Walden House Course Report - December 20, 2005
Instructors: Ben Scholes, Maria de Santiago, Richard Vizier and Willy Rosenblatt
Being the last term of CDD's basic computer learning 2005 was certainly special to both students and volunteer instructors of Walden House. We started the session with eleven students and ended up with eight very promising graduates. Though the new mayor no longer supported CDD's intern program, we were excited to tell the students about CDD's own intern program in CDD's own office. As usual, the students asked a lot of questions regarding the possible internship with CDD and half of them filled out applications for the internship.
The students were a mix of different talents with computers but they were all very excited about CDD's curriculum. They were of course concerned with the requirement to write a 500-page paper at the beginning but were very proud that they were able to accomplish the task at the end - by themselves using the Microsoft Word program they learned in class. In particular was Ruben Camberos. Not only did he finish the paper sooner than anybody else, he was able to demonstrate amazing improvement throughout the course of the class meetings and expressed motivation to go further than basic computer skills. Then there was Gilbert Rodriguez. He was slow with computers because he had never used one before but he consistently worked harder than everyone. We were amazed that he was able to finish and type the paper by himself. To the instructors, these students were a source of motivation and a mirror to reflect our efforts to become better citizens ourselves. On graduation night, watching the students lined up for their diplomas was overwhelming for any volunteer instructor regardless of how many times he or she had attended the ceremony. Yesterday, computer represented an insurmountable obstacle to some of these older students. Tomorrow they will be able to utilize the skills they have learned to make a difference in their lives and inevitably others' that come across theirs.
A longer curriculum with a little more focus on the computer applications and internet skills
Instructors should be more familiarized with the internship program so that they can answer questions thrown at them by fired-up students. A walk-thru with instructors to the CDD office perhaps can be arranged.
CDD can perhaps build mini internship with local non-profit agencies that can utilize an extra pair of hands or two and that can offer further computer learning to students.