Palmer Heads to College and Brushes Up On His Computer Skills

September 9, 2020

Palmer was starting his studies at Algonquin College and needed to brush up on his computer skills.

He has Alström syndrome (opens in a new window), explaining, “It mainly affects my seeing and hearing. So I have to wear hearing aids often. I am sensitive to light so I have to wear glasses. I have a bit of vision, but I can’t see print or colour.”

Palmer was looking to learn how to use screen reader JAWS (opens in a new window), as well as Microsoft Office programs — Word (opens in a new window), Excel (opens in a new window) and PowerPoint (opens in a new window) — that were on the PC he had recently bought.

“I had purchased a PC computer and didn’t know how to use a lot of the main applications,” he explains.

Distance Computer Comfort participant Palmer

He had learned about Neil Squire’s Distance Computer Comfort program and found a fit.

Palmer was paired with a tutor, John, a service engineer in his day job, and they worked together on a weekly basis.

“It was excellent. Just about everything was helpful. There was always something new,” Palmer says of the lessons.

Some weeks, the lessons he’d learn with John would have a direct effect on his coursework. For example, he was going through Excel applications with John while he was taking a computer course using similar applications, which greatly helped him in his assignments.

At times, when Palmer needed to learn a specific skill, he could email John and the next lesson would focus on that.

Palmer praises the online set-up of the Distance Computer Comfort program — student and tutor communicate remotely — as “very accessible.” One of the programs he used to do Distance Computer Comfort remotely was Teamviewer (opens in a new window). Now, due to COVID-19, he uses the program for remote coursework, with the help of a visual aide on the other side.

Today, he’s using the concepts he learned in Distance Computer Comfort and thriving.

“I think not coming to you might have made things a bit harder and more challenging,” he concludes.