Improving Computer Skills

Improving your computer skills will help you to use technology more effectively in your course work. The topics in this section are meant to provide "how to" information that will help you overcome basic challenges you may face when working online.

Basic Computer Skills

Are you new to using computers? Do you wonder what people mean when they say the cloud, Windows, ISP, or app? Perhaps you just want to know more about how computers work.

  • When it comes to learning today's technology, the Computer Basics tutorial from GCFLearnFree.org has all of the basic concepts covered.
  • Never used Google before? Need a few tips on how to improve your search skills? Learn a few tips and tricks to help you easily find information with How to search on Google.

Cyber Security

Home networks have become more complex than ever before. We are connecting more devices to our home networks and doing more things with them. Lethbridge College has some Cyber Security Tips to help you create a more secure home network.

Keyboarding

Keyboarding is a very helpful skill for completing assignments or participating in online learning activities. If you would like to improve your keyboarding skills, check out the available practice sites and tutorials:

Office Tools

Office tools such as Microsoft Office or Google Drive are a necessary part of online learning. Over time you will become very familiar with how they function and will learn how to use many of their capabilities. For an extensive set of computer tutorials that demonstrate basic computer functions through pictures, check out: In Pictures: Online computer tutorials based on pictures.

For additional support, explore these available tutorials:


Word Processing

Microsoft Office

Google Docs


Presentations

Microsoft Powerpoint

Google Slides


Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel

Google Sheets


Cloud Services

Microsoft One Drive

Google Drive

Mind-mapping Tools

When you are working in a traditional or online course, there is a great deal of information to manage. Mind-mapping tools can help you be more effective in your studies by allowing you to brainstorm, create outlines, or manage research and documentation. For more information on mind mapping and to download free programs, check out the following sites:

  • Check out Inspiration at www.inspiration.com where you can download a free 30 day trial of the software.
  • Bubbl.us is a collaborative tool that is very user-friendly. Find it at http://bubbl.us/.
  • Or, you might want to try XMind, a free mind mapping tool that runs on both Mac and PC computers and is available from: www.xmind.net.
  • Alternatively, you may want to try Mindomo, which is a collaborative mind mapping tool available at www.mindomo.com. You may use the basic tool for free or pay a minimal fee for extra features.
  • InstaGrok is an interactive search engine for learning that shows how important ideas connect using a graphical concept map. It's available online at www.instagrok.com/, as well as for iOS and Android. Users can:
  • Click on connected concepts to focus on what’s most important to them
  • Adjust the results to suit their level of expertise
  • Read key facts, visit relevant websites, view images, watch videos, and take quizzes
  • Customize the concept map by pinning important information to it
  • Share customized maps via email and across the web

Note-taking Tools

Online note-taking tools can help you to create class notes, organize them and share them with your peers. Effective note-taking strategies can significantly impact your success. For some strategies and suggestions for note-taking, visit the Study Skills section of the eLearning Cafe website. And, explore these online note-taking tools:

Social-bookmarking Tools

To manage your favourite links or research, you may want to explore a social book-marking website. These websites allow you to collect, organize and share websites that are important to a particular topic:

  • Delicious is an easy-to-use and searchable bookmarking site.
  • Diigo is an excellent research tool that allows you to organize and annotate your research links.

Using Windows & Mac

Understanding basic operating system functions will enable you to manage the information on your desktop or laptop. 

Some examples of common functions are using dual screens, minimizing windows, saving to the desktop and creating shortcuts. If you would like to improve your understanding of basic operating system functions, check out the tutorials below:

  • gcflearnfree.org/topics/windows/ provides a quick tutorial on the various Windows operating system. Simply select the tutorial for your version of the software: Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10.
  • gcflearnfree.org/topics/macos/ provides a quick tutorial on the various Mac OS X operating system. Simply select the tutorial for your version of the software: Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, or Sierra.

Using Mobile Devices