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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Suggest Computing 101 topics?

    Starting to teach a class in computer basis at our local senior center stating next week. Have some idea of the class lessons, but could use some suggestions.

    The students will probably be from beginners to moderate knowledge, so will adjust accordingly.

    Would like a top ten (or so) list of things they should do with their computers to make their experience better.

    Such as: Update your software regularly, setup restore point, backup, defrag, virus protection,etc. (should be low cost or freeware if possible).

    Any other ideas would be helpful.

    Thanks in advance,
    Richard Spring

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Hold your cursor on a link and see where it says you will go, before actually clicking on the link.

    Don't open attachments unless you are sure about them.

    Don't run any Facebook apps if you value your privacy.

    Turn GPS off when you take pictures, unless you want it on.

    Have at least three separate passwords:
    1. for your non-secure, non-confidential stuff
    2. for your moderately secure stuff (email accounts)
    3. for your highly secure stuff (your on line bank accounts)

    Be privacy-conscious; be aware that everywhere you go, everything you do, people are trying to harvest your information.

  3. #3
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    Thank you.
    Will add your wisdom to my class lessons.
    Richard Spring

  4. #4
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    Regarding passwords, better yet use a password manager. There are many available for free, and they work on PCs, phones, etc. (I don not know any of my passwords other than what I need to log onto my computer. I have no idea what my banking password is. But I know the password to my password manager database, and once it is open I can access my banking password.)

    When a web site asks for personal information to verify who you are (Dad's middle name, Mom's maiden name, etc.) use gibberish and store the gibberish in the password manager. This way people cannot use publicly available information to pretend to be you. (As an example, I recently updated my banks security information. When they asked these kinds of questions, I picked a character from the book I am reading and answered based on that characters information. So even if someone knows my mother's maiden name, it will do them no good to impersonate me with my bank because that's not what I entered into the banks questionaire. Of course it means that when I go to the bank and they ask me those questions, I have to have the info available on the phone because I don't know it off-hand, and for every site I use a different set of data.)

    Backup regularly- mainly your data at least daily or weekly. Basic idea: have at least two copies of all of your data, at least one of them not on your PC (e.g. on an external hard drive, USB key, or cloud storage).

    Use Firefox with ad-aware and no-script, or Chrome with ad-aware and scriptsafe, instead of IE. Selectively allow scripts. (It is usually scripts that introduce virii into your PC, and no-script and scriptsafe will prevent them; but there is a bonus in that many web pages will magically load 10 times faster because you don't have to wait for adds and unnecessary scripts to load) [yes, this is an advanced topic but even my wife who is a non-geek runs firefox with this addons; before switching her to that setup I had to wipe and reinstall her os at least twice a year due to viruses. but she has used her PC for 2 years with no virus attacks]

    Let Windows install recommended patches/updates. Use software such as Secunia PSI to keep other software up-to-date.

    Install anti-virus software. Windows Vista an later will tell you if your anti-virus is out of date, make sure it is up-to-date. Let it do its monthly scan even if you have to let your PC run all night.

    Three key points: organization, organization, organization! Learn the Windows folder structure and how to navigate it. Then decide how you will organize your files. And stick to it. It's much easier to find files if you keep things organized. If you just place files here and there you'll have a hard time finding anything. Don't rely just on search to find things.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    All/any computer classes should offer the basics on:

    Safe practices
    Maintenance
    software installation & uninstallation
    Specialty/specific software usages
    Efficient OS usability & personal configurations
    Hardware
    Backup

    Organization and backup should be stressed just as much as safe practice and maintenance.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2014-03-01 at 10:03.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  6. #6
    Silver Lounger t8ntlikly's Avatar
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    RS,
    I am involved with a similar group here in our residential community, and is teaching people Windows 8.1 The woman that is heading up the class has put together a great class schedule all based on Andy Rathbone's Windows 8.1 for Dummies...... We are only covering 3 or 4 chapters a night. Something you might consider.
    Thanks John
    Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at. (Murphy's War Laws #39)

  7. #7
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    Do not ever click on a link in an email you just received, especially one claiming to be from your bank.
    If you want to go to a site from a link in email, copy the link and paste it into Notepad and check it really is taking you to the web site it claims. If all is well you can paste it into your browser.
    Use a critical approach to your web use - would you do it if a bloke in the pub said it was a good idea?

    cheers, Paul

  8. #8
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    I knew the group would come up with a ton of GREAT ideas. This forum is the greatest tool in my belt. Just now putting together a list of programs suggestions. GREAT, GREAT.

    Thank you all,
    Richard Spring

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Computing 101

    Richard, Good on you for your service. I too teach PCs at our local senior center. We have a web site computers4seniors.org with a list of courses and a run down (syllabus) of the course contents. Another great site to get ideas from is gcflearnfree.com
    Good luck and thanks again.
    Bill

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    Have at least three separate passwords:
    1. for your non-secure, non-confidential stuff
    2. for your moderately secure stuff (email accounts)
    3. for your highly secure stuff (your on line bank accounts)
    Password managers are good, and if you can get people to use them, great. But a lot of people just will not - it's too much trouble for them. Particularly if you are teaching people that may be using mostly public access computers, not their own. So the above advice is a good second best, except for one thing. Your email accounts should be rated as top level, and you should never use that password anywhere else. If anybody can get into your email account, they have the keys to get most everything else, through asking for password resends.

    Getting away from security for a while, a few other things to look at (some of these may not apply, depending who you get)
    - find out what types of computers they are going to use. You'll need to adjust some of your instruction if they are using Macs V windows, or public access computers.
    - Make sure they have the basics down - single vs double-click, left v right and why you'd use each, what the Alt, Ctrl and Windows keys are, What Ctrl+C means (Press both buttons at once, not that it copies, though you can cover keyboard shortcuts as well if you want)
    - cover the right click context menus, and make sure they understand that what is there changes depending on what you're doing
    - the difference between save and save as
    - folder (directory) structures and navigating them.
    - What file extensions are, and why they are important. (And I'd suggest they unhide file extensions) Make sure that they know why not to trust stuff called "enticing phrase.doc.exe"
    - Why some files are blocked or read-only by default (they came from an untrusted zone or a CD, for example), and how to change this.
    - basic file management - the different views you have (detailed, icons, the difference in image and music folders etc), sorting by columns, renaming and copying files
    - searching for files
    - make sure they understand what file formats are - for example mp3, wma & m4a files are all music, why don't they all work on my (insert device here)
    - some medium level search engine techniques (Search for this but NOT that, search on a particular site, etc)
    - downloading, installing, uninstalling an application

    You may think some of the above are intuitive, but if you have beginners, they may not be. I once helped a university professor who only knew one way to create a new document - right click on the desktop, click New\Word document. He had no idea of folders. He had hundreds of word documents piled up on his desktop, and would spend minutes pulling them around looking for the one he wanted.

    Depending on how things go, you may have time to teach some easy applications - you can use this to reinforce some of the other lessons.

    Finally, I'd ask them early on if there's anything they really want to learn how to do. Make sure they understand that you may not be able to cover everything that's asked for, specially if it is outside the class description, but it never hurts to understand what they want out of a class

    DF

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    Oh, and one more thing - teach them to beware about extras coming with downloaded software. Toolbars, browser addons, etc. You might even want to download something that has something to turn off on install, as an example

  12. #12
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    And don't for get to hand out a good list of Acronyms, on white paper in large black print.
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

  13. #13
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    Knowing the difference between "save" and "save as" is huge.

    I have been using PC's since 1984 and still occasionally hit "save" when I really meant "save as."

    I taught computer classes at the local community college part-time from 1985 through 2003. The most enjoyable class, though, was an Emeritus class during a summer semester where I taught the basics of HTML. Those older students (about my age and above) were really interested in the subject.

  14. #14
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    Well had my first class yesterday and will have my next one tomorrow.
    Each class is 1 1/2 hours long and I had prepared three sheets of
    1. Computer 101 - Internet, Browser, Search Engine basics.
    2. Computer 102 - Suggested programs for security, entertainment, and education.
    3. Computer 103 - List of Do and Don't items.

    Will be adding more of the above suggestions to make it more informative.

    Thank all for the suggestions.
    Richard Spring

  15. #15
    3 Star Lounger
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    Finding out that the students want more hands-on computer type class.
    Problem is their knowledge base ranges from don't know how to use a mouse to fairly good surfing skills.

    Anyone know of sites that offer training (i.e. - basic mouse usage to how to surf the web). Would need to setup each individual student doing his own training dependent on their skill level. Then monitor each ones progress.

    Thanks,
    Richard Spring

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