SIFE team wraps up computer literacy course

PLAINVIEW - About 20 adults from around the area were recognized March 4 at Wayland Baptist University for completion of a free computer literacy course conducted by Wayland's Students in Free Enterprise team.

SIFE member Rosa Padilla served as project leader for the course, which began in mid-December and featured once weekly, hour-long sessions covering the basic aspects of computer usage. The course was held at Houston School's technology center through a partnership with Plainview Independent School District.

"My parents are not very computer literate, and we began to think of all the people in this area who need those skills too," said Padilla, a senior from Hale Center. She added that members developed a curriculum aimed specifically at adults with very little computer exposure - some only knew how to turn a computer on - and enlisted SIFE members and WBU students Jason Flick and Paul Sutton to teach the course. Other members of SIFE attended the course to help participants and serve as mentors.

About 20 students participated in the program, Padilla said, with a range of ages and backgrounds. Participants were surveyed during the initial course meeting in order to assess their current skills and find out what specific needs and interests they had. From there, the SIFE group could tailor their classes to their audience.

The course featured information on the components of a computer and basic usage of Microsoft Office Suite programs such as Word, Publisher and Excel. The course also covered basic use of the Internet, including search engines, downloads and web-based email, of particular interest to several participants.

"One of the older ladies in the class told us she wanted to learn how to do email because her grandson kept mentioning that he could send her pictures of himself if she had email," Padilla shared. "She came in the next week (after the email lesson) in tears, holding a picture of her grandson that she'd been able to receive through email."

Stories like that are what Padilla said makes the work SIFE has put into the program worthwhile and the students feel they've been able to impart valuable skills to the participants. She said future plans are to hold mini-courses on specific software programs to provide more in-depth information for those interested.

Located on universities across the country, SIFE teams develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise throughout their communities. This is done by holding seminars, workshops and other events aimed at educating and equipping business leaders and other community citizens.