Thursday, October 11, 2018

Expect and Except the Challenge - No Excuses



“You don’t understand, I haven’t used a computer before.”
“I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last 10 years.”
“My job didn’t require the use of a computer.”
“I didn’t grow up around computers.”

I teach a class, Intro to PC Applications, at a local community college. This class covers the Microsoft applications – Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint – applications that are in great demand in today’s workforce. This is a required class for several of the degree paths and many of the certificates. There are no prerequisites for this course, so I get some incredibly full classes. My students ages range from 16 – 65+, I have high school students to adults in career transitions.

Every semester, I get at least a couple students who are brand new to using a computer. Some can barely use a mouse, others have only used a computer for email or just web browsing. Maybe they have used MS Word at its most basic level.

We start the semester learning MS Word. But not only are the students learning Word, but they must also learn to navigate the Learning Management System (LMS) and the separate online platform for many of their assignments. Additionally, they need to have some basic navigation skills on the computer.

The students new to computers? They struggle.

These students have to put forth a little more time and effort. I do my best to provide additional instruction before, after and during class. I provide video instructions and website resources. But being a part-time instructor, my time is limited.

It’s not long before I start hearing the excuses. I hear so many variations.

“This class is hard.”

“I don’t have time for the extra stuff.”

I get it. For most of these students with little or no past computer experience, this is also their first college course, or one of the first. There are a lot of new things going on at once. And in 15 weeks, for a total of 3 hours a week (class time), they are going at an unfamiliar pace.

I struggle with how to best meet the needs of these few students, when I have 20 others in the same class. The school does provide free tutoring and I encourage them to take advantage of the service.
I’m writing this post to let those students know that, while it can be a great struggle, there is hope.

Let me tell you about Jimbo. Jimbo was a 65-year-old and had just spent 15 years in prison. Prior to that, he was in and out of jail. He got his GED while in prison and decided to change the direction of his life. Being in a classroom/college setting was a completely new experience for him.

He had not ever used a computer or even a smartphone prior to this class. Turning the computer on and using a mouse were a challenge. During class, I helped him as much as possible. Luckily, he had a great classmate sitting next to him that also provided some guidance during class.

Jimbo never complained. Throughout the semester he told me bits and pieces of his story, but he never complained. And he was never late with an assignment. Jimbo took advantage of the school’s free tutoring and he just kept plugging away. Anytime I would get to the campus early, I saw Jimbo. He never saw me though because his head was down, busy working. He also had other classes, so not all that work was just for my class.
Jimbo didn’t ace my class, but he did pass. And to see the transformation was incredible. I’m not taking credit, because I didn’t do much. Jimbo knew what he had to do. Maybe he had extra motivation because of his age and the years he felt he wasted.

He passed all his classes that semester and then started preparing for his CAC-1 certification (Substance Abuse Counseling). Which I learned later, he successfully completed those requirements.

Then I have the story of Mary, who at the age of 45, had also never used a computer. She was a warehouse worker, who wanted to move up to a supervisory position. The position required MS Word and Excel knowledge. She purchased a laptop just for this class. On the first day, she showed up early because she didn’t even know how to turn the laptop on. In a quick 30 minutes before class, we covered some BASICS.

She never complained either.

She came in one hour early before every class for extra help. She used the school’s free tutoring service. Mary did get behind on her assignments and when we reached the MS Access portion of the class, we worked out a plan. She would take the hit for not doing the Access assignments and instead concentrate on finishing the Word and Excel assignments. She would then pick up on PowerPoint with the rest of the class. She got a passing grade in the class and to see her advancement was remarkable.

These are the stories I tell my students when they start in with how they are so behind because of their lack of computer experience. I acknowledge that yes, it is going to be tougher, but it can be done.

I tell my students that the only way to fail my class is to do absolutely nothing. Put your head down, take small steps and be willing to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Realize the power of your thoughts. These negative thoughts and excuses can place restrictions on what you can accomplish.

Believe in yourself. Expect and except the challenge.

And JUST DO THE WORK!


Friday, September 28, 2018

Google IT Support Professional Certificate

This morning, while sipping my first cup of coffee, I heard an ad on the radio for the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

I was intrigued, so I looked it up.

It is a certificate program to train Americans, including those without college degrees, for entry-level IT jobs. It is part of Grow with Google, a Google initiative to help create economic opportunities for all Americans.
The program consists of five courses that can be completed in eight to 12 months. Upon completion of the certificate, you can share your information with top employers including Google, who are looking for workers proficient in basic IT skills. It is an entry level program and there are no prerequisites to be able to understand and grasp the content.
The certificate is offered online through Coursera and costs $49 per month.

Read more at Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/google-it-support

Even if you took 12 months to complete the certificate, that is $588.00. Much cheaper than pursuing a college degree. Should this replace a degree or an advanced certification - maybe, maybe not. This could be a great stepping stone or it could be the final destination. Either way, I think it is a great option if you are looking for a career in IT.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Microsoft Office 2019: Best Features for Your Business

Microsoft is set to release the latest update to its productivity and business software, Office 2019, later this year. 
Click the link to read more at Business News Daily: Guide to Microsoft Office 2019

Friday, September 14, 2018

When is Earning an Associate Degree Worth the Investment? | Front Range Community College Blog

You’ve probably heard a few stances on whether it’s worth your time and energy to go to college for an associate degree. On the one hand, college is expensive and maybe you’d rather focus on working and earning. On the other hand, a two-year degree will take you further than a high school diploma.
Confused?
Click the click to continue reading:
When is Earning an Associate Degree Worth the Investment? | Front Range Community College Blog

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Willa's Wheels / Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation

Every year I race because I love to ride my bike. In addition to my love of riding, I can also bring awareness to a great cause through Willa's Wheels. This year, I broke my wrist in the spring, so my many races came to a halt. However, I was still able to particapate in the Telluride 100 and the Dakota Five-0.

Please join me in raising much needed funds to offer some hope and relief to Colorado cancer patients in need. 

Willa’s Wheels raises money for the Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that provides unrestricted financial grants to Coloradans with cancer to help with basic daily needs such as food, shelter, and utilities.

              

This year, I am trying to raise $650. If you would like to donate, please click on the link:
Donate to a great cause

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sometimes you take a spectacular fall. You get up and ride some more. 
(Unless you broke your wrist and the doctor says NO).

For-ev-er-more (fôr ev′ər môr′) For eternity; for always; continually.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Forevermore!

Sometimes you ride until it hurts. Then you ride some more.
For-ev-er-more (fôr ev′ər môr′) For eternity; for always; continually.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Excel Print Preview Video

I have posted a short video on my YouTube channel on printing in Excel. View it here: Excel Print Preview
I discuss 4 quick things you can do to make sure your worksheet prints correctly:
Page Orientation
Margins
Scaling
Printing Titles

Check it out.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Playing with PowerPoint

Did you know that PowerPoint has some pretty cool picture editing and effects tools? 
Here a just a few basic examples: (Can you tell I like cycling?)





Want to learn how to do some awesome things with PowerPoint?

Then check out these two YouTube channels:


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Every moment...


Double-click to type anywhere

Guess what? You can double-click anywhere in a Word document and start typing. 
Just double-click in any position on the page where you want text and start typing.