It's a PDA World: BYU e-Business School Goes Paperless

A pilot program at Brigham Young University's e-Business Center is supporting a paperless environment. The pilot kicked off this summer with one class testing the concept; the school hopes to expand the program this fall.

Students use a PDA (Palm Pilot, for example) and laptop at their tools, and submit or retrieve class work totally over the Internet. BYU partnered with NetDocuments to begin the service.

Online file folders and digital signature technology help ensure confidentiality and a similar method as if papers and tests were graded manually. The system is browser-based, enabling students and faculty to obtain access to the system from remote locations.

In an unrelated story, five accounting students from BYU's Marriott School of Business placed second in a national competition sponsored by Deloitte & Touche that challenged the students on audit matters.

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Excel spreadsheets are often akin to the American Wild West, where users can input anything they want into any worksheet cell. Excel's Data Validation feature allows you to restrict user inputs to selected choices, but there are many nuances to the feature that often trip users up.