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Tales of a former software instructor

By Beth Blakely ·


I used to teach software to the old and young, the quick and slow, and
the willing and forced (by their supervisors). Nothing was worse than
facing a room full of sour faces at 8 a.m. knowing that I'd have to
drag them through eight hours of training, whether they liked it or
not. Of course, I usually won people over with my sparkling personality
and natural charm. The others required something more: actual learning.

Sometimes I'd have seasoned computer geeks in my more rudimentary
classes. They were usually part of a small company whose management had
decided that everyone must take x, y, and z courses. They'd come in
looking bored, immediately start tinkering with the workstations, and
pay me the least amount of attention possible. It was always a personal
victory if I was able to pull a rabbit out of my hat and actually teach
these guys something they could use.

It didn't have to be a huge thing. For example, I can remember
mentioning to several folks that you could just type any word--Amazon,
for example--into IE's address bar and hit [Ctrl][Enter] to
automatically add the "http://www." and ".com" before and after. It's a
tiny thing, but it can save you a lot of time if you use it

There was nothing greater than seeing the surprised smile on those pros
faces when they realized I'd actually shown them something useful.

So this week, fair bloggers, I challenge you to post your favorite tip
or trick in a blog post. Share the wealth of your knowledge! You never
know who you might help.

In the mean time, use this discussion to share your true tales of
teaching tech. I'll make the first post to get you started, as I have
an amusing anecdote about teaching Advanced Word.

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Teaching Advanced Word

by Beth Blakely In reply to Tales of a former softwar ...

As promised, here's my true tale of teaching...

I was working for a New Horizons Computer Learning Center and had been assigned the delightful duty of teaching an Advanced Word class on Saturday. I was already depressed to be cooped up indoors on a bright, beautiful day. I figured that I'd be done early, though, as I only had eight students, all from the same company. Plus, this was Advanced Word, meaning that the students should have either taken the Beginning and Intermediate classes, or be extremely familiar with the program.

I introduced myself and the agenda for the day. Everything seemed to be going well. The folks were surprisingly perky for 8 a.m.

I asked the class to open a blank Word document so we could begin the first exercise. I knew I was in trouble when a woman in the front row looked very confused and asked, "What's that black line flashing at me?"

It was her cursor.

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by apotheon In reply to Teaching Advanced Word

That's gotta suck.

By the way:
I'd been using that IE trick for years (the <Ctrl>+<Enter> thing). When I made the migration to Firefox (actually still Firebird at the time), I noticed that Mozilla's new baby had extended that functionality. With Firefox, in addition to:

for .com websites

You can also use:

for .net websites

for .org websites

It always frustrates me to be forced to use IE for a few minutes and discover (again) that the other two such shortcuts don't work there: only the .com works on IE.

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That's what I'm talking about!

by Beth Blakely In reply to ouch

Little tips like that save a lot of time.

I find that most of the sites I visit are .com anyway, so at least it's the very rare exception for me to be using IE AND hit a .org or .net site.

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since you liked that one . . .

by apotheon In reply to That's what I'm talking a ...

The following work in both IE and Firefox:

<Alt>+<left arrow>
same as the "back" button

<Alt>+<right arrow>
same as the "forward" button

same as the "stop" button

same as the "refresh" or "reload" button.

in Firefox only:

open a new, empty tab

<Ctrl>+<left click>
open link in a new tab

close current tab (also closes the browser if no additional tabs are open)

cycle through open tabs in your browser

There's more, of course, but it tends to start getting more complicated and less commonly used after that.

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by Jaqui In reply to since you liked that one ...

keyboard shortcuts work in all mozilla browsers ( I've been using them since mozilla first added tabbed browsing )
they also work for netscape

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not exactly

by apotheon In reply to these

Last I checked, they don't all work in all Mozilla/Netscape browsers. Some only work in Firefox, as I recall. In particular, I think the stuff for completing URLs doesn't work in Mozilla Suite or Netscape.

I don't use non-Firefox browsers often enough to remember off the top of my head exactly which don't work where.

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