For 25.10.19

  • Data Types
  • CRM
  • Outlining

Data Types

In this lesson, you will learn how to revise your description of data types to emphasize the unique, powerful things that might be done with them AND so you might practice the fine art of REVISION

  • Lists are just great when you are trying not to forget and just want to write things down: you simply add things to the bottom and, later, work your way through the list
  • Stacks are just great when you want to drop things when they fall and retrieve what you’ve just dropped first
  • Revision is just great, because when we revise we explore how we might do things differently and better and learn.
  • Comparisions are just great, because when we compare we use each element to highlight the other

Reflection: Revise one or more of the data types you wrote up for last week and reflect on what happened

  • Using comparative and “before” and “after” phrases, note changes and hopefully improvements
  • You may well have to research the terms, as I note below, before this can happen
  • As revision is difficult (“what? you mean I got it wrong the first time?” and “I don’t know how to see it differently, show me!”), ask others for help, look for interesting sources, be patient, and if you manage only one revision in the limited time you hove, that’s just great for starters

Making Distinctions

Lists work from the top, down. Stacks work from the bottom, up. We use them differently. Why? How so? When I tell you that this is an important, fundamental distinction and that it leads to important principles of information science, I am inviting you to engage in a thought experiment, an exercise for class. This is not about grades, but about learning: be challenged and enjoy the challenge!

  • Some people are magicians and can look at a thing and, somehow out of pure air, see its opposite and variations in-between; I think of musicians doing this.
  • But I think I am wrong about his. I think musicians are trained to listen and respond, and I know of some that open windows to hear birds and base their compositions on how they find themselves responding to what they hear
  • In industrial terms, I think people like you and me work better with prompts, some question or example which challenges us to see things differently, like being presented with the problem of lists/stacks and having the different examples of our classmates and whatever we can find on the web or in books

Learning from each other

For example, many pointed to Roxane’s thoughtful, excellent homework, and together we turned that into a path for discovery.

  • For the first few lessons, I’ll lead you down that path, but already you have seen that the students from my first semester BizInfo class can lead you down that path as well: they ALL did great work, and starting next week there will be one of them at each of your tables to help lead the way
  • The first thing I did was invite you to look for compelling examples among your classmates and I thought it was just great that you choose Roxana’s example as she is new to the class, was not sure of what to do, and did a great job!
  • I then isolated pieces of her puzzle, asked a bunch of questions, and explored how you might to about revising such drafts and thinking about such questions

Reflection: Observe and note each week a couple of instances when you learned something from someone else

As we discussed, rather than present your idea in the expectation of a cookie, it is often far more interesting and fun when you present your learning in social, constructivist terms: that knowledge is something we do with others and doubly meaningful as we associate good communications and cooperation with our learning of an idea

  • Consider how interesting and fun it was to learn that so many of us appreciated how Roxane did her homework, how we learned from it, and how she undoubtedly felt great to have won such respect, and how great it was for us to grant respect for achievement where it was due
  • Rather than calling attention to yourself, call attention to what a classmate has done so that your achievement as wedded to your generosity towards others: that at one and a same time your achievement is not simply about an idea, but about your professional relationships to others as well
  • Describe one or more learning experiences and as you take turns learning from each other, first describing what you learned from others, then mentioning how much fun it was when someone else says you helped them, too
  • Classrooms based on sharing, reciprocity, and mutual respect are, I think you will immediately agree, far more interesting than those based on competition and where there are winners and losers

Making comparisons

We ended up with a comparison

  • “When you write down things to do or buy, then you make a list”
  • “When you add bills or newspapers to a pile, you make a stack”

And our comparison supported Roxane’s formulation

  • “The difference between them is that a list shows a number of items one below the other and in a stack it’s more like a pile of items”

Adding a real-world illustration and making that an action

  • “When you write things down … when you add …” sets up a real-world example and condition and insures that we are talking about actions
  • When you compare definitions of risk, you will see how the Cobuild Reverso dictionary explains things as actions, not just ideas, and offers lots of great, real-world illustrations. Do that (a speech-act view of language)
  • That is, Roxane’s dictionary citation was excellent, necessary, but likely not sufficient, because “typically” is a generalization her dictionary used that gets in the way of applying the idea to our problem in computer science: they say, A list is “a number of connected items or names written or printed consecutively, typically one below the other,” which is an accurate description of what a list looks like, but it does not help us understand when and where to use lists effectively nor lead us to consider better alternatives
  • Purposes matter, and we are doing this to better understand business application systems and IT more generally, so when we look things up we want to keep our eye on the ball (of BizApps)

Reflection: note your defintions “before” and “after” revision

The purpose of revision is to do something better, and since this is challenging work you want to make sure you observe what you have learned so it “sticks” and briefly write it up, not least because then you give yourself some credit, but also to give us something to talk about

Research Questions always integrate concept with application

There is a much larger issue here. We want to solve practical problems, but to do that we have usually to solve some conceptual problem and expand our understanding; once we understand the larger concepts or issues we can get back to real world problem-solving knowing better what we are doing and why. When you

  • With stacks, with newspapers and bills and certain storage problems in IT, it’s not simply easy to to toss things into a pile, and when we want to find something we “dig down,” go back systematically into the past, because unless we shuffle our pile things will be stored in chronological order, but also, in certain circumstances, a far more appropriate way of storing data
  • With shopping lists, the order is not so important as any order we might make will be confounded by the order we will find in the supermarket: our shopping lists are ok short and random, we just check things off as we do them, and for some things in IT, that’s the way to go, too.

Comparisons build on simple definitions

Especially as they invite a shift from ideas to illustrations, from abstractions to real world examples or analogies

  • We saw this in the different ways students tried to explain the difference by using analogies, saying things like: “it’s like …” and then reaching for examples we remember or make up to make ourselves understood.
  • Do that: start with dictionaries, then lift your eyes off the page and imagine where else you’ve seen this or something like this
  • Our problem with BizAppSystems is that they are based on powerful, complex abstractions, that for many of us lie outside our studies or experience; the good news is, that we know many analogous things and by thinking in terms of analogies we build “donkey bridges” to get from here to there
  • Explore this list of comparative words and use them here and in the exercises below


In your homework, use one or more of these comparative terms until you are sure they are becoming part of your active vocabulary and make not of it

Consider the Glossary of Computer Science

Add this powerful source to your collection of dictionary links (in your browser bar or on a “sticky” for easy access and learn how to use it: practice reaching into specialized literatures will help you answer technical questions (even if you are not an IT specialist)

  • When you look up the Glossary’s definition of “Stacks”, you will find a discussion of an abstract data type and that this discussion will quickly become quite abstract, technical, and way, way beyond what we might possibly consider in an introductory course. What you want to do is learn how to read just enough of it to get at the basic idea
  • When you compare the Glossary definition of stacks to that of Reverso (and many other general dictionaries), you will see that Reverso’s general definition of “stack” that does not include the special way computer science uses the term: that putting most frequently used object on top means you can get at them faster
  • That is, computing speeds are dependent on search times, file sizes, computing costs, etc., and if you want to optimize an operation, or make it more efficient, one way is to reduce search times, keep file sizes small, break tables into smaller pieces, etc., like you do in your refrigerator, cupboard, or coat rack when you put the most frequently used things on top (and not, say, in alphabetical order, as we do with telephone books and dictionaries that will be searched in to particular order)
  • : if you don’t need 99% of the Glossary definition, that first 1% is enough to understand the concept
  • Scan just enough of this highly technical discussion to see that your understanding of your pile of newspapers follows the fundamental logic of “last in, first out,” and be sure to add scanning to your list of special methods
  • But this is what BizApps is about, for the professionals and at least in part for us: the science is deep, and in an introductory course we need only go so far as be introduced to it


In this exercise, we’ll also start off with some basic definitions, the stuff of multiple-choice exams, but quickly move on to consider CRM as a research problem — YOUR research problem — and do everything we can to make this study relevant, intereseting, and fun!

Basic Definitions: Learn how dictionaries typically do it

Look up and survey the ERP wikipedia entry and note how they have organized the discussion in a very standard, valuable way that you can use in your own studies and presentations — beginning with a brief historical overview, moving on to a description of characteristics, then functional areas, and components, and finally, with details of implementation and with emphasis, as we heard described eloquently by Manuela in class on Friday, on “Connectivity”.

  • For starters, list and number the first eight sections, then write only one or two sentences for each section and one for each sub-section in section 8 (Implementation)
  • Your goal is not simply to recall definitions, though this is important and you should prepare by reading enough of each to have a basic understanding
  • Your mail goal here is to look at how they present the material, in what order, and so an order that you can memorize and apply forever more

Reflection: what did you learn?

Many of us have been trained to repeat defintions as presented to us by authorities and the make believe we know what we are talking about

  • Offer a definition as you turned it upside-down and figured it out, including, as above, an explanation as you offered to someone else, and so made this definition your own
  • Do something else with it, like look for an illustration, example, analogy, something which checks your understanding, clarifies what it is about, and helps make it memorable
  • If you’d like a template for these Reflections, how about this: a) “at first I thought, but then I realized … (checking); b) “in this second or third source I found that they used the term in a very special, unique say … (clarification); and c) “here’s a drawing I made based on some images I found, which I think gets at what they mean by it and what I understand by it … (memorable)

Survey CRM briefly

Same procedure for CRM wikipedia entry and here, too, note how they have organize the discussion along the same lines, from history to implementation

  • By comparing these two entries you will see, first, that CRM is part of ERP, that CRM and other components are designed to work in parallel and integrated into other components, and finally, that the Wikipedia approach, standard for such things, takes a similar form — from history to implementation
  • When you note how they present such systems, you will have a map to work back from your particular interest into the larger whole and so see how your particular interest might serve as a key to unlocking an understanding of this larger whole

Study CRM as you find it on your PC and in your daily life

The conceit here is that in our academic lives we are all involved in CRM and that the fundamental problems of CRM — finding new partners, taking care of the ones we’ve got, and all to the end of increasing productivity and eventually sales — are the very same as we face along our way

  • We all have a need to meet now colleagues, make contact and further contact, keep track of contact data and other information, evaluate what we are doing, etc.
  • The methods and procedures are basically the same as well, including, looking out for people who might address our needs or be fun to be with, keeping track of names and addresses, planning and scheduling meetings, preparing for and evaluating those meetings, etc.
  • The technologies are basically the same, too, as not only are our pc’s nearly identitical in basic design and operation, but so are our address books, calendars, and project management software with the only basic difference between our PC apps and fully developed CRM and ERP systems being integration, communications, customizations, and scale
  • So that, learn one, you are on your way to learning the other
  • Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll get to know your PC and so increase your own competencies and efficiencies and maybe even do things better

How to CRM for you!

  • Address book setup. Set up an Address Book on your PC, sync to your phone and other devices, and write up briefly what you did to make it work, including your difficulties and what you had to do to make it happen
  • Store and retrieve addresses. Add the names and contact info of 3-5 classmates or friends or business contacts to start and where you choose those you will need to contact in the next week, and write up briefly what you did to make this work across two or more devices
  • Calendar setup. Set up a Calendar on your PC, sync to your phone and other devices, and write up briefly what you did to make it work
  • Store and retrieve appointments. Enter 3-5 appointments, with contact name and info, location time and place, and write up a very brief note on what you hope to achieve in this meeting.
  • Project Management.. Set up a free Trello account on all of your devices and add these CRM projects (and others) with relevant goals, things to do and learn, and write up a very brief note on what happened and what you felt about it

Study CRM on your own terms

Now that you’ve got the basics, make the leap to professional problem-solving on your own terms.

  • Survey discussions of CRM until you find something that might interest you to know more about, explore it, and outline your discoveries as they might serve as the basis for a larger study
  • When you outline your discoveries, use sub-heads asking different kinds of questions (as you will see Nana doing brilliantly in her homework for 18.10.19)
  • Write up a short story about your research and discoveries, and by discoveries I mean both what you found out there and what you learned about your own interests

A note on search strategies

  • As I demonstrated in class, start by outlining how the business of CRM is furthered by Oracle, as they claim, in the US Food Service video (some have done this beautifully, you might consult the homework)
  • Use this list of business aims and CRM components to create search terms and where you click the images tab on your browser to insure that you have something to look at (and not lots of text in technical papers)
  • Start with the screenshots of Customer or Lead information that you see in the US Food Service video and look for detailed discussion of how that is supposed to work, how these databases help drive acquisition of new accounts


It is a pleasure to see that those new to the class have learned how, in the Outline View, to use Headings! For next week, please take a moment to learn the following

Learn how to follow MS Word Support pages (inserting page numbers and headers)

In this exercise, you will learn how to follow the standard support pages for inserting page numbers and headers in MS Word (and then how to follow a specific corporate design and method).

Reflection: how to document and remember less frequently used methods

Learning how to learn complex business application systems in a corporate environment typically involves lots of self-study, detailed note-taking, and adaptations of standard presentations to specific corporate needs. Following directions, improvising, and seeking assistance are essential skills. Write up a brief description of your difficulties and how you overcame them.

Learn how to follow a corporate design and method

In this case, my standard design, tailored to our needs, including consistency of style from page number to header and the very same naming convention as the file name so you can efficiently create and copy headers to the filename and insure consistency and so always know where you are

  • Using our BizApps template, open a new document
  • Click Insert/Page Numbers, select upper-right and every page
  • Now add a header to that humber by selecting the number (click on the box), then click in the box so that your cursor is to the left of the number
  • Here, note that the page number is comes with its own box, because MS Word treats such things as object to which one can attach and change properties for everything in the box
  • With the cursor in the box and to the left of the number, type your filename for this week, following this format: “Firstname, – “ and where there is a space-hyphen-space at the end of it
  • Before you leave this box, select from Firstname to the end of the date only, copy it
  • Then Save As and where you paste “Firstname,” for the new filename and save.

Now for some magic: Create a Table of Contents”

At the beginning of the text where your Table of Contents wants to be,

  • Click on a line to focus on that line, and note that “focus” is an important concept: you can focus on a line space, a box, or any other object as noted above
  • Then, in the drop-down menu, click Insert/Index and then Tables/Table of Contents, and in Show Levels, select “2”, and with OK you’ll be amazed at how MS Word will search for all Headings 1 and Headings 2, as well as their current page numbers, and create a Table of Contents (TOC) based on the current style for TOCs
  • When you have added text and want to update this table, right-click in the TOC area to reveal a box and a context-dependent menu and choose update everything and Presto!