Seniors Learn Computer Basics

Some determined senior citizens are learning to conquer the computer. They are students in the community college's "Introduction to Computers" course.

The seniors are busy learning about things like "file folders", "double clicks" and "mouse pads".

For many of the senior students, it's a bit like learning a foreign language. There certainly were no computers in the classroom when they were growing up. But now, computers are everywhere, and many seniors recognize the need for learning to use them.

"So, how would we create a folder in any blank area on your desktop. Remember?", said Marcy Clark, as she guided her "over age 50" students through the basics of computing.

For the next three weeks, the seven seniors will navigate a Microsoft world of file folders and dialog boxes.

J.B. Richmond admits to complete computer illiteracy. He signed up for the course to keep pace with the grand kids.

"They can come in and do everything that can e done on a computer. Kind of makes me a little jealous of them and envious. And I want to be able to understand what they're talking about," said Richmond.

"I'm typing away and it all died on me. I hate that," said Joan Wilson, as she got a little aggravated with her computer keyboard.

It's the one mistake she wants to learn to avoid. Wilson is an aspiring writer who's already experienced the heartache of something vanishing.

"I did a document one time. It was quite long and I put a lot of thought into it. I thought I had done it beautifully. I pressed the wrong button and I destroyed the whole thing. That did not make me very happy," she said, recalling the sad story.

"All right. Let's make sure that we have this file in our folder," said the instructor.

Creating folders and files and basic word processing is week one. By the end of the course, the students should be able to browse the Internet.

Emma Morris wants to learn how to surf the Internet.

"I like to travel. So, I'd like to be able to look into all these travelocity and all of these things. And buy tickets. I don't know how to buy tickets on the Internet. And I want to learn E-bay," Morris said.

"And by the time at the end of your three weeks, you should be well on your way to doing on your own when you get home by yourself," said Clark, as she wrapped up session one.

Introduction to computers for seniors is among the most popular continuing education courses offered by Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The next class begins in early April.