampus using GBC's remote access lab. You are expected to participate in class discussions, lab exercises, various quizzes, the exams, and other class activities.

I can be reached at the phone number listed above or you can make an appointment to see me during office hours or at other times. Office hours are posted on my office door and on my web site. The schedule of reading assignments, homework, and tests is found below. There will be a short quiz each week on the material covered that week. Additional assignments may be given from time to time in class.

Major Objectives Of This Class

The primary objective for this class is to provide students with a strong working knowledge of the Windows OS in the workstation environment. To this end, since most people have a basic familiarity with Windows, we will quickly move through the essential basics of this operating system and then cover more advanced topics like installation and configuration, multimedia capabilities, and networking both in peer-to-peer as well as client/server environments. The more important topics to be covered in this class include:

  • install, configure, & manage Windows components
  • list the major differences between various editions of Windows
  • setup & use Windows networking and Internet capabilities in home & small business settings
  • demonstrate the capabilities of Media Player, Movie Maker & other multimedia functions
  • define & illustrate the relationships between applications, hardware, & operating systems
  • perform basic Windows diagnostics & troubleshooting
Learning Outcomes
The successful student in this class will be able to:
  1. install & configure software applications on a Windows system
  2. install & configure peripheral devices and their drivers on a Windows system
  3. use the included multimedia functions of Windows, such as Media Player, Movie Maker, etc.;
  4. locate & properly use the most important Windows file structures;
  5. establish basic network connectivity between peer systems & with a server;
  6. implement security systems in the Windows environment;
  7. perform basic Windows diagnostics & maintenance.
Learner Outcome Assessments
Assessment Method Learner Outcomes
Class Discussion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Hands On Exercises 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Exams 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Class Policies & Procedures

GRADING POLICY: This is a letter grade class an A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% or less or W=Official Withdrawal if done before the withdrawal deadline. There is no curve in this grading scale. Your grade will be based 30% on class participation and discussion, 30% on your assignments, and 40% on exam results. All assignments are due by the beginning of the next class.

EXAM & QUIZ PROCEDURES: All exams and quizzes will be objective, e.g. true/false, multiple choice, fill-in the blank, etc, and will be conducted using GBC's web based learning system.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: The instructor must agree in advance to any excused absences unless there are strong extenuating circumstances. Three (3) unexcused absences can result in a failing grade. In on-line sections of this class, an absence is one week when you do not participate in class or contact the instructor.

OTHER POLICIES: The student rights & responsibilities policy stated in the current GBC Catalog apply to this class. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and can result in a failing grade. This syllabus is not a contract and is subject to reasonable changes as the class proceeds.

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Great Basin College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A qualified student must furnish current verification of disability. The Director of Services for Students with Disabilities will assist qualified students with disabilities in securing the appropriate and reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services. For more information or further assistance, please call (775) 753-2271.

Course Schedule

In the live version of this class, you should have read and be prepared to discuss each week's topics by the beginning of class; while in the online version of this class, you should read each week's topics before posting your discussion comments. Topics marked with an asterisks (*) apply to only some editions of Windows which may not be available for hands on experiences.

We will have significant hands on experiences during many lessons. In the online versions of this class, you will be expected to log on to a GBC virtual computer to complete the assigned hands on labs.

In addition, to help the online version of this class, I may create occasional podcasts and RSS feeds (downloadable mp3, video, and text supplements) on topics that lend themselves to online delivery. These will be multimedia explanations and other commentary related to specific lessons to augment various topics. You will be able to download the audio and video files to your computer, in addition the audio files can be used with any mp3 player by adding this URL to iTunes or similar podcast receiving software.

You should have read and be prepared to discuss each week's topics by the beginning of class each week. We will have significant hands on experiences with many lessons.

Topics & readings by week and lesson:
(Please note: this schedule is subject to change based on class progress & other factors)
Week    Chapter(s) Topics
Week 1: Class Introduction & accessing the GBC remote computer lab
Week 2: Chapter 1 Intro to Windows 8
  • The start screen and simple customization, pgs 7-11
  • Charms, pgs 12-15
  • Finding data, files, programs, & settings, pgs 16-18
  • Using the traditional desktop, pgs 19-42
Week 3: Chapters 2-3 More Customizing & Using Apps
  • Personalization, pgs 47-54, 60-67
  • Account Types & Settings, pgs 55-59
  • Various Settings, pgs 68-71
  • Apps for Photos, Music, Maps, & more, pgs 75-103
Week 4: Chapter 4 File & Folder Organization
& Quiz 1 (intro & chapters 1- 3)
  • Files & Folders, pgs 107-123, 131-135
  • Libraries, pgs 124-125, pgs 142-146
  • File Explorer, Ribbon et al, pgs 126-130, 137-141
  • File Sharing, pg 136
  • Win 8's Recycle Bin, pgs 147-148
Week 5: Chapters 5-6 IE & SkyDrive
  • IE 10 the good, the bad, & the ugly, pgs 153-175
  • SkyDrive, giving MS the keys to your kingdom, pgs 179-194
Week 6: Chapters 7-8 Social Apps & the Windows Store
  • the (e)Mail app, pgs 197-206
  • People Apps, pgs 207-215
  • Calendar App, pgs 216-222
  • Messaging & the Camera apps, pgs 223-229
  • the Windows Store to sell you more, pgs 233-247
Week 7: Chapters 9-10 Multimedia & Other Fun
  • WMP, etc, pgs 249-259
  • Media Sharing, pg 260
  • WMC, etc, pgs 261-264
  • Movie Maker on Windows 8, handout
  • Games, pgs 267-269
  • WEI, pgs 270-273
  • Xbox and Windows 8, pgs 274-276
  • Kinect & Windows 8, handout
Week 8: Chapter 12 Additional Users
& Quiz 2 (chapters 4-10)
  • Why More User Accounts, pgs 305-307
  • User Account Management, pgs 308-348
Week 9: Chapters 11 & 13 Networking
  • Network Jargon, pgs 270-280
  • Making Connections, pgs 284-298
  • Network Sharing & Profile, pgs 281-283, 299-301
  • LAN Setup, pgs 351-356
  • Homegroup, pgs 357-372
  • Specific Shares, pgs 373-378
  • Printer Sharing, pgs 379-386
  • the Sharing Wizard, pgs 387-388
Week 10: Chapters 14-15 Computer Security & Safety
  • UAC, pgs 391-397
  • Firewall, pgs 398-403, 411
  • the Allowed List, pgs 404-410
  • Viruses & Other Malware, pgs 412-420
  • Passwords, etc, pgs 421-422
  • MS Updates, pgs 425-430
  • File History, pgs 431-441
  • Restore (does and doesn't), pgs 442-448
  • the Action Center, pgs 449-453
Week 11: Chapters 16-17 Accessibility & Children's Usage
  • Safe Family Usage, pgs 457-484
  • Accessibility, pgs 487-503
  • Speech Recognition, pgs 504-508
Week 12: Chapters 18-19 Win 8 at Work & on Mobile Devices
& Quiz 3 (chapters 11-17)
  • Win 8 Business Functions, pgs 511-532
  • Win 8 Mobility, touch but don't do, pgs 535-550
Week 13: Chapter 20 Performance Tips
  • the 20 Tips, pgs 553-600
Week 14: Chapter 21 & Appendices A-B Troubleshooting & enhancements
  • Troubleshooting, pgs 603-625
  • Shortcuts & more, pgs 629-639
  • Dual-monitor, pg 643
Week 15: Appendices C-D Installing Win 8 & Migrating Data, etc.
  • Win 8 Installation, pgs 649-669
  • Win 8 Upgrade, pgs 670-686
  • Data Transfer to Win 8, pgs 689-696
Week 16:   Quiz 4 (chapters 18-21 & appendices)

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