Teaching a Computer Class

Teaching a computer class for an organization or your community can be very rewarding. Like any other class, your preparation will include defining the topics to be covered, dependent on the focus and scope of the class. This is a guide about teaching a computer class.
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October 29, 2008 Flag
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I'm going to be doing free computer classes for our church. It won't necessarily be for the church people, but for the people in the community we are trying to reach. I feel it will be necessary for some to learn how to use computers since some do not know how and will have to find out how to get a decent job (even receptionists need to know basics about computers).

So here's my question to all of you. If you were going to get taught something about the computer, what would you want to know? For example, how not to get a virus on your PC? How about how to email? If you wanted to learn Word, for example what is it you'd like to know? How to sell on eBay?

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Try to be as specific as possible. I'm asking all of you since I know you all have great ideas and can get me started in the right direction. Thanks everyone!

Misty from OH

October 31, 20080 found this helpful

I take exception to your comment "even receptionists need to know basics about computers". You made it sound like receptionists have no brains! Receptionists nowadays do not just answer the phone, chew gum, and do their nails. We use the computer quite a lot, e-mail, Word, Excel, Power Point, Adobe, etc. I think you need to apologize to all the receptionists in the workforce, but especially those that subscribe to ThriftyFun.

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October 31, 20080 found this helpful

Sorry I didn't sign my name to my post about "dumb receptionists". I am not ashamed of my job. In fact, it's the best one I have ever had and I work for a great bunch of people.

Margaret from Denton, Texas

margarett at juno dot com

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October 31, 20080 found this helpful

I help friends with computers quite often and one of the things they ask is how to download attachments to view, how to save a file and where to save it, (they usually can't find it later because they didn't watch where it was saved to). Another thing is to learn the file system -- the "tree" and how it works or the file drawer with all the folders and then the files inside - many don't seem to comprehend that.

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October 31, 20080 found this helpful

I teach the basics as part of my job. I teach one-on-one because each person is so different in their needs. Some can't even work a mouse, double click, or even type. (It would be helpful to have basic typing practice materials available for them -- perhaps the local library has some CD Roms that can be borrowed, such as Mavis Teaches Typing. Surely there are some websites to visit, as well, which could work into your lessons well.)

So, if you are teaching the basics, you'll have to establish a baseline of skills for each class or your students will be frustrated when they can't keep up or when they feel things are going too slowly. Perhaps having partners at the computer will help -- bringing their own works best -- and having some self-directed learning modules will help with those that are at a different level.

Also, plan for students to have some time to "play around" with the computer to practice the skills they've been taught. Give them the time to click on this and that to see what happens. They need to be able to explore without worried about time pressure or making a mistake. I suggest starting each lesson by letting students orient themselves to the computer again, and a short review of what they know. Then end each lesson with "play around" time. It's that freedom of exploration that will generate the most learning. The brain can't learn well -- or at all, if it is too stressed.

The most common things my students want to know are:

1. How to surf the Internet.

2. How to set up an email account and send and receive messages.

3. How to do simple word processing like saving documents, bold, italics, cut/paste text, centering, bullets, and tables.

Most students are amazed at how simple these things are to do, and they are so relieved and happy when they are shown how to do them. Many have wanted to hug me they are so happy.

NOTE: Check with your library because they may subscribe to the Learning Express Library as an E-library service. There are many interactive online learning courses that are free for people with library cards and they can work at their own pace to learn all sorts of things, including how to use a computer (i.e. surf the net, word processing, etc.).

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November 1, 20080 found this helpful

I consider myself pretty good on a computer, (even using adaptive technology for the visually impaired,) yet I haven't the first clue how to sell on Ebay. Perhaps I'm not the only one.

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November 1, 20080 found this helpful

Margaret

What I meant about the receptionist comment is that it's not only about just answering the phone anymore. They are more involved than in the old days.

Lighten up a little. I have been a receptionist and my job now is even a bit like being a receptionist. I did NOT mean to offend anyone.

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November 1, 20080 found this helpful

To everyone else,

You all have some GREAT ideas. I really enjoy hearing them all. They will help me out a lot.

Just to give you more information, the classes are all free to the community, I won't be getting paid anything to do them. It will be some of my 10% of my time I give to the Lord.

Also, I'm sorry if I did offend anyone with the receptionist remark, because that's not how I meant it (maybe some read more into it than what I wrote?). But I do NOT consider myself better than anyone else. I've been there before (not knowing how to do anything - even work a mouse - on the computer). I'm the first to admit that I do lock myself out of my computer by typing my password too quickly or just plain old forgetting what my darned password is to begin with. I always admit that to those that I deal with on a daily basis. They need to know that IT people are not perfect either. (I'm almost 40 years old - only learning computers over the last 10 years. I'm a little bit behind compared to some!) :)

So thanks for everyone's posts. I really enjoy hearing other people's point of view on what other's would like to learn on the computer. I just wanted to get some "lessons" made ahead of time so I'm prepared.

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November 1, 20080 found this helpful

I have really enjoyed reading the comments individuals have posted for feedback. Gives me an idea of something to do to help others. Thank you so much. Joan from MD

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November 2, 20080 found this helpful

Teach them how to keep their computers clean.

Delete, defrag etc.

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November 2, 20080 found this helpful

I teach classes to students with various disabilities. When first starting, they all ask to learn to use email and the internet.

Most people can manage to teach themselves basic word processing but they tend to need a lot of help with spreadsheets - and they can be terrified of spreadsheets.

If you are teaching a group, run it as a classroom. Don't let selfish students insist on one-to-one help just because they like a lot of attention. Free classes bring out the worst in many people who expect individual tuition without expense. You are very good to volunteer to do this work.

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February 7, 20110 found this helpful
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