Course Descriptions

Computers for the Total Beginner (Computer 1)

This is the class for the student with no or very little experience with computers. It is the first in our Computer series of four (4) classes. It begins at the beginning. The course starts with examining the different parts of a computer, what part they play in a computer and how they connect together. Then the class introduces the two ways you “talk” to the computer: keyboard and mouse. A good bit of time will be spent on mastering the mouse, as this tool is fundamental to using your computer. Next we explore the “Windows 7/10 style desktop” and how to navigate around it. We will learn about “windows” and how to manage them. We will cover how to customize your computer to make it “work for you”. We end up looking at a few of the basic programs included with your computer and what computers can do for you. This class will prepare you for all the more advanced classes that are offered.

Everyday Computer Basics using Windows (Computer 2)

This class (using Windows 7 or 10) is the second of our four computer class series. It’s the class that we require you take, or have taken, before you can take any of the other computer classes we offer. After a quick review of what was learned in the first class and answering any questions; we move on to answer the question, “What are the things we do everyday with a computer?and How do I make the computer work for me and not me working for the computer? Course content may include:

  • Mastering the “START MENU” and customizing it to work for you, dealing with updates on your computer, accessing/using external drives that are connected to the computer, and the Windows file system (where do files go and how do I find files) and how to organize your file system to work for you and not you working for the computer.

Beyond the Basics: What Comes Next? (Computer 3)

This class (using Windows 7 or 10) is the third of our four computer class series. It picks up where the “Everyday” class left off. After answering any questions from the previous class; we move on to answer the question, “What comes next?”. Completion of the “Everyday Computer Basics” course is recommended to take this class (or being able to demonstrate to the teacher that you have the necessary basic skills). Course content may include:

  • More customizing of your computer (including the desktop and notification center) to work easier, understanding default programs and choosing to use alternatives to them, the different file types and what opens them, installing and removing programs, and keeping your computer running “clean” and “protected”, and the use of the programs called “Skype”, and “Teamviewer” for some actual live technology support.

End of the Line, What’s Left? (Computer 4)

This class (using Windows 7 or 10) is the fourth and final class of our four computer class series. It’s offered to only those that have completed the “Beyond the Basics” class (a must). This class is more of a seminar with covering some “left over” topics, but more of a student driven class with their concerns and questions. Course content may include:

  • Transferring files (including pictures) to and from your computer, burning files to a CD or DVD, understanding Administrative users vs. Standard users, alternative hard drive configurations to protect your data, backing up your files/computer for protection, and other topics suggested by students.

Navigating/Mastering the Internet: Surfing Securely and Safely

The Internet is a global data communications system. It is a hardware and software infrastructure consisting of millions of private and public, academic, business, and government computer networks of local to global scope. Completion of the “Everyday Computer Basics” course is recommended in order to take this class (or teacher approval). Course content may include:

  • How to choose an ISP and what the difference is between dial-up, DSL, and cable connections. The different browsers available for you to use and how they are the same and maybe different. How to find things on the Internet (search). How to protect your computer by using anti-virus, anti-spyware, and adware detection software. Hands-on exploration of different types of websites—information, online purchases, travel, news, online banking, and online gaming. Help with pop-up ad blockers, .pdf files, and search engines. Creating bookmarks/favorites and organizing them for future access.

Communicating with E-Mail

Electronic mail (e-mail) is a store-and-forward method of writing, sending, receiving and saving messages over electronic communication systems. Completion of the “Beyond the Basics” course is recommended in order to take this class (or teacher approval). Course content may include:

  • How to setup a “web based” email account. Gmail is used in the class as an example. We use this service in our classroom setting, but everything taught will apply to any e-mail program that you use. Sending, receiving and saving messages and attachments, including photographs, will be covered. Inputting contacts and making changes in your address book, and when to use groups. We will also discuss the problems of SPAM and viruses.

Word Processing

If you want to explore the fundamentals of working with word processing, this class is the class for you. A word processing program is used to create documents, tables, envelopes, labels, newsletters, brochures, charts, graphs, and more (things that you would create using text). We will be using the free program called LibreOffice-Writer to teach the concepts of word processing. Completion of the “Beyond the Basics” course is recommended in order to take this class (or teacher approval). Areas explored may include:

  • Creating, naming, and saving a new document. File extensions. Formatting and editing. Advanced formatting (including margins, spacing, and moving text). Inserting fields, tables, and hyperlinks. Managing graphics (getting graphics and inserting them into the document, along with making adjustments to them).

Spreadsheets

If you want to explore the fundamentals of working with spreadsheets, this class is for you. A spreadsheet program is used to organize data, primarily numerical, and for calculations. It is commonly used for budgets, financial data, statistics, forecasting, etc. We will be using the free program called LibreOffice-Calc to teach the concepts of spreadsheets. Completion of the “Beyond the Basics” course is recommended in order to take this class (or teacher approval). Topics covered may include:

  • Creating, naming, and saving a new spreadsheet. Entering and editing data. Formatting text and numbers and cells. Formulas and calculations. Using the formula wizard. Sort entries. Create charts (graphs). Set up printing.

Everyday Computing with Linux

This course is for a student that has computer experience and would like to investigate an alternative, free, and more secure, operating system called Linux. This course will help you migrate from your Windows environment into the Linux environment. You will use programs for your everyday Linux activities just like you might be using in Windows 7 or 10. Programs such as: a file explorer, an Internet browser, word processor, e-mail, calculator, add/remove programs, games, audio/video, customize your desktop settings, burning CD/DVDs, and much more. The class will also take a look and examine a number of different desktop environments (vs. a single environment with Windows) to help you find one that fits your work flow. As part of the course you will receive a free “LiveCD” of Linux so that you can experience it at home without having to modify your computer.

Taking “Command” of Linux

This course is for a student that has prior computer experience (required) and would like to investigate an alternative, free, more secure, operating system: Linux. The version of Linux that we use is called “Ubuntu”. In this more intermediate course you will experience the more powerful options that you have with Linux vs. Windows including the use of the command line. As part of the course you will receive a free “LiveCD” of Ubuntu so that you can experience it at home without having to modify your computer.

Basic Low Voltage Electricity

Students will learn the basics of electricity by connecting lights, batteries, switches etc. together. You will learn what words like watts, amps, volts, resistor mean to you. When completed you will be able to connect, light and dim an LED! A great class for someone that wants to do it themselves. We suggest following up this class with the Electronic Components class.

Basic Electronic Components

Transistors, capacitors, diodes…Students can begin to understand how simple electronic devices work after this class. The average person will be able to understand our simple examples. We recommend (gentle require) that students take the Low Voltage Electricity class before taking this class so things make more sense.

NOTE: Not all classes are offered every session. It depends on availability of teachers and their schedules.