Extended Hiatus

This hiatus thing is working out a little too well. ūüėČ

As they say, Mother Nature abhors a vacuum. The hole in my schedule since I taught my last class has quickly been filled with other activities. Heather, Mike and I have discussed restarting classes but with a different format – one-on-one, tech talk, Q&A, custom classes, non-Oasis material classes, but have not hit on anything where we said “this looks good, let’s give it a try.” What wwe need the most is for people to let Heather at¬†Castle Shannon Library know what they would like to see from us.

So for now my hiatus continues. The problem is, the longer it goes, the harder it is to restart.

If there is a particular class, or even some type of “session” that you would like us to do, please let Heather know and if we get enough interest, we’ll schedule it.

In the mean time, enjoy this spring and summer.



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Time for a hiatus

Typically, in early July I meet with Heather, the head librarian at Castle Shannon Library, we plan the fall schedule and I post it on this blog. Heather also advertises it in a number of places as well as sending it to an extensive mailing list. The last few terms attendance in these classes has been falling. This past Spring term was a total bust. Out of nine scheduled classes Mike and I taught only two classes; one with two students and one that started out with three. Two students is our minimum for holding the class. Of the other seven classes, either no one signed up or only one did, forcing us to cancel.

I understand that the waning attendance has not just been at Castle Shannon Library but is a nationwide trend. Oasis and at least some other teaching centers are addressing this trend by teaching one-on-one classes that have been customized in content and length to exactly what that student is interested in.

This drop ¬†in attendance is disappointing to me as I have been teaching Oasis Connections Technology classes two terms a year for five years and I’m not sure I’m ready to teach customized classes. From the two times that I taught a one-on-one class (before the two-student minimum) I found that a single student can become very demanding in what they want. It is not something I want to deal with at this time.

So I will not say adieu to all of you. Mike and I are going to take a break and see what transpires with Oasis Connections Technology. I will stay in touch with Amy at Oasis and Mike and I may surface at Castle Shannon Library or another Pittsburgh South Hills library in a year or so.

It has been my pleasure to teach these classes and help bring seniors fully into the digital age. Please feel free to email me at instructor.harvey@gmail.com.



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Microsoft Excel Online

Excel Online does for spreadsheets what Word Online does for documents ‚Äď give you an easy way to create and modify them. Templates include lists, money management, budgeting, loan calculator, credit card payoff calculator, household organizer, daily schedule, travel expense tracker, sales tracker, trip planner‚Ķ and more.¬†In this course we will learn about the various tabs and their associated ribbons. We will learn how to input and edit data in cells, how to easily use formulas to do the math work for you and how to format dates, numbers and text. We will also cover cell references.

Microsoft Excel Online is free!

Also see the Microsoft Office Online tab (page) on this website.

This 3-session class starts Wednesday June 7th at 10:15 am. See the Schedule tab for the full schedule.

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Filed under Microsoft Excel Online, Microsoft Office Online, Oasis

Microsoft Word Online

Word Online from Microsoft is totally free (though the class is not) and runs in a browser. It allows you to create documents ‚Äď letters, resumes, project task lists, reports, calendars, trip planners, event flyers, meeting minutes‚Ķ and more. There are numerous templates that are already created and available for your use that you can modify with your content. In this course we will learn about the various tabs and their associated ribbons. We will also review different methods of text formatting and cutting, copying and pasting blocks of text, using both menus and the most common keyboard shortcut keys.

Also see the Microsoft Office Online tab on this website.

This 3-session class starts Wednesday, May 31st. See the Schedule tab for all dates and times.

Like all Oasis courses, it is being taught at Castle Shannon Library. Maximum of six students.

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Filed under Castle Shannon, Connections Technology, Library, Microsoft Word Online, Oasis

Introduction to Computers

This 4-day course is being taught starting Monday, May 15th (see the Schedule for all dates and times).

Are you a senior or know someone who is struggling with technology in general and computers in particular? Absolutely no prior computer experience is necessary for this course but it goes into the concepts deeply enough that even with some experience you are going to learn a lot. We start with basic computer skills (day 1), learn how to work with Windows (day 2), move on to Windows skills, including file organization (day 3), and wrap up with exploring the Internet, including Internet safety (day 3). This course is based on Windows 7, but even if you have Windows 10, you will still find this class to be very worthwhile and the student workbook covers both Windows 7 and Windows 10.

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Filed under Castle Shannon, Computer, Connections Technology, Oasis, Technology, Windows 10, Windows 7

Digital Photography

Tired of having film developed? Want to share photos electronically via email and the Internet? Considering buying a digital camera or smartphone? In this course you will learn about the advantages of digital photography and the equipment and features you need to know about when buying a digital camera or smartphone. You will also get a brief introduction to software and websites for organizing, editing and sharing digital photos.

Sharing photos, including selfies, are now a part of everyday life. Facebook users post 350 million new photos each day. Instagram post post over 40 million.

Join the digital photography age for this 3-session class starting Monday May 8th at the Castle Shannon Library. See the Schedule tab for details.

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Filed under Connections Technology, Digital Photography, Oasis, Smartphone

iOS 10 for iPad and iPhone

Our next iPad class is coming up starting April 17th and runs for 9 sessions. It also includes the iPhone (same iOS 10, some differences due to hardware. Maye you bought a new iPad or iPhone or received one as a gift. Maybe you received a hand-me-down iPad or iPhone from one of your children or grandchildren. Want to know more about how to use it? Come to this class.This course covers most everything about the iPad and iPhone from the basics of the hardware and buttons. to various settings, screen layouts, app groups, notifications, the Apple store, Siri, the cameras, photos and videos, messaging, iBooks, email, Safari, contacts, Facetime, podcasts, music, iCloud Drive… and more.

If you have an iPad and an iPhone, bring them both.

Please be sure your iPad or iPhone is on the latest iOS 10 release and that it is fully charged before coming to class. Some devices stop at iOS 9 or earlier. Just update to whatever the latest version your device can support.

We will try to point out differences between the iPad and iPhone as we go along.

Depending on how many people sign up, the class will either be upstairs at the tables at the back of the library or downstairs in the large room.

For specific dates, see the Schedule tab at the top of this page.

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Filed under Castle Shannon, Cloud, Connections Technology, iPad, iPhone, iPhone, Library, Oasis, Technology


This 5-session course starts on Monday, April 3, 2017 and uses the upstairs Windows computers. There are Facebook apps for mobile devices and Windows 10, but since Facebook runs in an Internet browser (IE, Edge, Chrome, et al) it¬†can be used on any computer or computing device. It is extremely popular on mobile devices (phones and tablets) and there are¬†Facebook apps available for¬†virtually every device. Check out the app store for your device. There are even¬†Facebook apps that come with today’s smart TVs DVD/Blu-ray players and Apple TV/Roku/Chromecast devices. And it is available¬†on the new generation of smart watches and other wearable computers.

Facebook allows you to connect with friends and relatives in a completely different way than email or texting. Facebook uses a publishing model, but one where you control who can see your posts. Face is great for posting status updates (comments on whatever you wish to comment about), links to websites (all of those funny cat videos, retro music and gorgeous landscapes), pictures and videos. Facebook also allows you to comment on your friends’ postings, or simply to “like” them. Your profile can divulge as much or as little about yourself as you would like.

Facebook is a great way to keep up with the daily lives of your children, grandchildren and other relatives and friends that live in far away places.

Facebook also has apps, usually games, that run within Facebook. Two of the most popular are Words with Friends and Candy Crush. You might also want to check out Farmville and Mafia Wars. And it has its own messaging (texting) system, making is easy to message friends directly through Facebook.

Maybe you’re already on Facebook but only look at posts but never post anything yourself, i.e. you’re a Facebook voyeur. Step out of the shadows, come to class and become a full Facebooker, commenting on your friends’ posts and creating ones of your own.

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Filed under Castle Shannon, Connections Technology, Facebook, Library, Oasis, Social Media, Technology, Web Based

Windows 10

In this 5-session class starting March 27th, learn about Microsoft’s newest, current and last¬† Operating System – Windows 10. There are many new features, particularly if you are coming from a Windows 7, XP or earlier PC. And if you are coming from Windows 8/8.1, gone are the biggest annoyances.

This is a hands-on, bring your own device (BYOD) class, so if you have a laptop or Windows tablet that is running Windows 10, bring it with you. Haven’t bought a new laptop or you have a non-portable desktop¬† or all-in-one PC? – Come anyway and look on with someone else.

This course requires at least a rudimentary familiarity with PCs and Windows (any version).

If you have a Windows 10 PC, particularly a laptop, you will want to come to this class to learn more about Windows 10. Make sure you know your Windows logon ID and password.

Unless otherwise noted, this class will be in the large open room downstairs (depending on the number of people).


Filed under Castle Shannon, Computer, Connections Technology, Library, Oasis, Technology, Windows 10

Email using Gmail.com

This 4-session course (each session is a 2 hours) is being taught starting Wednesday, March 15th (see the Scheduled for all dates and times).

This is a separate 4-day follow-up course to Introduction to Computers but is for everyone who is new to email or just wants to get more out of email. In this course you will learn the basics, and then some, of email using a free online version of Google’s popular Gmail (gmail.com). Everyone will receive a gmail.com email address unless you already have one.

While this class is taught using computers and a browser for accessing mail, if you have a smartphone or tablet, bring it and we will integrate using Gmail on mobile devices into the class. Either the devices’ built-in mail apps or the Gmail app can be used on a mobile device. Likewise, any mail app on a PC or Mac can be used for Gmail but we will be teaching it using a browser as this is something that every computer has.

While this course uses gmail.com, the principles apply to almost every email program. Only the mechanics are different. You just need to look around to find them in a different email program.

We will cover email providers and programs, sending and receiving email, creating and using folders for email organization, email etiquette, privacy & security, sending, forwarding and replying to single and multiple recipients, using cc and bcc, creating and using the address book/contacts/people list, editing, deleting and restoring contacts and emails, setting up and sending to a contacts group, dealing with spam, sending and receiving attachments, and opening and saving attachments.

Why did we switch from teaching Outlook.com to Gmail? 1) The Gmail course curriculum is supported by Oasis and Outlook.com isn’t. 2) While the Gmail interface in a browser is more confusing that Outlook.com, many people now send and receive their email on their phone, tablet or in a separate program like Microsoft Mail or Outlook (not to be confused with Outlook.com). This mitigates the more confusing Gmail browser interface.

Already know how to do all these things? Congratulations! Ask me about becoming an Oasis Connections instructor.

If you already have an email address, please be sure that you know your ID and password before coming to class, or write them down to bring with you.


Filed under Connections Technology, Oasis, Technology, Web Based