This is the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page of the McGrath Computer Learning Center at the University of South Carolina at Aiken. The items on this page relate to the curriculum and activities of the Learning Center, especially questions that prospective students may have. If you are not familiar with the term FAQ, you can learn more here.
Any adult can take a course at McGrath. At one point in our history, McGrath served only senior adults. That changed in 2015 and we now serve all adults.
One of our most frequently asked questions is: what course should I take if I already know a little about using a computer? Our First-time Computer User course is designed for users with no computer experience. The course focuses on very basic concepts: turning the computer on, using the mouse and keyboard (very heavy on using the mouse; see the writeup in the next bullet item), moving text and graphic images (such as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle) around the screen, and working with some simple programs.
We do not cover topics such as email and using the Internet in the First-time User course. Those topics are covered in our Use Your PC More Effectively course, where we go into more detail about the Windows 10 operating system, copying and saving files on the computer hard drive, and using programs such as email and Internet browsers. So if you are just starting with computers, you should take First-time Computer User. If you know how to do the basic tasks described in the paragraph above, you should take Use Your PC More Effectively.
A desire to learn to use a computer. Our First-time Computer User course assumes you know nothing about using a computer. We begin with how to turn it on and then how to use the mouse to click on items on the screen that tell the computer what to do.
One of the challenges a beginner faces is using the mouse. Our hand-eye coordination as adults is not quite as good as it was when we were young and it is a challenge to learn to move the mouse and click the buttons smoothly and without false clicks. We teach you to use the mouse early in the First-time Computer User course, but practice at home helps. We use publicly-available exercises to learn to use the mouse. If you want to practice at home, you can find links to the exercises we use here.
The cost varies depending on the length of the course. A one-week short course is $25, a two week one is $34. Our longer courses are held over a four to five week period.; those are $50 and $58, respectively. All our classes meet for two hours, once a week. Therefore, a two-week course gives you 4 hours of classroom instruction for $34. A five-week course gives you 10 hours of instruction for $58. You can see the fee for each course offered in the current term in the last column of this chart.
The cost of a given course is the same for all adult students.
You may wonder why a workshop apparently costs more per class hour than a full course. The cost per class hour is approximately the same for workshops and courses, but there is a fixed cost of about $15 per student for the administrative overhead for any class. Because there are fewer class hours to spread that fixed cost over, workshops appear to have a higher cost per hour.
We mail our printed catalog three times a year, about four to six weeks before a term begins. To get on our mailing list, send your name, street address, city, state, and zip code to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online form. You may also find information about our upcoming courses and workshops on our web page at www.mcgrathclc.com.
Just ask us. We are always looking for volunteers. There are no special qualifications except a willingness to help adults learn to use a computer or related technology. You can find contact information here.
Many of our students decide to volunteer after taking one of our classes. If you take a class with us and find that you enjoy the classroom atmosphere and want to give back by sharing your knowledge with others, give us a call.
Our volunteers serve as either staff, coaches, or instructors. Coaches help students in the classroom follow the instructor as he or she leads them through step-by-step, hands on exercises. The instructor is responsible for the lesson plan and overall conduct of the class. Our volunteers serve as coaches as a foundation to becoming an instructor. We also train both coaches and instructors before they serve in the classroom.
Of course, you don't have to take a course with us to become a volunteer. If you have some computer skills that you would like to share and gain the satisfaction of watching someone learn to do things on the computer they never thought they could do, come join us.
USCA classes may be, but the Learning Center classes are not. Under certain circumstances, USCA classes may be free of tuition for those at least 60 years old. However, while the Learning Center is affiliated with the USCA Office of External Programs, Continuing Education, and Conferences, it is not a part of the state-supported university and our classes are not covered by that policy. Our classes are offered under an agreement between USCA and the Learning Center. Under that agreement, the Learning Center pays USCA for administrative support, classroom rental, utilities, and computer network services.
Yes. You can get details of how to donate by going to the Donations web page.
The history of the web site can be found here.