Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

June 14, 2004

For more information contact: Kimberly Stark at (901) 333-4023


SOUTHWEST’S COMPUTER COURSE OPENS A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES FOR 50 PLUS CROWD


There are people in this world that say, “You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks”. At Southwest Tennessee Community College that isn’t the philosophy, especially at the Computer Resource Center. Senior citizens are welcomed into the world of computers through a special class called Computer Basics for Seniors.

As part of this eight-week course students are taught the very basics of working on the computer. “We teach them how to click and double-click, understand basic elements, word processing programs and how to manage files,” said Sherry Arnold, instructor for the course. ”The eight-week course is a slower-paced class. Students will create files and be introduced to the Internet and e-mail.”

The course was started when Arnold saw the need for a more basic Windows Fundamentals course for older students. “In the Windows Fundamentals course, we were going too fast, and sometimes our older students didn’t have time to grasp all the important information properly,” said Arnold. “We just simply needed a course that went slower so they could actually have fun while they were learning.”

This feeds into the two primary goals for the highly interactive class. The first goal is that students learn and have fun while doing so. This is accomplished by putting each student at a computer and letting them click along with the classroom instructor. “It’s a very hands-on approach to teaching the computer,” said Arnold. The second goal is that when a student is finished with that day’s class, they have a desire to come back the next week and continue to learn. And that’s the way all of the students in the current eight-week session feel. Three of the students in the class are repeat class attendees.

Rose Ervin, 62 years young, said she is taking the class to make sure she has a good basic knowledge of the computer. “When I started in this class, it was all new to me,” said Ervin. “I had never before used a computer. I was totally computer illiterate. Now, I want to know everything and continue to move forward.”

Paul Wyatt, 76, resisted computers for years. “In my former accounting job, I was replaced by a computer so I had no desire to know how to work one when I retired,” said Wyatt. His son, a real “gadget guy”, kept insisting that Wyatt learn the computer. “My son travels a lot. And after 9/11 wanted me to be able to e-mail him so we could constantly stay in touch. My grandson even tried to get me to take up the computer by telling me, ‘Oh Pops, I can teach you.” Since learning to use the computer, Wyatt has plans on learning enough to be able to complete the genealogy of his family.

Most seniors take the class for their own personal enrichment. Helen Crain, who is “in her 70s”, is taking the course to help her advance and become more productive in the workforce. “I work at the unemployment office. I knew nothing about the computer when I started working there,” said Crain. “I’ve learned a lot about it here at the Computer Resource Center and still have a lot to learn.”

The course is taught every eight weeks at Southwest’s Computer Resource Center located at the Agricenter in Building C, room C33. Classes last for two hours one day a week. For more information on classes offered go to www.southwest.tn.edu/crc  or call Arnold at (901) 333-4858.