Going global from the Hilltop
By Susan Manley MA ‘01
In the eight years I have worked at Bradley, I have coordinated educational workshops, taught computer classes to senior citizens, written grants, earned a master’s degree, taught English to undergraduates, created training manuals, written newspaper columns, and co-hosted a radio talk show. It has been quite a ride!
All these wonderful opportunities have made Bradley an outstanding place to work because professional growth has been afforded me at every turn. But there has been a theme in this seemingly disconnected progression, and it all began with music.
When I teach computer classes to senior citizens through Continuing Education, I often introduce myself to participants as a musician. “I was a band director at one time in my life, and I learned to teach my students how to play musical instruments in a series of logical steps. I apply the same methods to teaching people how to use computers,” I tell them. I wholeheartedly believe that my training as a band director has carried over to my computer teaching. Like band students, novice computer users have to learn new terminology and get the “feel” for their “instrument.” My job as a computer instructor is to help my computer students, largely senior citizens, feel comfortable with and successful at using their chosen “instrument” – a computer. And since I also write all the class handouts, my computer students benefit from having something to refer to once they leave class.
In fact, writing course handouts led me to the radio business.
In order to stay up-to-date for my classes, I sub- scribe to several computer-related newsletters. In December of 2003, I spotted a critical error in one of the newsletters and posted a correction on a forum board. Within a few hours, the editor contacted me and told me that he appreciated the correction. He also complimented me on my clear writing style and then asked if I would like to write an article for his newsletter. We agreed on a February, 2004 deadline, and my article on using cut, copy, and paste – along with a brief bio - was published on May 21, 2004.
What goes on in Las Vegas...
Less than a week later, I received an e-mail from John Iasiuolo, the host of a computer radio talk show from Las Vegas. John asked me if I would be interested in being a guest on his June 9 radio show for seniors, and I accepted his invitation. During the days preceding the first show, we had more opportunities to talk, and before my first appearance, John had asked me to be a regular co-host.
Our goals are a perfect match; we want to explain computer technology in plain English. John’s show, Computer Outlook, is nationally syndicated, and it airs live Monday through Friday on the Internet at computeroutlook.com at 7 p.m. CST. My show, which is entitled Seniors - Golden Rules, airs on the second Wednesday of each month and may expand to a second night in the near future. The show features interactive chat, live questions and answers, and because it’s a broadcast program, I now bring computer topics to seniors citizens all over the world … and I am doing even more writing.
I’ve put my Bradley University master’s degree in English to good use as a monthly contributor to the Las Vegas Business Press and the Las Vegas Senior Press. I write on a variety of computer-related topics, and I have had several more articles published in an online subscription newsletter called “Neat Net Tricks.” I’ve written several grant proposals for Bradley, and I am also working on a book to explain computer concepts to seniors.
And while it all began with music, my personal and professional growth has continued because I share an important value with the Bradley community: learning is a lifelong process.
No ‘phishing’ when ‘surfing’
If you receive an official-looking e-mail message that requests you to confirm financial account information on a Web site, don’t do it. Such e-mails come from unscrupulous people who want to gain access to personal financial data such as credit card numbers, passwords, and other confidential information.
“Phishing” is the practice of trying to get people to divulge account information, and up to 5 percent of all people fall prey to these fraudulent schemes.
For information on computer classes for seniors, visit www.bradley.edu/continue/css/snr.html.
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