Community offers classes for PC rookies

Intimidated by technology, or just afraid you might break something? Instructors are here to help.
Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY: The computer classes at the Roxana CHEER Center have proven popular.Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY:
The computer classes at the Roxana CHEER Center have proven popular.

Beginners can find two free classes in this area — one especially tailored for seniors, at the Roxana CHEER Senior Center, and another, open to all ages, at the South Coastal Library.

In Roxana, Trina Terry is running her class based on the text, “For Grandmas Who Do Windows.”

“It’s easier to read than the ‘Dummies’ book — really brings it down to Earth,” she said, flipping past a section titled “The cursor — not someone who swears.”

Terry, a retired tech editor for Exxon, said she was still filling out the class, getting a feel for her students’ level of experience.

While she said she was familiar with more complex software applications (Excel, Quicken), Terry planned to focus on the fundamentals. “Some things we might take for granted, but a person who’s never used a computer needs to learn them,” she pointed out.

The first step is using the mouse — opening and closing screens and dragging items around. After that, Terry said her students might want to learn more about word processing, and many had expressed an interest in e-mail.

The computers (three new Dells and two gently used secondhanders) came to Roxana via the Southeastern Sussex Ministerium, a church collective that distributes funds, primarily from the Atlantic Community Thrift Shop (ACTS) in Clarksville.

Ministerium Treasurer Ruley Banks (resident computer guru, according to Terry) said they’d started the class a couple weeks ago, but he encouraged prospective students to come out anyway.

“We haven’t gone that far yet, and it wouldn’t be hard to catch up,” Banks noted.

This rotation is scheduled to run through mid-April, and then to start up again at the beginning later that same month.

Class begins at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, call the CHEER center at 732-3662 or stop by in person (Pyle Center Road, or Route 20, two miles north of Roxana).

South Coastal Library’s Bernadette Hemingway said she saw a predominantly older set at the all-ages classes, too. “The majority are seniors who are trying to catch up with the Technology Age,” she pointed out.

The library course also includes a mouse tutorial, and Hemingway demonstrated a few options for folks who were having trouble with the double click — they can simply single click and press “Enter,” or adjust settings so that a slightly slower double click “still counts.”

As at Roxana, Hemingway noted e-mail as a popular topic. “A lot of times, people have an address, and have received e-mails, but don’t know how to send, forward, copy or arrange their address books,” she said.

While she does advise everyone to avoid strange e-mails, Hemingway said she made a point of instilling confidence in her students. “I have to remind them — it’s a lot harder to mess up a computer these days,” she said.

South Coastal Library (43 Kent Ave. in Bethany Beach) hosts the classes on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m.

Seating is limited (three Gateways), so anyone interested in participating needs to register ahead of time — on the plus side, according to Hemingway, instruction is considerably individualized.

For more information, call 539-5231.