Digital Tools for a Class of Problem-Solvers

Long-Time Teacher

Lynnwood Cook spent more than three decades leading companies as a CEO.

“In those positions,” Lynnwood says, “I was always explaining things to my colleagues, I was always helping them organize things.”

“Mainly, I was always teaching,” he says.

That’s why, when he begins a new semester in the College of Business and Economics at Towson University, he addresses his classes this way:

“While I am not a business instructor by avocation, I have been teaching business principles and techniques for over 35 years.”


A large portion of the course trains students in the twists and turns of Microsoft Excel—and they take a certification test after one semester.

“Ultimately,” Lynnwood says, “the skills they learn with Excel teach them how to solve problems in business.”


Life on a Spreadsheet

As a kind of corporate teacher during his time in the private sector, Lynnwood says, he constantly preached how people needed the skills to access and manipulate data in order to understand their business.

And Microsoft Excel was his principle tool.

“Some people say I try to put my whole life on a spreadsheet,” Lynnwood says.

Today, he’s turned that passion into a class in the Towson business school where he teaches e-Business and Technology Management.

A large portion of the course trains students in the twists and turns of Microsoft Excel—and they take a certification test after one semester.

“Ultimately,” Lynnwood says, “the skills they learn with Excel teach them how to solve problems in business.”


Today, rather than book bundles at the bookstore, Lynnwood’s students have access to their course materials online.

“On the first day of class,” Lynnwood says, “we go over how to access those materials—so I know that everyone has the materials they need right away.”


The Online Advantage

Lynnwood started teaching at Towson three years ago.

At the time, students bought book bundles at the school bookstore—but he noticed how many students took their time actually buying the books.

“We move so fast in this class,” Lynnwood says. “It took weeks for some of my students to purchase course materials at the bookstore. The delay caused them to fall way behind on their assignments.”

“Today, rather than book bundles at the bookstore, Lynnwood’s students have access to their course materials online, on day one, through Towson’s Inclusive Access program, Direct Access.”

“On the first day of class,” Lynnwood says, “we go over how to access those materials—so I know that everyone has the materials they need right away.”

In the first three weeks of class, Lynnwood estimates, 90 percent of his students are now doing the work because of online class materials versus around 20 percent who would during the “book bundle years.”

“It makes a huge difference,” Lynnwood says.

He says the online tools are more agile than their hard-bound counterparts, reacting to student needs and world trends in a much faster way.

“The materials are also easy to access, they’re a lot more interactive than a textbook,” Lynnwood says, “and the kids love that part.”