By Megan Horst-Hatch

Whether you want to set up an email account to better stay in touch with relatives or need to improve your spreadsheet skills for a job, knowing the basic steps of using a computer is imperative. To get started, consider taking computer classes that are concurrent with your skill level. In the Chicagoland area, many community colleges and libraries offer courses and one-on-one sessions to help learn and fine tune computer skills. If you or someone you know wants to increase their computer knowledge, read on to find out how to improve these skills.



Wilbur Wright
City Colleges of Chicago
4300 N. Narragansett Ave.
Chicago, IL 60634
(773) 777-7900

For someone looking for a course covering the basics of how to use a computer, the computer literacy class at Wilbur Wright Community College can help. The class is through the college’s continuing education program and includes an introduction on how to use the Internet, Microsoft Office 97 and Corel WordPerfect. The course is designed to give students a basic approach regarding how to use computer programs for both personal computing and business purposes. To find out how to register, contact (773) COLLEGE for further information.

(Credit: College of Lake County's Facebook)

(Credit: College of Lake County’s Facebook)

College of Lake County
19351 W. Washington St.
Grayslake, IL 60030
(847) 543-2000

1120 S. Milwaukee Ave.
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
(847) 543-6501

Learning how to use the basics of a computer, such as operating the keyboard or moving the mouse, can be difficult for some people to master. For these beginners, the College of Lake County offers a class in its personal enrichment course category appropriately titled Unconditionally, Categorically, Totally Beginning Computer. The class is geared toward the true beginner and teaches computing basics, including how to turn the computer on and off, file management and basic Internet searching. Classes are held over five sessions on Fridays at the Grayslake campus and on Saturdays at the Southlake campus. The College of Lake County offers other computer classes as well, including how to design a video game, an introduction to using the iPad, how to use Microsoft Word and Excel and how to create a website.

(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chicago Public Library
Various Locations

Need some one-on-one assistance with setting up email or want to learn how to use the Internet to plan your next vacation? The CyberNavigators program through the Chicago Public Library is a resource to help both beginners and more advanced computer users learn the basics or hone new skills. The program can also assist library patrons with job searches and resume writing. Classes with CyberNavigators can last up to one hour and are available by appointment at 45 libraries throughout Chicago. For a list of locations and hours, refer to this site. Some locations offer classes in Spanish, Chinese or Polish. The program also offers group classes, with previous classes covering skills like email basics and how to use the keyboard and mouse.

(Credit: Elmhurst Public Library's Facebook)

(Credit: Elmhurst Public Library’s Facebook)

Elmhurst Public Library
125 S. Prospect Ave.
Elmhurst, IL 60126
(630) 279-8696

Need to learn PowerPoint for an upcoming presentation? The Elmhurst Public Library can help you out through its variety of computer classes. In addition to PowerPoint, students can learn how to use Microsoft Word and Excel. The library offers other computer-related classes, including how to use and send email, how to use Internet search engines and the basics of buying and selling on eBay. The library also provides a computer class that teaches the basics of operating a computer, including how to use a mouse and rename files. Anyone in high school or older can take the computer classes at the library. In-person registration is required to attend the classes.



Oakton Community College
1600 E. Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016
(847) 635-1808

From covering the basics of how to use a computer to learning about Facebook and designing apps, Oakton Community College offers several computer classes at its Des Plaines and Skokie campuses. Students can also take classes covering social media sites, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, and courses on how to effectively use Google. PC troubleshooting and business-oriented classes are also available through Oakton, including those that cover how to use cloud computing, video conferencing and how to create mobile apps. Discounts may be available for senior citizens. Contact Oakton for more information.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at