An educational session at the five star Moughton Grange Hotel (500 acres of country pursuits, a superb restaurant and jacuzzis in every room), helping BritBreak's IT department heads with their PC literacy training.
Of course, the rest of the managers will attend the seminar at the three star Novabis (acres of Formica, a burger bar and views of the M40), but that, I am assured, is simply a matter of logistics.
Session one was PC basics. I think network manager Brian Finlay was joking when he picked up the mouse and talked to it, but I can't be sure. There was certainly no amusement for Arnold Potter, the DP manager, when he put a floppy disk in the drive upside down. The rest of the team kept practically straight faces as the drive produced interesting grinding noises and a replacement machine was organised. Security manager, Rufus Tanner, was least successful at suppressing a grin, but he lost that when he couldn't find a file and it turned out he'd managed to insert the diskette into the CD-ROM drive.
I used the Solitaire game to get the management team familiar with a GUI environment (as IT director, Mike Rapton said, the only GUI environment most of them had come across was their teenage children's bedrooms.) Again, I'm almost sure Brian Finlay was intending to entertain when he tried to point and click with his fingers. After a coffee break, we moved on to Email.
It became obvious that only Fiona Rhees, the desktop manager, had used Email before. She was soon winging off missives, but even the enthusiastic Rapton had serious problems with TVR's DittoMail. "Who chose this software?" he announced in thunderous tones as he once more managed to send the entire contents of his in-tray to the wastebin. There was an awful silence before Fiona sweetly pointed out that, while Email should be her responsibility, it was the technically challenged Brian Finlay who had made the decision.
Her smug triumph was eroded when she discovered that we were using a live network, and her little notes to the other managers telling them exactly what she thought of them had actually been delivered.
The afternoon was dedicated to word processing. The junior BritBreak IT managers are to learn touch typing, but it seemed unwise to recommend this for the top team. Instead I concentrated on producing memos and simple reports. All went well until they tried to open a document they'd already saved. I had unwisely assumed that they would understand directories.
In fact it went over the heads of all but Fiona, and I spent the rest of the day trying to get the concept of hierarchical trees across. In theory, I could have caught up on the second "advanced" day, but a crisis at BritBreak meant that the course was cut short. Even so, I feel that the management team had a rich learning experience.
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