Archive for Wednesday, July 24, 1996


July 24, 1996


The technology of the '90s is explained to senior citizens in a local computer course.

When retiree Beulah Harding enrolled in a computer class, she knew how to type and turn on the computer.

Five weeks later, Harding and her 10 classmates are learning how to organize a data base.

"I use word processing for writing letters," Harding said. "I've got to get proficient on the spread sheet for my personal accounts. That way I can see where I spent my money for the year."

The class, offered through Douglas County Senior Services Inc., is designed specifically for seniors. During the course, students learn basics of computing and how to avoid typical computer pitfalls.

"I was afraid of it," Harding said. "You think you're going to mess it up, but one step at a time gets you over the mountain."

Harding rented a computer for a short time before buying one of her own. Now she owns the one of the newest models available, complete with Microsoft's Windows.

"I've only scratched the surface," she said of her computing experience. "But it really keeps the gray cells active. It's challenging and frustrating."

For Lawrence physician Monti Belot, the class has been her first experience in tackling computer programs.

"It's probably easier not to learn," he said. "It's general information. It's the computer age. Whether one approves or not, it's here. I thought it was mandatory for me to learn."

While Belot is enthusiastic about the class, he, like many of the other students, is not an Internet user.

It took instructor Shelly Hornbaker two years to get the class under way. One of the main problems was finding a computer lab with enough space.

"We asked around, and KU was the only place that could accommodate us," she said. The class meets Saturday mornings at the computer lab on campus.

Hornbaker said she wanted to teach the class after working in a similar program at Johnson County Community College.

"My goal is to provide them with navigational skills," she said. "They can explore, learn and work with any software package."

Hornbaker said students walk out feeling more confident than they did at the first class.

"I enjoy the enthusiasm they come to class with and I think it's beneficial for them," she said. "I'm adding value to their lives."

A new class begins Saturday. For more information, call Judith McFadden or Ed Coan at DCSS, 842-0543.

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