Class at library teaches adults how to navigate the web

Emma Boykin wants to improve her chances of finding employment.

Earl Miller wants to stay in touch with his children and grandchildren, who are scattered around the country.

Galalal Din Mohamed, having worked in a warehouse since coming to the United States from Sudan, is hoping to earn his masters of business administration degree from Ashland University.

They were among the participants in a class called "Using the Internet" on Feb. 21 at the Karl Road Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Instructor Monica Carroll, an information services specialist at the branch, said the class is to help adults become more familiar with computers.

"A lot of people come in with a pretty basic skill level with computers and the internet," Carroll said. "We're here to kind of empower them."

Others, she said, arrived at the introductory program with almost no familiarity with computers.

"It is really very new to a good number of people coming here from other countries," Carroll said.

Once the five participants in "Using the Internet" were seated at computers, Carroll guided them to use Google to find the free, open content online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

"I've seen it somewhere before," Boykin said.

Boykin said she sometimes talks to Siri, the intelligent assistant on many Apple devices.

"Talking to Siri is really the same thing as using the internet," Carroll said. "You know more than you thought, already."

"I want to try to get a call-center job," Boykin said during a break in the class. "I didn't really know how to get around on the internet, and you have to for those jobs."

"I need to improve my skills in searching the internet," said Miller, who is 84 and active in the Forest Park Civic Association.

He also wants to stay in touch with family members in California and Washington.

"I'm looking for another place to get more practice and more training," Mohamed said, noting that much of the coursework for his MBA can be accessed online.

On her second attempt at going to one of the websites suggested by Carroll, Boykin found herself somewhere else with no idea how it happened.

"I did something wrong," she said.

"You know what?" Carroll said. "You're not going to break the computer."

Comforted by that, Boykin followed Carroll's directions to get Google to answer the question of how much is two plus two.

"Four," Boykin said, reading from the monitor.

"You did it right," Carroll said. "You did it perfectly."

Carroll said she enjoys interacting with participants, whether they're just honing existing skills or embarking on something entirely new to them.

"I feel like I'm learning things, as well," Carroll said.