[bksvol-discuss] Improving Computer Skills For Volunteering

  • From: Monica Willyard <rhyami@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bksvol-discuss <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 22:49:44 -0500

Hi everyone. I have observed over time that the members of this
wonderful community work at all levels of computer knowledge. I've
worked with many of you over the years and watched how volunteering
becomes easier and more fun as you mastered your computer. I started
working full-time around a year ago, so I haven't had as much time for
volunteering and helping new people as I would like.

The academy where I work has begun something that I think might help
some of you with your volunteer work. It's for this reason that I'm
posting this here. I still love to see our community grow and enjoy
seeing the freedom people gain as they make their computer work for
them. Weeks 7 through 10 of this course are of particular interest for

The Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired, (CAVI),  is excited to
offer a new online course, Computers 101, in February of 2013.

About the Course

This course is designed especially for people who would like to learn
beginner level computer operation with a screen reader. We offer both
a Windows and MAC course, held in separate sessions. Topics covered
range from screen reader basics, working with files on a computer, and
how to use the Internet safely and efficiently. You'll find a complete
list of topics covered toward the end of this email.

Accessing the Course

This is an online course. Participants will use an accessible chat
client to participate in classes. We will help students set up their
software so they can participate.

Course Fees

CAVI courses are $500 if they are being covered by an organization,
and $150 if an individual is paying out of pocket. Payment plans are
available, and scholarships are available for those with verifiable
financial hardship such as living in a developing country.

What You Need For This Course

To take this course, you'll need:
•A computer running either Windows or Mac OS
•A headset so you can participate in class
•An internet connection such as cable, DSL, or the equivalent to attend classes

Course Times

CAVI courses run one day a week. Generally, the courses begin at 9 AM
Perth Time, which is in the evening in North America. The Mac course
will be offered on Wednesday night US time, (Thursday morning Perth
time.) The Windows course will be held on Thursday night US time,
(Friday morning in Perth.) There can be a North American daytime
course run if necessary.

Applying For The Course

For this course alone, we will take applications via phone or email
without the need to fill out the application form. The application
deadline for the first term of 2013 is January 15, 2013. When you
apply, please include:

•Phone Number
•Any IM info you may have
•Whether you're interested in the MAC or Windows course.
•The name of the screenreader you use.
•What level of computer experience you have
•What you want to get out of the course
•Whether you're paying out of pocket
•What time of day you'd like to be contacted.

TheInterview Process

Once we have received your application, we will contact you to conduct
a short initial interview. This is to make sure that you have the
equipment necessary to take the course, and that your goals can be met
by what we are offering. We'll answer any questions you have and
explain how the course will work.

After the initial interview, we will help you get the chat software
set up so that you can participate in the online course. If you do not
know how to do this we can help you over the phone or via JAWS Tandem,

Contact Us

For more information on this course, please email
comp101@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, or phone 914-620-2284.

Proposed Computer Fundamentals Curriculum

Part I: Working with the Screen Reader

Week 1: General intro.
•Course intro
•Defining Terms – screen reader, synthesizer, windows, OS. etc.
•Windows screenreaders covered include JAWS, NVDA, System Access, and
Window Eyes

Week 2: Screen Reader Basics
•Getting Help with your Screen Reader
•Turning the reader off and on.
•Basic settings - Setting rate, pitch, volume, etc

Week 3: Customizing your screen reader.
•Changing settings. Playing with synthesizers, using different
settings for different apps,

Week 4: Cursors
•Application and review cursors, When and how to use them. [Including
PC and jaws cursors, and/or Object nav]

Week 5: Utilities
•Using more advanced features of the screen readers. OCR, remote
connections such as tandem, etc.

Part II: Working with the OS

Week 6: Navigating the OS
•Customizing the OS to work with screen readers
•Start Menu, desktop, [The dock], System Tray, Taskbar, Menu bars, dialog boxes

Week 7: The OS, part 2
•Creating folders
•Managing files
•Zipping and unzipping files
•File extentions
•Creating hotkeys
•Adding icons to the desktop, etc.

Part III: Working with Text and Documents

Week 8: Working with Text
•All about fonts, bold, italics, etc
•Introducing the clipboard.
•Selecting text
•Saving Files
•The difference between .txt. and .doc files

Week 9: Working with Documents
•Spell checking, printing, proofreading, thesaurus, etc.

Week 10: Spreadsheets
•Spreadsheet navigation,
•Simple formulas

Part IV: Going Online

Week 11: Introduction to the Internet
•What is the Web?
•What is a web browser?
•Getting to a page, reading a page, using navigation *Quick keys

Week 12: Navigating Pages, part II
•Using forms, tables, ETC

Week 13: Effective use of Google, etc
•How to search effectively.

Week 14: Being safe online.
•What to do and not to do to avoid viruses, Trojans and hacking.

Week 15: Email
•How does Email work?
•Reading, forwarding, replying to Email
•Using a couple of different mail clients, including Thunderbird and
the Gmail web interface.

Part V: Fun Stuff

Week 16: Getting Chatty
•Creating and using IM accounts

Week 17: Getting Social
•Facebook and Twitter

Part VI: Misc

This would be a few weeks of material determined by class needs and
wants. Some ideas could be working with Itunes and iOS, using Braille
displays, scanning documents, working with PDF files, etc.

You can learn more about our academy and its other courses by visiting

Monica Willyard
Visit my GoodReads book shelf at http://www.goodreads.com/plumlipstick
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