Internet Courses for Beginners

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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At its most basic level, the internet is a combination of millions (and maybe billions) of personal, business, and governmental computers that are all interlinked through phone lines, fibre optic lines and wireless connections. Logging on to the internet therefore gives users access to a vast store of information, and those who know how to use the internet and enrol in internet courses can easily shop, communicate, pay bills, check the news, manage finances, conduct business meetings, and entertain and educate themselves online.

It is possible to use the internet to retrieve information on everything and anything and it is all perfectly accessible from anywhere in the world through a range of everyday devices: TVs, gaming consoles, computers, laptops, and mobile devices can all be used as gateways to cyberspace.

What do internet courses involve

Indeed, it is easy for internet beginners to feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of online material at first blush. Even the glossary of terms can be intimidating instead of the magazines, newspapers and books, we now have servers, cookies, blogs, and browsers. And as the online world is, as yet, relatively new, there is still a sense of the ungoverned, unruliness of the Wild West about it: online users must therefore be vigilant of the abounding risks of accidentally downloading malicious software (known as malware ), or of clicking on fraudulent offers or requests from disreputable sources.

It is small wonder then that newcomers to all things online should need help in navigating the maze of information at their disposal. Thankfully, there are a plenty of part-time courses designed to improve your internet skills. These are recommended for anyone who is eager to jump in feet first: having a degree of familiarity with standard internet practices is advised before attempting online transactions or submitting personal details.

By enrolling on a part-time Internet for Beginners course you will learn how to perform basic tasks such as getting online, sending and receiving emails, transferring photos, downloading files, making online bookings, and banking and shopping online safely. You will also learn about the dos and don ts of surfing the net and how to ensure that your computer is well protected against viruses and other potential security threats.

Of course the internet wouldn t be the same without the ubiquitous presence of social media, and so learners will also get the chance to learn how to use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn both for personal and professional purposes.

And just in case any of this sounds a bit confusing or daunting, don t worry most course providers will begin by assuming that students have little or no computer experience and will offer guidance in a relaxed, informal atmosphere and at a leisurely pace; after all, participants are not there to be tested, they are there to learn.

Why do it

The internet has been compared to the Great Library of Alexandria in that it seeks to acquire and store all the world s knowledge in a single place. Yet the comparison now seems disproportionate as unlike the Great Library, the internet is unfettered by physical limitations and so continues to grow so that it now dwarfs the fabled third-century library s spectacular achievement.

This sustained level of growth is due to the fact that the vast majority of people (in the West at least) now use the web as a resource for carrying out commercial transactions, sharing information and opinions, searching for products, exploring trends, and communicating with friends and family. Online activity is now so widespread that having at least a fundamental knowledge of using the internet has become almost a necessity. Such knowledge is also empowering, as once you have picked up the basics, the world is but a click away.

What comes next

Ok, so maybe you won t be the next Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), but everyone has to start somewhere. Getting online can open up numerous possibilities: you might re-establish old friendships or begin new ones; or perhaps the wealth of information online will finally satiate your appetite for antique objects. You might even find yourself Skyping (communicating via video, voice and instant messaging) with family members on the other side of the world.

But aside from purely personal use, the internet also affords even intermediate users the chance to develop their company s online presence. And the more internet savvy you become, the more likely you will be to make this presence stronger.

At a glance

By doing a course in Internet Basics you will learn how to surf the web safely, shop and bank online, use email and social media and protect your computer from harmful viruses. Most Internet for Beginner s classes run for around 8 to 10 weeks.


Frank Bolger

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