Gloria Lawlah, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Aging (MDOA) has made it part of her mission to help older Marylanders become comfortable with computers – from PCs to smart phones. These technologies keep us connected to family and friends, and they are essential to accessing public and private services needed by seniors. Her drive to make this happen, sooner rather than later, has led to a partnership with Towson University’s Continuing & Professional Studies (CPS). The MDOA and CPS are working together to create a curriculum introducing older adults to computers and the internet.
On September 4, 2013, CPS delivered a pilot Internet Literacy Program at the Baltimore Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc in Baltimore City. Twenty seniors, ranging in age from 65 to 83, attended. The curriculum focused Computer Basics, Email, Accessing the Maryland Access Point Website, online searching, and fraud and security protection. Stephanie Hutcheson (CPS Curriculum Writer and Trainer) energized participants with her love for technology, and put those nervous to be using the computers at ease with good humor. Participants practiced on individual laptops provided by CPS. The feedback from the program was outstanding! One participant summed up the training saying it was “off the hook.” Many stayed after to ask about future installments and identified groups they thought would benefit from the training.
With the success of the pilot CPS and the Department of Aging are ready to kick-off the Internet Literacy Program throughout the State! Starting October 1st CPS will be visiting 20 sites throughout Maryland (from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore), to deliver the program. We look forward to being a part of Secretary Lawlah’s mission, and continuing our partnership with the MDOA.