No adult left behind


The Mirror

The Federal Way Senior Center is offering classes to assist adults in understanding computers and the Internet.

An introductory course will start April 26, but an Internet and e-mail course starts April 24.

These classes are the most popular among the 12 courses the center offers, ranging from Microsoft Excel to digital photo processing.

The center has made computer courses available to adults of any age for more than a decade, said Federal Way Senior Center registrar Larry Malcom.

Although some teenagers or children may need computer assistance, they usually learn at a different pace, so the classes are only for adults, he said. Instructors want people to be patient and wait until everyone in the class has comprehended the material.

“Teenagers want to go too fast,” Malcom said. “They leave the adults behind.”

Each course is taught by a senior center volunteer who is familiar with computers and software. Instructors are aware of what computer illiterate people want and need to know, he said.

For instance, many adults are not familiar with a keyboard because they are used to a typewriter, he said.

“I’d say we’re all experts here,” Malcom said. “We’ve all worked with computers for years.”

The courses

The beginners class introduces students to computers and allows them to experience their many uses. Students can expect to learn how to use the keyboard and mouse, as well as how to save and find a file. A quick review of how computers operate and how to maintain them will also be covered. This class provides information needed to take more advanced classes.

Students who plan to take the Internet class need to know some basic computer skills, such as how to type and use the mouse, said instructor Sue Middleton. Many seniors have heard stories that scare them away from using the Internet, but this class eases their fears and shows them the benefits of using the Internet, Malcom said.

“There’s more time for questions,” Middleton said of the class

Students can expect to learn a variety of Internet and e-mail skills. Seniors primarily use computers for e-mail to stay in contact with their grandchildren, Malcom said. The ability to write and send e-mails, add attachments and recognize junk e-mail will be taught.

Middleton teaches Internet search tips and how to determine if Web sites are safe and secure. The last class of the course is always designed to be a fun one, Middleton said. Students visit and eBay to learn how to purchase items online.

“I try to find cool places for them to visit,” she says. “Many of them have seen online maps before, but have never used Google Earth to find their house.”

Contact Jacinda Howard: or (253) 925-5565.

Internet, e-mail and more

Both computer courses are five weeks long. Students will meet 1 to 3 p.m. once a week at the Federal Way Senior Center, 4016 S. 352nd St., with Tuesdays for the Internet class (cost is $25) and Thursdays for the beginners class (cost is $20).

The Federal Way Senior Center has 12 computers available for use and encourages anyone who is interested in learning about computers, the Internet or specific software programs to call (253) 838-3604 and enroll in a class.

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