Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Week 3 - Day 3 - Powerpoint & Outlook

Powerpoint was a lot of fun.
Outlook was boring.
I already know how to use it.
BUT Omar has to teach it.

And to make things worse, I spilled a paper cup of water over my desk. Fortunately I was already packing up and all my books and papers were in my bag. Most of the water flew off the desk and onto the chair next to mine (that was not being used) so the seat got soaked.

But Omar said Dont worry about that, it will be dry by morning. Just dont touch any wires or you will get a shock. Also luckily no water got into any of the keyboards. I only had to mop up my desk, the seat of the chair next to me and the floor.

I was also lucky that I had 4 cloths in my bag (faceclothes actually) for wiping my face in this sweltering heat and humidity that Toronto is currently under. So I used those to mop up the water. Otherwise I would have had to go all the way to the washroom for handfuls of toilet paper, because I was told that the school does not have any paper towels.

Christina has been absent all this week. There is a rumour she may have been involved in a accident. Which makes for a very quiet class.

Alisha's computer skills are improving. I heard her teaching the two fellows next to her, how to do power point today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Week 2 - Day 4 History of Computers

We were doing Microsoft Word and Excel this week. The new girl Christina was walking in and out of class all the time, which was very annoying. Alisha also kept complaining that she didnt understand the work. Apparently she knows nothing about computers. She even called herself "computer stupid".

I do not see how anyone can go through 10 or 12 years of school and still not know anything about computers in this day and age. My 6 year old son has been using computers since he was 2 or 3 years old. He uses the 2 computers we have at home and the 2 old computers they have at daycare.

I have been using computers since 1982 when my dad first brought home an Atari. I can still remember having to hook up the Atari to our old black and white TV, and using large 5 inch floppy disks or audio tapes to upload games and programs. This was BEFORE the smaller 3.5 inch floppy disks. Most kids these days have no idea of the history of computers. And I can still remember when the old back and white TV blew its picture tube, because it could not handle all the graphics from the games. So Dad had to go out and buy a new colour TV.

Bolderdash was my favourite game. The operating dystem was DOS. RAM was only 64 KB in size. Very small. I even did a computer course where I learnt to write BASIC and COBOL programs on DOS.

When I finally left home in 1987, I couldn't afford to buy a computer. But I did manage to get one in 1992. By now the RAM was up to 64 MB and the strategy game Civilisation was the rage. I LOVED playing Civilisation. The Operating system was still DOS.

In 1995 Microsoft released a new operating system - Windows 95. (yes I know there was Windows 3 before this, but I regard that as more of a test run). Then in 1998 I was finally able to rent another computer. This one had Windows 98 and I think the RAM was still 64 MB but the hard drive had 2 GB. This is when I really learn about computers. This is what I used for that part time Computer Technology course I mentioned earlier. This is what I used to finally get on the internet. By now I was playing Civilisation 2.

Now ten years later, we have 2 computers at home. One has Windows XP and the other has VISTA. RAM is now 1GB and the hard drive on both PC's are over 200 GB. I have played Civilisation Alpha Centauri. Now I am attempting to play CivCity Rome.

I apologise for the brief history lesson, but most of kids do not really know the history of computers.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Week 2 - Day 1

Back at school for another new week. This week we are doing Microsoft Word and Excel. Next week we will be doing Outlook and Powerpoint.

Another new student started today. D is doing Honours Business Administration - the same course that I am doing. Which means he has the same schedule as me. D is from Switzerland, and is here on a study permit. He speaks fluent French and German, some Italian, and passable English. At least his English will improve while he is here for the next 13 months. He started late today because his study permit was delayed a bit while being processed.

Now about our home work. We were given a list of Word and Excel projects we have to complete between now and next Monday. We can either do these projects at school or we can do them at home, and bring them to school on a disk (floppy disk or a memory stick). The schools are still using Word 2003. But Omar (the instructor) says I can use Word 2007 because thats what we have on our PC at home.

One of the girls (Alisha) started panicking. She was saying I dont know how to save to a floppy disk, I dont know how to save to the P drive (the instructors drive on the school network where we must all save our work). Each student has their own folder.

Alisha had the nerve to tell Omar that he was very rude and unfair because he just sprung this on us without telling us how to do it. Well, actually he did tell us how to do it. Last week in the lecture on computer peripherals. Alisha happened to be away that day.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 4

Thursday - the First Exam. All classes are held from Monday to Thursdays with Fridays free. The exam for Computer Fundamentals was 60 questions, mostly taken straight from the text book. The exam was open book, and I was finished in 20 minutes. So I spent the another 20 minutes going over my answers making sure they were correct. I was waiting for someone else to be the first one to get up and hand in their papers. I was second, following closely behind the first person.
Next week we will be doing intermediate Microsoft Word and Excel. The following week I will be doing intermediate Outlook and Power Point. I will be doing all these subjects at an advanced level further along in the course.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 3

Well today was an interesting day. There are now 11 students in the class, and 8 of them are doing the Community service worker course. The other two being the medical transcriptionist and of course, there's me doing Business Administration. Some of these 8 students are close to the end of their course, and others have just started.

The new student (Christina) who started today, is a loud attention seeking type of girl. She says she forgot that class started this week and that it was in the afternoon. Now how ditzy is that? Apparently like the others, she too is doing the Community services worker program. She dresses like a street girl - very short dress, large dangling earrings, loud hand bag and very high heels. She talks loud and thinks she knows everything. She kept harping on about cookies and how cookies were bad for the computer and how she tried to delete cookies every day, but she still keeps getting viruses and pop-ups. She says she has a antivirus program, but she doesnt do anything with it. The teacher figured out from the pop-ups that she must have spyware and malware problems but her computer does not have any anti-spyware software loaded. Now I have to put up with her for the next two weeks for the remainder of the Computer Fundamentals class. she says she works at Tim Hortons.

Yesterday we did Windows - the Windows operating system. The school computers all use Windows XP. We were shown in minute detail how to open windows, how to use it, and how to close it. I sat back and listened, not taking any notes and tried not to yawn. I have been using Windows for the last 10 years. I dont think I need to be told how to use it. BUT I will read the book just to make sure I regurgitate all the correct answers for the exam tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 1

Today I started my new Business Administration Course at TRIOS with a Computer Fundamentals class. Remember, I mentioned earlier that I had started a computer technology program that I did not complete. well this class was almost identical to that Computer Basics class - only this is much more updated. I did the first course 10 years ago when Windows 98 and Netscape were all the rage.

So todays lesson covered the first two chapters in the text book. Very basic stuff - parts of the computer, the CPU motherboard and the peripheral devices.

The entire class is just 3 weeks long, and we will be learning the basics of Word and Excel. And then I will be doing those plus Powerpoint and Access in much more detail further along in the program.

Since enrollments are on a rolling basis, anyone can start at any time (more or less) In my Computer class there were 10 students. Half of them were doing Community Services Worker Diploma, two were doing the Medical Transcription Diploma and I didnt get the last two guys details. I think I am the only one currently doing Business Administration.

The next classes after Computer Fundamentals will be Human Resources, Business Law, Marketing and Canadian Business Practises. I am really looking forwards to those.

Historia is going back to school

Hi there. Today is Monday 14th July, 2008 and in a few hours I will re-enter the classroom to start a Diploma in Business Administration course. I am what they call a mature student - ie I have been out of school for more than 2 years. Actually I have been out of school for 25 years!!! I went to college 3 times in the first 5 years out of school. Over the years I have started many correspondence courses to better myself - and never finished any of them.

I have learned that I get distracted easily when studying at home. I find that I do much better if I am required to go to class to learn and study. And I also did a part time computer technology course for 2 years which (once again) I did not finish. But I had a good excuse for that. I got married and moved to Canada.

I have been in Canada for over 7 years and am struggling to find a good long term job with no college qualifications. My resume lists 7 jobs in 5 years. Then I spent half of 2007 on medical leave for surgery and have struggled to get back into the workforce for the first half of 2008. I did have one job for 2 months, but that did not work out. I was working from home, logging into their company computer, and being distracted by the home environment. I cannot work from home.

Then in late June I went on an interview for a job I really wanted. I passed the first interview and was called back for a second interview. I did well on the second interview but had to admit to not have any job experience for a couple of essentials skills they required. I said I knew how to scan documents - on my flatbed scanner at home but not with huge business machines. And when they asked if I was familiar with MS Access I had to say no. I do know Excel but not Access. I think those answers are why I lost that job.

I was told on Monday last week (7th July) that I was not successful. That was my turning point. I decided that I must get myself a qualification to get any decent jobs. Otherwise I will be doing crappy jobs (such as survey interviewing or call centre CSR) for the rest of my life. I do not want to be doing that.

So I emailed Trios College that same Monday. I got a call from one of their educational counsellors the next day and was invited to go and have an interview with them. I did their entrance exams, (and passed with very good scores) and was enrolled to do the Honours Busines Administration. The timing was perfect as there was a new Business Admin class starting the very next week. I went back on Wednesday with all the financial info required to apply for a student loan. Took all the signed papers back to Trios on Thursday and they said, Thats everything done, see you next Monday. Which is today.

I have been very resistant to applying for a student loan up until now because of all the horror stories I have read about repaying the loans after one graduates. But I just do not have the money to pay for classes - either part time or full time. While I do have a higher goal (there is another certificate I want to do part time, but that needs a good job to pay for it) it will have to wait until I finish this Diploma and get a good job so I can start saving for the certificate course and paying back my student loan.

Trios is a career college that does Business Administration courses taking anywhere from 4 months to one year. George Brown College (which is only a few blocks from my home) takes 3 years to do a diploma on Business Administration. I do not have 3 years to spare.

This blog will be about my 52 weeks as a student from July 14, 2008 until graduation in August 2009. Bon voyage.