Learning is habit-forming
Learning is habit-forming. Just when I got done learning something about teaching (really, scratching the proverbial surface...) along comes web page design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) There is so much fun stuff to learn about getting a web page online, doing a blog, and getting on the Google, MSN, and Yahoo lists for computer searches.
Talking about computers, I believe more and more non-traditional students are becoming computer literate. When I first started college again (two years ago), I realized that some other non-traditional students did not regularly use a computer. It was hard for some of them to follow along with the class, especially when some information was on the Blackboard, a special student site where some professors at Western Kentucky University put assignments, syllabi and due dates. They were just lost. They could not get messages about class.
One time they didn't get advance warning about a "pop quiz" that was announced via email. Everyone else had opened their email and found out about it, but not these students.
I felt sorry for them. They eventually learned more about their class email, but in the meantime, their grades suffered.
I think that's another important consideration for non-traditional students to be aware of when they consider going back to school. I would suggest brushing up on computer skills at least six months before school starts, if possible. Non-trads should buy a "Computers for Dummies" book or another easy-to-follow mini-course and make sure that they know how to:
1. Log in to any special class sites
2. Research online and use search keywords
3. Register online, if necessary
4. Use email to contact other students and teachers.
It helps to be able to type. I remember learning on an old-fashioned typewriter. I still push too hard on my computer keys. I guess that stems from pushing so hard on the typewriter. It used to be that you HAD to push hard to go through all the carbons sometimes.
My favorite typing program is Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. One of my clients used it and improved his typing speed by at least 30 words per minute, and it didn't take more than three weeks.