About Mike Splane


 I was a bad student as a teenager. I had a C average in high school and did even worse in college. I dropped out after my freshman year. I gave up on myself; I thought I couldn’t learn college level material. I was wrong… the real problem was I just didn’t know how to study.


     After leaving college I worked at a lot of different dead-end jobs. I finally found something I liked, and was good at, hotel accounting. I started out as a night auditor and eventually got promoted into the accounting department. I worked for a good boss who moved me around, giving me a chance to learn how to do all of the accounting tasks. It took twelve years of paying my dues, but eventually I reached my goal and became a hotel controller. I worked as a controller for fourteen years but after a few years I felt something was missing. My love for accounting faded and I wanted more out of life, so I decided to go back to school.


      Being an older student helped me. I was disciplined and worked hard to get good grades. I really enjoyed my school years and made some good friends along the way.  It took eight years, working fulltime and going to school in the evenings, but I finally earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business from San Jose State University in 2001.


     A few months after I graduated I went to a chess tournament in Palo Alto. One of my former instructors was there; his son was playing in the tournament. We struck up a conversation. After talking to me for ten or fifteen minutes, he asked me to come back to the college and teach a course in Computer Applications. I had just been in a job interview and didn’t even know it! Then he added they would also pay my way through grad school! I couldn’t believe my ears! I got very excited and immediately said yes. I have been working at San Jose State ever since. And I took advantage of the generous opportunity to earn an MBA, which I completed in 2004.


      Before I said yes I did ask one question, “Will I be allowed to revise the course?” When I took the class we learned a lot of jargon but not many practical skills, I thought it could be a better class. I was quite happy when he said yes.


     Even in my first semester I was creating my own material, trying to create fun and relevant assignments that would be useful both in school and after graduation. Some of my ideas didn’t work, but most did. Eventually I had a lot of stuff that worked. One day a representative from the textbook publisher, Kendall Hunt, was in my office. He said he could publish my material on Office 2003 as a textbook. He reassured me they could keep the price low so I agreed to his proposal. The book, “Business Productivity Tools” was published in 2006. When Office 2007 was introduced I rewrote the textbook. By 2012 the textbook had become too expensive, the publisher raised the price, so when we switched to teaching Office 2010 I put all of the material online where you can download it for free. Links are in the syllabus and on the course webpage.


     Have I always wanted to teach? No. I developed a love of teaching as an older student. I was excited and thrilled when I finally got my chance. I can truly say that my love of teaching and excitement about my job has never worn off.


     I hope you enjoy this class. I’m looking forward to working with you and getting to know you.