Getting “Computer Savvy” for Online Learning

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Over the past few years I have had numerous conversations with friends and colleagues related to online education. They all agree that a Bachelor’s degree or graduate degree would really be to their advantage. They also agree that online learning would be the only way for them to obtain their degrees because of working full-time, families and numerous other responsibilities. So, I ask, what is stopping them? One would think that tuition fees would be the reason for most but it wasn’t. This group of individuals was afraid to take the next step because they felt that their computer skills were not up to par.

working-at-computerComputer 101

With today’s technology everyone young and old should be comfortable with using computers. But, unfortunately, there are some people that just haven’t taken the time to explore technology.

For purposes of online education, the student should have some familiarity with Microsoft Office. The three main programs contained in Microsoft Office that will be needed are; Microsoft Word, Microsoft Power Point, and Microsoft Excel. Make sure that you have Microsoft Office on the computer that you plan to use and go into the various programs and take a look around. Microsoft Word is the program that you will use most frequently to create documents such as essays, term papers, short paragraphs and other similar documents. Microsoft Power Point will be utilized to create colorful presentations as assigned and Microsoft Excel will be utilized for any spreadsheets needed or other miscellaneous assignments.

Online students should also be familiar with using Google Drive. Similar to Microsoft Office, Google Drive offers free use of programs to create documents, spreadsheets, forms and presentations. You can also use Google to create calendars and combine your work, school, and social schedules all in the same place. Google Calendar can sync various calendars from other software programs, as well, saving you time and energy while keeping you organized. One of the major advantages of these Google products is the ability to share them with anyone. This can help greatly with group projects and assignments, especially for online learning.

Free Computer Training

Now that you have an idea of what you will need to become computer literate, you are probably thinking, “Oh great, another class and more money.” You are completely wrong. Luckily there are several companies online that provide free computer tutorials to assist you in learning a new program or to just be utilized as a reference as needed. Here are a couple that will be of tremendous help to you and they are all available 24/7 and free.


Microsoft Office Training

Google Drive Training

Google Calendar Training

Basic Online Skills from the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium

In addition to the sites that I have provided for you, it is a good idea to also check with the online school that you plan to attend to see if it offers any computer preparation courses. Most colleges and universities do and many are also free of charge. In addition to the previously mentioned methods, many computer stores and computer repair shops also offer computer courses. Of course these courses will have a fee associated with them, but it may be beneficial for some to have an instructor there in real life to help you get on the road to computer literacy.

So, When Will I be “Savvy?”

As you begin your first online course and continue your online education you will find yourself becoming more acclimated to the world of technology and using computer programs. It will become so natural to you that you will not give it a second thought. I always joke with my family and friends saying that I not only received a Master’s Degree online, I also received a minor in computer technology. No kidding!

deannaDeanna Miller
RN MSN/Ed HCE graduated in 1995 from the University of New York, Albany and later went on to obtain her BSN and MSN with a certification in Health Care Education from the University of Phoenix, Online. Ms. Miller currently works as a Manager of Intensive Care in a University Hospital. She is also a published author and content expert for several educational publishing companies.
Degree Jungle Staff

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