The unprecedented crisis facing the American workforce has two defining characteristics: a critical need for digital literacy as businesses struggle to continue operation virtually, and an overwhelming wave of newly unemployed people.

AlbanyCanCode’s Virtual Digital Literacy program was designed to create a bridge for underserved populations to take their first steps towards careers in technology. Now more than ever this program has the opportunity to change the lives of those who can participate.

Students in AlbanyCanCode’s Virtual Digital Literacy course will have a wide range of experiences and competencies, ranging from those who have used a computer frequently in a professional environment, to those who have rarely used a computer and feel very nervous about doing so. This class is intended to meet students wherever they are and help them meet their own personal goals, whether that is entry into our workforce computer programming courses or other employment opportunities.

The key to Digital Literacy is differentiated learning, ensuring that each student is getting the skills they need and that they are able to move at their own pace. The course will cover basic computer usage skills, a survey of software usage including word processing and spreadsheet use, use and management of email, and using the web to conduct productive internet searches to find reliable information and learning tools.

AlbanyCanCode is uniquely suited to provide this type of Digital Literacy training within this current environment of distance learning because our approach is hands-on and provides each student with 1:1 resources to solve problems as they arise at each student’s own pace.

Curriculum

While students in an AlbanyCanCode Virtual Digital Literacy course will move at their own pace and work towards individual goals, the following are the skills that we anticipate all students will master by the time they complete the course:

  1. Basic computer use, including
    1. Understanding Peripherals (ie. Using a keyboard, mouse, etc).
    2. Browsing files on the computer and understanding file pathing
    3. Identifying and using various web browsers
    4. Creating and saving documents
    5. Selecting, copying and pasting
    6. Typing skills
  2. Survey and usage of office productivity software tools, including Microsoft Office, Google Suite of tools or similar sets of software they may encounter in professional settings.
  3. Using and managing email, calendars
    Survey of virtual meetings tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts Meet
  4. Browsing the web, and how to conduct productive internet searches to find reliable information and learning tools.
  5. Understanding best practices for internet safety and security
  6. Understanding mobile device applications and mobile versions of software utilized in class

Students who have mastered these skills will be able to move on to the basics of computer programming in HTML and CSS.

Résumé Critiques

Although not all students who complete this course will choose a career in the tech sector, all students will benefit from displaying their newly acquired digital skills on their résumé. In addition to the course curriculum described above, each student will be given an opportunity to have a 30-minute 1:1 consultation to review their résumé or discuss how to communicate their new skills.

Employer Roundtables

As a CanCode Community cohort, participating students will be able to participate as audience members of all of our exclusive Employer Roundtable events, held virtually until further notice. Roundtables typically involve transparent discussions about hiring needs and workforce opportunities, and include capitol region employers as panelists for each discussion.

Duration

A cohort of up to 20 students will run for 10-weeks, consisting of 2 sessions per week, and 2 hours per session. This cost includes the communication software used for the duration of class, as well as the full subscription for Microsoft Office 365 suite for students to use on their home computer through September 15th, 2020.

Materials

Students will need to have access to computers. We will work with students during registration to confirm access to equipment and internet connectivity. We have an open channel of communication with Spectrum for providing internet free of charge for 60 days for students who do not have internet in their residence currently.

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