Catherine Morgan is like many senior citizens when it comes to learning about computers. She has some experience with them, but fears new technology like the Internet.
"Most people are afraid of things they don't know," she said.
"I used a computer when I worked at Cornell (Medical Center in New York). That was fifteen years ago."
Mrs. Morgan and other seniors got a chance to overcome some of those fears Friday at a class sponsored by Duke Energy and Duke Engineering Services.
Students were instructed on Internet-access materials, such as a modem, monitor and computer hard drive. Class topics focused on Internet terminology and functions, in addition to how to browse the Internet and bookmark Web sites for future use.
"It's an important class," said Regina Orlosky, the director of the Senior Citizens Council Center in Augusta. "The seniors nowadays are not like the seniors 40 years ago, who didn't live that long. They want to play a vital role in the community and obtain information."
Seniors also use the Internet for e-mail, instructor Rob Gamble said.
"They use it to keep in touch with their kids and grandchildren," Mr. Gamble said. "Families are more spread out now than they used to be."
Computer skills are important for seniors when they enter the job market to make extra money, Mrs. Orlosky said.
"Everyone asks if you're computer literate," she said. "Seniors have a stigma that they can't do anything, but they can learn the same things that young people can. It takes them time, but they can do it."
Mrs. Morgan said she would use the Internet to research topics including books, medicine and recipes.
"I want to be with the times," she said. "I will be buying a computer."
Reach Albert Ross at (706) 823-3512.