Enter the folks of the Senior Computer Learning Center (SCLC), housed for a decade at the Business Resource Center on Ulster Avenue in Kingston. There, a variety of computer classes for adults 50 years old and over are conducted in a warm and friendly environment. Classes and workshops are kept small – 12 to 18 participants – and with the aid of coaches on hand to assist learners, no one is left behind. Courses include subjects such as Beginning Computer Use, Internet and E-mail, Digital Photography, File Management, PowerPoint, FaceBook, Computer Cleanup and many others. Class fees are modest – $20, $50 and $60 depending on the length – and always include a manual, plus optional free practice labs. Typically, classes are two hours long, running once a week for four or eight weeks. Instructors and coaches are all volunteer seniors themselves, adept at instructing in language understandable to their peers.
Through the support of SUNY-Ulster, the eight-year-old computers that originally ran Windows 98 were replaced with new Dell machines and flat-panel monitors that use the Vista operating system. Course manuals were updated to reflect Vista and the use of the newer Office business suite, and a 15-session course in Windows 7 will soon be offered.
In addition to classes, the Kingston Learning Center offers free help on any class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday over the lunch hour. And all students who take any class can attend the monthly Senior Computer User Group meetings, where topics cover all aspects of computers and applications. With no agenda other than trying to help each other with computer problems and issues, these meetings are free-flowing, interesting and always a lot of fun.
Director Frank Almquist says that SCLC has a good track record, with many students coming back repeatedly to further their knowledge base and experience. “It’s hard to say exactly how many senior students we’ve had over the years. We have an e-mail system with close to 600 e-mail addresses of past and current students.” And the techno gap closes, even if only a little, here in Kingston.
The Kingston Senior Computer Learning Center is located in the Business Resource Center at 105 Development Court. The office in the Business Resource Center is staffed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and can be reached at (845) 331-9360. Be sure to look in the SUNY-Ulster Continuing Education Catalogue for a complete list of classes and workshops.