T&O 512 and T&O 513 FAQ Site

T&O: Technology and Operations

Note: in 2012, BIT (Business Information Technology) merged with OMS [Operations and Management Science].
The resulting group is referred to as T&O [Technology and Operations], or as TO.

T&O 512 and T&O 513: "Solving Business Problems Using Excel 2010"

including Microsoft Office Specialist Certification ("Expert-Level") Excel 2010 in 1.5-Credit T&O 512;

and, in 1.5-Credit T&O 513, risk analysis (Monte Carlo simulation on spreadsheets),

decision analysis (probability trees on spreadsheets, with numerical sensitivity analysis),

and linear and nonlinear optimization (with numerical sensitivity analysis),

all based on the use of commercial third-party add-ins for Windows Excel 2010

 

Note: The Ross School of Business will continue to use Office 2010 (not Office 2013)

during academic year 2013/2014.  This means that Excel 2010 will continue to be used

in T&O 512 and T&O 513. Those who have Office 2013 on their computers will be

able to use the Excel 2010 features that continue to be available in Excel 2013.

T&O 512 and 513 make exclusive use of Windows Excel 2010, a component of Microsoft Office 2010.
As detailed below, the course textbooks, exercises, and exams require the use of Windows Excel 2010.
Spreadsheet software other than Excel 2010 (e.g., Excel 2007; Excel 2011 for the Mac;
Google docs spreadsheets) is insufficient for T&O 512/513
because of software differences across various Excel implementations.


If a Mac is Windows-enabled and has Office 2010 installed, the Mac can be used in T&O 512 and T&O 513.
For further details, see "Can We Use a Mac Instead of a PC in T&O 512? In T&O 513?" further below.

 

Site last updated November 27, 2013

 


Links to Topics

 

I Already Know Quite a Bit About Excel. Should I Take T&O 512?

What Are the T&O 513 Pre-requisites and Contents?

What is the Availability of Excel 2010?

Can We Use a Mac Instead of a PC in the Courses?

Are Textbooks Used in the Courses?

Do the T&O 512 and T&O 513 Courses Have Websites?

Is There a Coursepack to Buy?

What is the Structure of Class Meetings?

Is Email Used in the Courses?

Is There Group-work in the Courses?

What About Exams and Course Grades?

What if I Have to Miss a Class?

Who Should Take These Courses?

How Many Students Take These Courses?

If I Took T&O 311 (or BIT 311), Can/Should I Take T&O 512?

Can Industrial Engineering Grad Students Take T&O 512 and/or T&O 513 for Degree Credit?

What is the Temporary "Unit Entry Restriction" on T&O 512 and T&O 513?

How Should Students Ask for an Override?

Which Book Should I Use if I Want to Study Excel on My Own?

How Can We Find Out More?

 


        When Are the Next Course Offerings?

            T&O 512:
            Jan-Feb 2014
            Section 004/452: 6:30-9:30 Mondays (452 is the Section number used by Evening MBA Program students; 004 is used by all others)
            Section 001: 12:40-2:10 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
            Section 002: 2:10-3:40 Tuesdays and Thursdays
            Section 003/451: 6:30-9:30  Tuesdays, (451 is the Section number used by Evening MBA Program students; 003 is used by all others)

            Sep-Oct 2014
            Section 001: 12:40-2:10 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
            Section 002/451: 7:00-10:00 Tuesdays (451 is the Section number used by Evening MBA Program students; 002 is used by all others)

            T&O 513:
           
Mar-Apr 2014
            Section 001: 12:40-2:10 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
            Section 002/451: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays (451 is the Section number used by Evening MBA Program students; 002 is used by all others)

            Nov-Dec 2014
            Section 001/451: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays (451 is the Section number used by Evening MBA Program students; 001 is used by all others)

 

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What Are the T&O 512 Pre-requisites and Contents?

There are no formal pre-requisites for T&O 512, other than graduate student standing. Because most students already know at least the bare-bones elements of  spread-sheeting, however, the course begins with Excel Chapter 4 in the course textbook. (See the book by Parsons et al., described further below.) Note though that everyone must work his/her way through Excel Chapters 1 through 3 on his/her own, and everyone in the course must do a set of three autograded exercises based on Chapters 1 through 3.  The course is fast paced and intensive, making it possible to achieve in-depth coverage of most of the surprisingly rich, powerful and practical features and capabilities of Excel 2010 within a 6-week time frame. Students gain Microsoft Certifiable Application-Specialist knowledge of Excel 2010. This means that, after completing the course and the Appendices in the book, students could take (and presumably pass) the Microsoft Certified Application Specialist Excel 2010 certification exam, at a cost of ~$100. (Appendix E in the book provides certification-exam particulars.)

The Parsons et al. textbook takes a tutorial-based, case-study approach. Each tutorial chapter concludes with exercises based on business cases. The book contains twelve Excel 2010 tutorial chapters (all covered in class, except for the first three chapters as noted above), dealing with such topics as charts and graphing, functions (including financial and time-and-date functions) and formulas; managing records within Excel; Pivot Tables; working with multiple worksheets and workbooks; use of Auditing Tools to troubleshoot spreadsheets and to come to a better understanding of applications built by others; use of Microsoft Query to extract data from Access databases; structured what-iffing and sensitivity analysis with Data Tables, Scenarios, and the Scenario Manager; Goal Seeking; an introduction to linear and nonlinear optimization; the recording of Macros; and the light editing of Macros.

 

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I Already Know Quite a Bit About Excel. Should I take T&O 512?

Here's how you can answer that question: Spend some time browsing the T&O 512 textbook. There is a copy on two-hour Ross Kresge Library reserve. In each of chapters 4 through 11, scan the "Review Assignments" and "Case 3." (You'll find the Review Assignments and Cases at the back of each chapter.) If you can imagine yourself being able to do at least about two thirds of those exercises quite comfortably (and, by extension, if you feel comfortable with about two thirds or more of the concepts in the book and their operational implementation), you are probably overqualified for T&O 512. (You could fill in your "concept gaps" and their operational implementation on your own, without spending the time and tuition money to take T&O 512.) Otherwise, taking T&O 512 is probably in order.

If you judge that you're overqualified for T&O 512, give serious consideration to taking T&O 513. (T&O 512 or equivalent know-how in Excel is a T&O 513 pre-requisite.) A suggestion for self-checking your readiness for T&O 513 (without having taken T&O 512) is given in the second paragraph in the next topic.

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What Are the T&O 513 Pre-requisites and Contents?

T&O 513 has T&O 512 (or equivalent fluency in Excel) as a pre-requisite. T&O 513 takes up the topics of  risk analysis using simulation (Monte Carlo, spreadsheet-based simulation), decision analysis using decision trees (probability trees), and linear and nonlinear optimization. Commercial third-party Excel add-ins are used in the course. (These add-ins include @Risk, PrecisionTree, and Solver which are in the RSB (Ross School of Business) computer network for local and remote use on PC's and Windows-enabled Macs (remote use is accomplished via the use of the Ross "virtual lab software) , and are additionally available in student versions, downloadable from the vendor's website. Students can do the course assignments on their own computer running Excel 2010.)

If you haven't taken T&O 512, a good way to check out your "Excel readiness" for TO 513 is to work with Chapter 2 in the T&O 513 textbook (described elsewhere at this site). This chapter provides a review of Excel. (We don't cover Chapter 2 in T&O 513, but start beyond that point in the book.) If you are comfortable with the Excel tools applied in the examples worked out in Chapter 2 ("Breakeven Analysis at Great Threads"; "Estimating Sensitivity of Demand to Price at Links"; "Ordering with Quantity Discounts at Sam's Bookstores"; "Calculating NPV at Acron"), then you are qualified to take T&O 513 without having formally taken T&O 512.

Application areas for the methodologies studied in T&O 513 include Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, and Operations Management. The textbook contains literally dozens of worked-out examples (models) for such applications, and hundreds of exercises for practice. Typical of the worked-out examples in the book are "Estimating a sales response function," "Determining optimal pricing," "Determining an advertising schedule," "Capital budgeting," "Bidding for a government contract," "Scheduling workers," "Production scheduling," and "Telephone call processing."

 

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What Is the Availability of Excel 2010?

Students who aren't already running Microsoft Office 2010 on their PC's (see the next topic here) or Windows-enabled Macs can buy Microsoft Office 2010 at the UM Computer Showcase (in the basement of the Michigan Union) for $50.

More details are provided at the UM Computer Showcase website. Google for Computer Showcase umich.edu, or go here:

http://showcase.itcs.umich.edu/software.php

Excel 2010 is available for local use in the Ross Computing Network at first-come, first-served walk-up computers in the Ross Kresge Library, and for remote use over the internet using Ross "virtual lab" software. For information about the virtual lab software, go to http://www.bus.umich.edu and search on virtual lab,  or try browsing to:

http://www.bus.umich.edu/MyiMpact/DiscoverIT/TechFeatures/VirtualCompLab.aspx

 

 If there are questions or problems, call Ross Computing Services, 734-615-3000, Option 3.

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Can We Use a Mac Instead of a PC in T&O 512? In T&O 513?

If your Mac is Windows-enabled and has Office 2010 installed, you can use a Mac in T&O 512 and T&O 513. (Note that you can't use the version of Excel written for the Mac, because Mac Excel differs from the PC Excel 2010 on which T&O 512 and 513 are based. For more details, read the rest of this section.) 

There are two approaches for working with a Mac in T&O 512 and T&O 513.

1. Get the VMWare Fusion PC emulator (from the UM Computer Showcase) for the Mac. (You can run the Mac operating system and Windows in parallel with VMWare Fusion, which is considered to be much better than using Boot Camp. (With Boot Camp you can run Windows and the Mac operating system too, but not in parallel. There is also PC emulation software named Parallels, which is like Fusion but costs about twice as much. Between the two, Apple recommends Fusion.) Also get Windows and Microsoft Office 2010 at the Computer Showcase. Install these three pieces of software on the Mac and you're good to go.

2. Use the Mac and the downloadable "virtual lab" software provided by Ross to support remote use of software in the Ross computing network via the Internet. (A high speed Internet connection is recommended.) But you have to proceed carefully. Here's a lightly-edited statement from Ross Computing Services providing further details: 

"The virtual lab software does not directly support Macs.  The client as posted on iMpact is Windows only.  If somebody is running Windows on their Mac via Boot Camp, Parallels, or Fusion, then the client can be downloaded and installed and run under the Windows side of the house."

For information about the virtual lab software, see the preceding topic here.  If there are questions or problems, call Ross Computing Services, 734-615-3000, Option 3.

OK, here are some insights into the extent to which T&O 512 is Windows Excel 2010-centric:

    • The POAC textbook discusses Excel 2010 and displays Excel 2010 screen shots.
      (POAC is the textbook used in T&O 512; see below.)
    • The starting files for assigned POAC  cases are Excel 2010 files.
    • Work submitted to the CTools website is to take the form of Excel 2010 files.
    • The exam is based on Excel 2010.
    • Assigned work started in a version of Excel other than Excel 2010 might have to be finished in Excel 2010 to apply Excel 2010 features not available in the version of Excel in which the work was started.

Students in T&O 512 are welcome to work with alternative versions of Excel to the extent possible, subject to the above conditions, but the smoothest way to proceed is to use Excel 2010 from the get-go.

What about using a Mac in T&O 513? If your Mac is Windows-enabled and you have Excel 2010, or if you are game to use the virtual lab software on your Windows-enabled Mac, no problem. Otherwise, no deal. Palisade Corporation, the vendor of the commercial Excel 2010 @Risk Excel and PrecisionTree add-ins that we use in the T&O 513, does not make versions of those add-ins that run with Mac Excel. (The Mac market evidently isn't big enough to justify that. Note that, broadly speaking, "business" uses Windows-based software, and so you are probably better served in the long run by learning Windows Excel 2010 in T&O 512/513 than by learning variants of it.)

 

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Are Textbooks Used in the Courses? Anything Else?

Yes. In T&O 512 there is one required textbook and a required user-specific Project Access Code used to gain access to SAM (Skills Assessment Method) Excel 2010 Projects. (SAM 2010 Projects is a live-in-the-application project-based homework and assessment product providing one Project for each chapter in the T&O 512 textbook. The Project Access Code is used use to create a user-specific account at the SAM 2010 Excel site.)

The T&O 512 textbook is Excel 2010 New Perspectives Comprehensive, by Parsons, Oja, Ageloff, and Carey, ISBN-13: 978-0-538-74291-7. (The authors have written more than one Excel  book, so be careful to buy the right book. Let the ISBN number be your guide.) The book can be inspected in the Ross Kresge or Ross Southfield library, where it is on two-hour reserve.

The textbook and "Printed Access Card" are most economically bought in a bundle and has the bundle ISBN number: ISBN-13: 978-1-133-16365-7. The bundle is available for T&O 512 in Ann Arbor textbook stores (Barnes and Noble in the basement of the Michigan Union; and Ulrich's, just north of the point where East University dead-ends into South University). If buying locally, phone ahead to be certain the store of choice has the bundle in stock.

The publisher also sells the bundle online. Those interested should browse to: http://www.cengagebrain.com/isbn/9781133163657

 T&O 512 textbook and software particulars are provided on page 3 in the T&O 512 syllabus,
which is in Resource 01 at the T&O 512 CTools website (see the next FAQ topic), and/or can be requested from schriber@umich.edu


The T&O 513 textbook is Practical Management Science, 4th Edition, by Winston and Albright, copyright 2012, ISBN-13: 978-1-111-53131-7. All of T&O 513 is based on the book. The 4th edition addresses the Excel 2010 versions of @Risk (risk analysis) and PrecisionTree (decision analysis), which are commercial Excel add-ins, and on Excel 2010’s Solver (optimization). Attempts to make do with earlier editions of PMS should be avoided for your own sanity. There are six options (below) for having access to the book. Base any online searches on the book’s ISBN number.

(1) Buy a new print copy of the book. It can be purchased locally or at cengagebrain.com.

(2) Buy a used copy of the book at an Ann Arbor textbook store (or possibly at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com or elsewhere).

(3) Buy 6-month use of the eBook at cengagebrain.com.

(4) Buy 6-month use of the five T&O 513-relevant eChapters (chapters 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10 from cengagebrain.com.  

(5) Rely exclusively on a reserve copy of the book. This is to be discouraged. Taking the time to get to the Kresge or Southfield library and then possibly
having to wait to use the book would be quite an inefficient use of time.

(6) Rent a print copy of the book (such as at Amazon.com)

 

 T&O 513 Textbook and software particulars are provided on page 4 in the T&O 513 syllabus,
which is in Resource 01 at the T&O 513 CTools website (see the next FAQ topic), and/or can be requested from schriber@umich.edu
 

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Do the T&O 512 and T&O 513 Courses Have Websites?

Yes, each of the courses has a University of Michigan CTools website. You must be registered at these sites to access them. After authorization (provided automatically for those registered in the course, or otherwise requested of schriber@umich.edu), to reach these sites you should browse to CTools.umich.edu and log in using your UM uniqname and password. Then click on the relevant T&O 512 or T&O 513 tab in the row of tabs at the top of the screen.

In general, students can go to the CTools gateway portal:

 https://ctools.umich.edu/portal

and from there can navigate to the published CTools website for each course for which they are registered.

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Is There a Coursepack to Buy?

No; there is no coursepack to buy in either T&O 512 or T&O 513. The objective in each course is that "nothing touches paper"  Except for lectures and office hours, all communication from instructor to students, and from students to instructor, is electronic. (There is one exception to "nothing touches paper": a print copy of the syllabus is given out at the first class meeting in each course, as a matter of convenience for the students. The syllabus is also available at the corresponding course website.)

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What is the Structure of Class Meetings?

The course day section or sections meet for 75 minutes twice a week. The evening section meets once a week for 165 minutes (75 minutes;15-minute break; 75 more minutes). Meetings take the form of a Lecture/Demonstration based on projecting and manipulating live-in-the-application spreadsheets onto a large screen at the front of the room. The starting-point lecture files (that are built in Excel) are made available to students at the course website prior to class, so that interested students can easily "follow along" on their own laptops if that's their preferred learning style. Assigned casework and modeling is then completed on the student's own time.

Class meetings are designed to provide an effective learning experience in each of three dimensions: visual (thanks to computer-screen projections of live-in-the-application Excel worksheets); audio (thanks to discussion of the projected material); and tactile (thanks to students optionally "following along" on their laptop as the instructor manipulates the projected starting-point worksheets to further develop them). Consistent class attendance saves time in the long run and, when reinforced by completing assigned exercises, pays dividends in the form of an in-depth conceptual and operational takeaway from the course(s). 

 

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Is Email Used in the Courses?

Yes,  when circumstances call for it, Email/Announcements are sent via the course CTools website. Email/Announcements are important means of communication, especially for courses that only meet once or twice a week. These Email/Announcements are not only sent as email, but are retained at the course website for later optional review. As a result, students do not have to save or manage Email/Announcements on their own computer.

Students also sometimes use email to ask for help outside of class. For example, if a student is having difficulty completing an assigned exercise, the student has the option of sending the work-in-progress file to schriber@umich.edu as an email attachment, describing in the body of the email the difficulty being experienced and requesting that the work in progress be reviewed and suggestions be given for resolving the difficulty.

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Is There Groupwork in the Courses?

There is no formal groupwork in T&O 512 or T&O 513. Each student is expected to take full responsibility for his/her own work and submit the result of that work under his/her own name to the website (the SAM site in some cases, and the CTools site in other cases. ). However, it is OK for a student to get help from other students and/or the instructor when working his/her way through an exercise. For example, suppose a student reaches a point in a case in which it isn't clear to the student what the next step is to be, and/or how to go about accomplishing that next step. Then it's perfectly fine for the student to consult with one or more other students in that regard in an attempt to overcome the obstacle, and/or to ask the instructor about the problem, whichever is more convenient. (The most time-efficient way to ask questions of the instructor is usually by sending email to schriber@umich.edu, describing the situation and attaching the work-in-progress workbook to the email.)

For the sake of camaraderie and efficiency, some students might also occasionally get together while each works his/her way through a case, talking about various aspects of the case as they proceed. That's fine, and can enhance the learning experience, but each student must still take full responsibility for his/her own work and individually submit the result of that work under his/her own name to the relevant website.

 

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What About Exams and Course Grades?

T&O 512 and 513 each conclude with a demanding exam (typically accounting for 40% of the course grade). The exams are hands-on (that is, they are written on a computer and involve tightly timed use of the course software).

The exams are optional for those who have done the assigned homework in substantially correct fashion (as described quantitatively in the syllabus) and are satisfied to take a course grade of "Pass." (This option is referred to in the syllabus as the "AutoPass.") Those trying for an "Excellent" (up to the top 35% of the class) or "Good" (up to the next circa 40% of the class) must write the concluding exam.

 

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What if I Have to Miss a Class?

Ample resources are provided in T&O 512 and T&O 513 for students to make up for a missed class through their own independent efforts.  Such students can take advantage of (1) the course textbook,  (2) the detailed game plan spelled out in the course syllabus, (3) the availability of electronic materials at the CTools websites, (4) the fact that all assignments are submitted to relevant websites, (5) the online starting-point lecture workbooks, and (6) the video-recorded Lecture/Demonstrations (for which links are posted at the CTools website).

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Who Should Take These Courses?

UM MBA students who are not familiar in depth with Excel and are not yet able to use Excel comfortably and almost instinctively in formal or informal professional contexts to organize, store, manipulate, analyze and display numerical and/or textual information should give high priority to taking T&O 512 at a minimum, preferably as MBA I's in anticipation of their MAP project and summer internship. Other University of Michigan graduate students for whom spreadsheeting can be a practical tool and who are not yet completely fluent in spreadsheeting can also consider taking the course(s). (But see the "Unit Entry Restriction" further below.)

 

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How Many Students Take These Courses?

It is estimated that about 65-70% of the students in the MBA program have taken T&O 512 by the time they graduate, and that about 40-45% have taken T&O 513 by that time. MBA II's taking T&O 512 have said, "If only I had been able to use Excel like this during my MAP project and/or during my summer internship, and/or in other courses during my first year in the program." Evening MBA Program students have said while taking T&O 512, "I'm already using this material in my day-by-day work life. This is probably the most immediately-usable course I've taken in the MBA program."

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If I Took BBA Course T&O 311 (or BIT 311), Can/Should I Take T&O 512?

No! If you took T&O 311 (or BIT 311) as a UM undergrad, then you have, in effect, already taken T&O 512, and cannot get credit for taking it again. ( T&O 311 is a 3-credit BBA course which, during the first half of the course, covers the same material as T&O 512.)

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Can IOE Grad Students Take T&O 512 and/or T&O 513 for Degree Credit?

The IOE (Industrial and Operations Engineering) Department maintains a list of "forbidden" non-IOE courses for which IOE graduate students do not receive credit toward their graduate IOE degree (presumably because the course content is available in one form or another within the IOE department). T&O 512 and T&O 513 are each on this "forbidden" list. IOE graduate students are welcome to take the courses for credit on their transcript, but should be aware that the credit will not count toward their IOE degree. For more information about IOE "forbidden" courses, go to this site:

 

http://ioe.engin.umich.edu/degrees/grad/gpai_docs/MSE_prog_req_forbid_courses.pdf

 

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What is the Temporary "Unit Entry Restriction" on T&O 512 and T&O 513?

When course registration first opens, only Ross and Ross-affiliated (dual degree) students can register at Wolverine Access for Ross courses. Later (about two weeks or so after registration first opens), any UM graduate student can register for the courses (conditioned on the courses not yet being full) or add his or her name to a waitlist.

In any event, students not yet registered are welcome to come to the opening class, even if Wolverine Access says there is no space available in the course. It is often possible to sign overrides in such cases for various reasons. Every effort is made to accommodate all students who want to take the courses.

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How Should Students Request an Override?

If students try to register for T&O 512 or T&O 513 at Wolverine Access and the course is full, they can use Wolverine Access to have their name  put on a waiting list. The instructor monitors the waiting list and if space becomes available in the course, sends email (top-down) to potentially-affected waitlisted students, describing the steps to follow if they still want to register.

 

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Which Book Should I Use if I Want to Study Excel on My Own?

If you have some time to devote to the study of Excel (such as in the summer preceding your first or second year in the MBA program), it is strongly recommended that you study from the Parsons, Oja, et al. book that is used in T&O 512. See the textbook details described earlier at this FAQ site.

Note that the T&O 512 course starts with Chapter 4 (graphical display of information) in the Parsons, Oja, et al. book, assuming prior knowledge of the material in the first three chapters. You can fruitfully study as much material from this book as possible. The more features of Excel you learn now, the less time you'll have to spend if and when you take the T&O 512 course.

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How Can We Find Out More?

Browse through the books used in T&O 512 and T&O 513. Several copies of these books are available on two-hour reserve at the Ross Kresge Library.

Simply come to the opening  T&O 512 and/or T&O 513 class meeting (whether or not you're registered for the course) and listen to the introduction, discussion of course content and structure, and the detailed presentation/discussion of the Week 1 material (time and data functions; graphical display of information).

Additional questions? You can ask them of the T&O 512/ T&O 513 instructor, Prof. Thomas J. Schriber, via email: schriber@umich.edu

 

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