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Seb Anthony

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Offline Internet Training


Teaching IT in the community (with laptops) I would welcome members suggestions on how i can simulate the world wide web without a telephone line. Does anyone know of reasonably priced programs that can cover the basics of search engines and sites etc?? Many thanks
Finola Cannam

6 Responses

  1. Free, but …
    The things you need are free, software-wise (eg Microsoft Personal Web Server and Perl, amongst many other possibilities). But setting this up convincingly on individual PCs would take a bit of time and require fairly expert knowledge.

    Can you network the laptops to a common server within the organisation or teaching venue? That would help a bit.

    Please contact me if you need further information.

    I’ll be interested to see if anyone knows of other options.

  2. Mirroring Sites?
    Depending on what you are planning to teach about the Internet, you could mirror several sites on either local machines or an internal server (an intranet).

    You could also have a web designer build a “mini” Internet (complete with search engine sites mirrored with limited search capability, since all of this is in house) to teach users how to navigate the web, conduct searches, and understand the basics of how the web works.

    Hope this helps.

  3. What kind of simulation?
    Hi Finola

    As Bob says, there’s software such as Personal Web Server and Apache Server that is free and will permit you to create your own web server on the laptops, but that’s barely the start perhaps. You mention search engines, and I think it would take a lot to construct offline versions of these.

    When you say simulation what exactly do you mean? For example, I produce IT training courses on CD-ROM, and one is on the Internet. I use video capture software to capture small movies that show exactly what users have to do to make a connection, browse, send e-mail, conference, and so forth. This is a kind of simulation.

    If possible, please provide more details of what you are hoping to accomplish.

    Kevin Walker
    Courses On Disk Limited

  4. response to IT training in the community

    Have you considered using the BBC’s Webwise programme? I have used it in the community and found it to be ideal for introducing beginners to the Internet. It covers getting connected, e-mailing, searching, bookmarking, making your own address book and the very basics of building your own web page.
    Find out more at
    Hope this helps.

  5. Offline Internet Training
    You have a problem and although some of the suggestions might work the answer is in two parts. The ECDL module 7 will provide the theory but in reality performing a search on the web needs to practical. So if you can provide the information there is enough low-cost/free web access available for your students to put this into practice.

    The other alternative is to get a monthly (free?)access account and ensure that your Laptops have a modem and use the students own phone line.

    We can provide the ECDL module on CD-ROM but would feel that for something like this really depends on how you run your training.

  6. Another suggestion
    Hi Finola,

    In a previous organisation that I worked for, the rules for Internet usage were very strict and even with restricted websites, the Meta search engines that we used, kept producing lists of pornographic sites during training sessions. We had searched simple topics like: ‘chocolate’.

    Most of our users were in their late thirties, forties and fifties and had avoided using the internet for fear that they would lose their jobs because they would accidentally open a restricted site.

    We could have replicated this environment but the users would not have taken it seriously. There was a sense of anticipation about learning how to safely surf the Internet during training sessions and psychologically breaking down the IT literacy barrier.

    Another consideration to remember maybe at the end of your course (to reduce your costs) is that there is nothing that replicates live Internet training like access to the Internet.

    A cheaper alternative to installing Internet access: Maybe you could visit an Internet café as an end of course ‘field excursion’. Internet cafés are inexpensive and would not rely on an expensive outlay nor security issues for you or your laptop users.



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