Foundation Course (Entry level course for beginners; formerly ‘Computing for seniors’)

In association with Nightschool Adult Community Education; three courses designed to help you get the best computer experience right from the word ‘go’!

What these courses are about


We live in the computer age. Increasingly they are becoming as indispensible to our lifestyle as a TV or stove. Nowadays, home computers are for more than number crunchers; we use them to write letters, share photos, communicate with friends and family; we also use them to pay bills, book theatre tickets and pay our utilities bills.

The first thing you do when you buy a new car is to learn how to drive it. So it is with computers. There is only so much you can learn by pointing and clicking. Whether you are a PC or a Mac user, this course will give you the confidence to drive and maintain your computer in top condition.

These course are offered at three levels and designed to take you from novice to a person who can use a personal computer with ease.


These are practical courses offered by a qualified trainer who uses both PCs and Macs and is familiar with both systems. Participants will be given step-by-step guidance on how to set up and maintain their chosen system; and be mentored in their use of the various popular applications that are available.

On completion of this course series, participants will have the knowledge and confidence to explore further on their own.

Through instruction as well as guided exercises you will learn

  • How to choose a computer that is right for you (for people considering a purchase)
  • Starting and shutting down your computer; working with windows
  • How to look after your computer and keep it in top condition
  • Keyboard and mouse skills
  • Various free applications for word processing, drawing, imaging and others that you can use every day
  • How to format and save simple documents
  • How to create, store and manage files that you create
  • Logging onto the Internet; how to surf the web safely and the most popular Internet applications people use
  • The differences between e-mail and web mail and how to choose which is best for you
  • How to use Skype for free video phone calls and for conferencing and taking online classes
  • Other free messaging software including Facebook messaging and Yahoo Messenger
  • Paying bills and booking tickets online Internet banking;
  • Safety on the Internet, simple steps you can take to protect yourself against malware
  • How computing has gone mobile and what’s in store over the next five years.
  • Using MS Office in your work – the basics of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.


Specifically aimed at teaching people how to get the most from their computer, you will learn how to use and look after your investment, the ‘tuning’ you need to perform periodically to keep it in top condition, easy-to-use applications that will allow you to enjoy your computer as well as how to safely use the Internet for a variety of activities that will open new avenues for communication and contact. You will also be provided with an introduction to the MS Office programs.

By the end of the course, you will think of your computer as a valuable tool to use everyday.


This course assumes you have a computer or are about to purchase one. Those that have a laptop computer should bring it to class. A USB stick is also recommended for saving work and files distributed by the instructor. Internet access will be available.

Separate handouts and demonstrations will be provided for those using Mac computers rather than PCs. While designed for Windows 8, Windows 7 and Mac OS will be covered.


Exercises, demonstrations and discussion activities are included with each lesson and are designed to teach basic computer skills and to show you how to get the most from your computer.

Course materials

The basic course is presented over six three-hour learning sessions that provide opportunities for face-to-face mentoring by a qualified Australian trainer.

Course materials consist of

  • Detailed course reference manual with guided activities and discussion for each session
  • On screen presentation
  • Handouts for Mac users

Courses in brief

Each class covers one topic in a single three hour learning session. Some sessions provide multiple choices depending on your computer and its operating system

Course 1 | Buying the best

(Topic 1 is three hours plus store visit)


Buying a new computer is always a difficult task. If it is your first computer it is a daunting one. This short course shows people the options available and is designed to help people make the right choice.


Choosing a computer that is right for you; Desktops, laptops, tablets, the Microsoft Surface and mobiles; useful software; fascinating ways to use your computer that you have never thought of.

Optional excursion to a computer store nearby to consider purchases.

Course 2 | Learning the basics

(Each topic is three hours; Topic 2 is held in three parts for people using Windows 8, Windows 7 and Mac)

Topic 2: Understanding computer basics

The parts of a computer; connecting it all together; stand-by, turning on and shutting down safely; using your ‘charms bar’; sleep and hibernation modes; your Desktop, how to find the pre-installed apps, using your SkyDrive; your keyboard and mouse; the importance of posture; typing (keyboard) and mouse tutorials

Topic 3: Understanding your operating system

(optional 1: Windows 8; optional 2: Windows 7; optional 3: Mac OS)

Working with windows, what your operating system does for you; setting system preferences; desktop, folders and applications; saving documents to your documents folder; file management; the accessories menu and the Control Panel

Topic 4: File and folder management

Using your desktop and the file explorer, working with files and folders, creating and saving files, getting comfortable with the Cloud (remote storage)

Topic 5: Working with simple documents and images

Using WordPad (PC) or Text Editor (Mac); drawing programs; using your inbuilt camera, image files and the Photos App, using photos from the Internet; formatting, saving and printing files; inserting pictures or graphics into files; e-mail; computer games

Topic 6: Extending your reach with the Internet

How to use the Internet; all about browsers and browser controls; surfing the Internet; protecting yourself on the Internet; setting up a Google Account; using the Windows Store; updating your apps and other software; Internet commerce

Topic 7: Using email and other communication programs

Email and webmail, Skype and instant messaging; an introduction to social media; videoconferencing and online training

Topic 8: Useful applications you can get or use for free from the Internet

Popular Internet applications; Google maps; using the web for research; digital photography online; document storage using the Cloud

Topic 9: Enjoy the world of social networking

What is social networking and how can it enhance your experiences? A look at the top sites and how you might use them? Using Facebook and Facebook Messenger.

Topic 10: Good Housekeeping

Using your properties palette to keep your computer fine tuned; protecting your computer and your network from malware.

Course 3 | Making friends with MS Office

(Follow-on course; Each topic is 6 hours of class time)

See web page

Topic 1: The MS Office system and common function and controls

Understanding the MS-Office system and versions; Microsoft OneDrive, Common functionality: the Backstage view and the file properties palette; the ribbon system; permanent and contextual ribbons; Setting language preferences; setting up a Microsoft Account; the Options palette; themes and backgrounds; saving, sharing and exporting; Using OneNote.

Topic 2: Using Word to create letters and reports

Creating and saving simple documents, Organizing your document files with the aid of your Documents Library; creating a document from a template; Editing and moving text within a document; Using styles and themes; Creating tables within a document; Page layout, printing and sharing your document.

Topic 3: Budgeting with Excel

Spreadsheets and worksheets; Using templates to make your task easier; Using Excel to create a household budget; Using Autosum and calculations; Copy, paste and fill; Controlling the view; Applying formatting to a worksheet; sorting and filtering data;

Topic 14: Using PowerPoint to organize and present your ideas

Choosing a PowerPoint template for the task; Choosing theme; Adding slides and choosing the layout options; Dividing your presentation into sections; the PowerPoint views; Inserting objects; Adding transitions and animations; Running a slide show; Options for printing and publication.

Topic 4: Microsoft Mail

Using Microsoft Mail (online) and Outlook; Setting up an email address and adding an account; Creating, receiving and replying to email; Using attachments; Managing your calendar; Organising your contacts; Tasks, your ‘ToDo’ list and your journal; cleaning your mailbox; managing your security settings.

Topic 5: Microsoft Publisher

Microsoft Publisher for Windows and the Publishing Layout view for Macs; Choosing a template suited to the task; the Home and Page Design ribbons; the Insert Ribbon; the view options; creating a publication of your own.

Topic 6: Using OneNote as your personal research tool

The OneNote screen and ribbon system; taking and formatting your notes; organising your Notebooks; OneNote in a work environment; Distributing your notes to others.

Overview Making friends with computers

Course dates, registration and fees

Visit Nightschool for enrolment details

Submit your review

Create your own review