The News Site of Fresno City College

Evolving Technology Poses Challenges for Older Students

April 5, 2017

Students typically enroll in college classes right after high school, and most are up-to-date with the technology used in the classroom.

For older students, including those changing careers, veterans transitioning out of the military and people just wanting to expand their education, the technology used in a typical classroom can present a challenge.

In 2012, approximately 28 percent of the student population of two-year colleges were 30 years or older, according to a National Postsecondary Student Aid study, and the majority of these students start or come back to school without a vast knowledge in technology.

According to the Fall 2015 information on the Institutional Research site of the State Center Community College District, 24 four percent of all students attending Fresno City College are 30 years old or older.

The Tutorial Center at FCC helps out individuals who need help with problems like getting into their Canvas accounts or setting up their student email accounts, but there are no specific programs aimed at helping older students with their technology challenges.

The computer lab in the LI building, next to the Tutorial Center, is where many students go to use computers when on campus; this is also where CIT tutor Daniel Soriano helps students who need assistance with technology issues.

“Older students usually come in needing help catching up with newer technology,” Soriano said. “They have no problem using technology for the basics, but they usually need help with newer functions, because technology is always changing.”

Soriano also said that these older students sometimes get frustrated because “they’re doing things right, and the computer is the one with the problem.” It is usually at this point that the challenged students seek help.  

He added that even students who come in with some technology background from previous careers or schools, may still find it difficult to cope with current technology.

“The thing that I found the most difficult about coming back to school is the way they have the software setup,” Steve Barton, who had previously worked in the technology industry, said. “It is taking me a while to learn, and I haven’t found anyone who has been able to help me.”

Barton also said that the language of some of the technology he had encountered previously has changed.

“So I need to learn current terms,” Barton said. “I would like to see more people interact with the software provided by the school.”

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