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February 11, 2012 5:13 PM   Subscribe

How would you teach a two hour Advanced Internet class for a public library?

Students are expected to have taken Basic Internet but I expect the class to vary greatly in their comfort levels with computers.
Hopefully some of them will bring their own laptops or flash drives.

I'll suggest using Chrome or Firefox for security reason and show them where to download the portable versions as well as how to set up the browser with extensions and use of the bookmark bar. We'll talk about how to change their privacy settings in Facebook and how to upload pictures. How to search the library catalog and use the databases. How to use operators in Google searches and the existence of Google Scholar and Books.

I would be grateful to get more ideas as well as some sense of priority.

Also, what sites would you recommend to get an "Oh Wow!" What would you want on the "handy reference card."
posted by mearls to Education (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Check out

It should have some resources.
posted by psususe at 5:22 PM on February 11, 2012

Could you explain what was covered in 'Basic Internet' so we can know what the starting point is?
posted by odinsdream at 5:31 PM on February 11, 2012

Yeah, I'm not really sure what advanced means here. But I would think something on virus protection, or dealing with malware would be useful.

I dunno- rss feeds? Skype?
posted by abirdinthehand at 5:36 PM on February 11, 2012

*Basic troubleshooting: How to check for connectivity in windows, and what to do if it doesn't work. Fairly important -- I've "fixed" a fair number of computers where the person had just accidentally disabled the network adapter.
*Operators in Google would be important, but put some examples on your handout. Non-techie people won't necessarily get the idea of a wildcard without seeing the use.
*A list of decent and relatively bulletproof software: Microsoft Security Essentials, Firefox and/or Chrome, DropBox, Skype, etc.
posted by kensch at 6:01 PM on February 11, 2012

I've taught internet classes in public libraries for a over a decade. My experience is that most people overestimate their own knowledge of how to use computers/browsers/internet. Personally, I wing it each class (usually a dozen students) and tailor the class to their needs - by explicitly asking them what they know and what they want to be able to do on the internet.

Things I have done that have been positively received:
-shown how to look up their home on google maps, and then how to get directions.
-talked about my personal experience of looking up health information on the internet symptom=headache, diagnosis=terminal meningitis. Where to get valid health information.
-accessing e-government services.
-bringing a gadget petting zoo (ipad, netbook, laptop, kobo, iphone) so they can try them out and access internet from them (these are my personal devices, hence the android exclusion)
-privacy on the internet, specifically facebook
-email etiquette, recognising scams
-downloading e-books from the library
-good sites for downloading free content and the challenges involved
-using craigslist and kijiji
-local online communities, news sources and accessing information about local government services
posted by saucysault at 6:24 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Maybe a little bit about how DNS works - the idea that is different than or is an important bit of knowledge as far as recognizing phishing scams.

What it really means when you get a bad SSL cert and how to look to see if it's, for instance, just because you're getting a CA-signed cert for instead of (and probably just a minor error that's okay) rather than a self-signed cert from what may be a malicious company.

how to recognize, say, the 'you have a security problem' pop-up that looks like it's part of vista/xp/win7 and that actually installs malware when you click the button that says 'scan your system now'
posted by rmd1023 at 6:32 PM on February 11, 2012

Oh good I'm gonna wing it too. I'm calling "user directed."

The RSS feeds are a good start, and trouble shooting basics are great. And security, always security.
posted by mearls at 6:37 PM on February 11, 2012

How about covering some of the underlying technologies? Markup, CSS, protocols (ftp, http, etc), and show how easy it is to create a basic page?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:51 PM on February 11, 2012

Talk about:

Blogging, how to set up a blog/tumblr

How to make money on the internet (how some bloggers/youtubers make $$ for their sites through ads)

What is twitter, what it can be used for, how to complain about businesses on twitter
posted by davey_darling at 7:08 PM on February 11, 2012

You might want to put Snopes on your list of useful websites.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:38 AM on February 12, 2012

I would assume anyone taking the session would be generally people who did not grow up with computers (*sigh* - me...)
If I attended such a session - I would want information on different types of browsers (pro & con) as they are often mentioned on blogs etc..
I think blogging and You Tube such sites are a huge part of internet use - so how to use them; set up your own site; how to post etc...
The pro’s and con’s of downloading – especially games. Understanding the program and computer requirements of such programs. I tend to wing it – and get in to some awful messes!
I find language is constantly changing or a challenge on the internet – especially with understanding abbreviations or labels (i.e.: “noob”, STFU).
posted by what's her name at 9:17 AM on February 12, 2012

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