From Windows to Facebook, classes solve seniors' computer conundrums

Monte Ferrell learns how to put a signature on an email March 9 at the Federal Way Senior Center. - Andy Hobbs/The Mirror
Monte Ferrell learns how to put a signature on an email March 9 at the Federal Way Senior Center.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

When someone finishes a computer class at the Federal Way Senior Center, instructor Larry Malcolm hopes to see a smile and hear the words “I can now use my computer.”

Federal Way resident Carole DeLong recently bought a computer with the Windows 7 operating system. She signed up for a session at the senior center to familiarize herself with the basics of sending email and attaching documents.

“There’s a lot of little things that I had no idea what they did,” DeLong said of her new PC during a session March 9. She also signed up for classes on Microsoft Office and digital photo editing, and wants to eventually set up a free page on Facebook — a social networking site where users share photos and news with friends and family.

The senior center has offered computer classes for adults since the 1990s. Through a grant from Boeing, the senior center purchased 12 computers in 2001. Weekly sessions run at a comfortable pace for two hours, either in the morning or afternoon, and cover a range of topics: beginners classes, Internet navigation, social networking sites like Facebook, programs including Word and operating systems such as Windows. Some participants view the class as an opportunity to keep up on the latest computer technology.

“Microsoft changes software enough to make these classes necessary,” said Malcom, who began teaching the classes several years ago for seniors who are sometimes intimidated by their PC, also known as a “personal computer.” Malcom also checks Facebook once a week to read the latest announcements from the senior center and view photos posted by immediate family and friends.

Monte Ferrell, owner of AAA Blind Cleaners in Des Moines, is taking the computer classes to strengthen his business. He typed his first letter a couple of years ago, he said, and has encountered shady deals while trying to establish an online presence for his business.

“Now I’m trying to catch up on the 21st century,” he said at a class March 9, noting the changing times for businesses. He was also curious about Facebook. “The Yellow Pages are gone.”

Check it out

The Federal Way Senior Center is located at 4016 S. 352nd St., Auburn. Costs for the classes range from $16 to $32 depending on the topic and number of sessions. Classes include handouts, and students must purchase a textbook. To learn more about the computer classes, contact Larry Malcom at (253) 839-5418 or email A class schedule is also available online at

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