Whizzes, wannabes flock to classes

Even though Lisa Kucharski is a computer science engineering major, she plans to take all the different classes offered by College House Computing this semester.

“CoHo” Computing is responsible for giving computing support to all students who live in college houses. This semester, the department is branching out to do more than trouble-shoot. “Upgrade Your Skills” computing classes — 23 in all — are a new way to instruct students in some basic, but often overlooked, computer skills, offering 90-minute classes on advanced Microsoft Excel, HTML, Macromedia Flash and computer upgrades.

Kucharski was taking a Flash class — her first CoHo Computing course. “This will be using the programs, whereas my major is a lot of programming and the insides of the computer,” she said.

Associate Director for College House Computing Amy Phillips said that the classes this year grew out of HTML classes that Information Technology Specialist Ian Kelly gave last year, traveling from college house to college house. “We wanted to offer the students not only living in the college houses but all across the campus an opportunity to learn computer skills,” Phillips said. “The Excel classes are targeted toward coursework, but the HTML and Flash courses are more fun — things they can do on their own.”

Caroline Couture, who teaches “Upgrading and Updating Your PC,” was surprised at how many women have shown up. “Women are interested in doing upgrades or updating their computer, but they don’t necessarily have a way to get the information,” Couture said. “This seems like a good, safe way for them to get it. It’s not like going into a computer store where you feel like you might be taken advantage of or steered the wrong way.”

Fine-tuning his animation of a rotating ball at the end of a Flash class, senior Mark Apicella said that he wanted more classes. “It would be interesting if they had more levels. I’d like to take advanced Photoshop.”

Couture said that she likes teaching the slightly scared or intimidated students best. “This is something that they can do. It’s not impossible; it’s not this mysterious black box. They can actually do the things that we’re talking about.”


Originally published on April 5, 2001