The Denny Terrace Computer Lab is a very unique computer learning center. First of all, it is a “mini-lab,” housing three computers, a printer, a scanner and a copier. Also, the lab is managed by residents of the Denny Terrace building. Finally, and most importantly, volunteers showed overwhelming support for the lab and far surpassed the number of hours necessary for their Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund Grant.
The Denny Terrace Computer Lab opened its doors for the first time in early 2010 after being awarded a Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund Grant. After receiving confirmation that they were a Tech Matching Fund grant recipient, Denny Terrace formed the Denny Terrace Lab Committee to plan for and manage the lab. Seven residents volunteered to serve on this committee, and volunteered around 20 hours a week to make sure the lab met the needs of residents and was a successful venture.
Volunteers were necessary to have open lab time, and residents stepped in to fill the need. Not only did they volunteer to sign people in and out and monitor the stations during open lab time, they also offered help to lab users wherever they could. Denny Terrace’s final report reveals that that nearly fifty percent more hours were logged than required by the grant funding!
Prior to the lab opening, Project Coordinator Oscar Escalante and Community Builder Marcia Johnson, along with the Lab Committee, created a resident survey to assess the needs of residents. The first round of classes, taught by the Project Coordinator and the Technical Assistant, were well-attended. After getting feedback from class participants, the instructors made individual lesson plans according to the needs of the students, and topics ranged from Office 2007 to online business research to basic computer skills. It soon became clear that the DTLC needed to hire more instructors to meet needs of lab users.
Through the TMF grant, Denny Terrace was able to hire instructors to teach classes on essential computer skills. Two excellent instructors were hired: Galina Dadiomova and June Rhotan.
June Rhotan’s Excel classes were well-attended and helped the lab keep track of attendance. She taught two classes, the “Reporting Class” and the “Advanced Class.” The Reporting Class was designed to help volunteers use Excel for reporting data from the sign-in sheets and intake forms for the lab. The Advanced Class aimed to teach students to use Excel in a variety of ways, including creating spreadsheets and formulas.
Additionally, instructor Galina Dadiomova taught a six week cycle of general computer classes that students found very valuable. She taught both a basic computer course and an intermediate course on Microsoft applications. Amazingly, after completing the Basic Class, 100% of the students reported that they could easily work with the mouse and keyboard, and all had created email accounts. They also uniformly reported that they were able to perform basic internet searches and send/receive emails without problems.
Community building and outreach
The Denny Terrace Computer Lab has collaborated with the STAR Center and Jefferson Terrace. Additionally, residents can also find out about a variety of relevant services through the Resource Library, available in the lab.