2016-04-06 / Features

Internet In Bloom For The Layperson

By Ted J. Bloom

Ted Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL.,CKMI., NP has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A librarian and professor with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include, creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a NYS Notary Public, SUNY Communications Instructor, a YMCA Director and a Certified Krav Maga Instructor.  His first book The Librarian's Guide to Employment in the Information Age is now available on Amazon.com and iTunes.Ted Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL.,CKMI., NP has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A librarian and professor with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include, creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a NYS Notary Public, SUNY Communications Instructor, a YMCA Director and a Certified Krav Maga Instructor. His first book The Librarian's Guide to Employment in the Information Age is now available on Amazon.com and iTunes.When you read a communication error was it an accident or a bait and switch tactic meant to entice you through the purposeful omission of facts?  For example, I was on the MTA subway (see www.mta.info for details) when I noticed an advertisement overhead by the New York City (NYC) Department of Education offering free adult classes if one goes to www.adultednyc.org for details.  So being curious about anything being offered for free, I typed the URL into my browser and noted the page it linked to had a different URL: www.oacenyc.org.  This was my first clue that something may be wrong, because most of the time when I surf online this URL switch does not occur.  OACE innocuously stands for Office of Adult and Continuing Education.  I perused the web page and clicked on the only link out of many that gave me specific information about the free adult education course being offered in NYC: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).

Basically, I discovered the only prerequisite is to be over the age of 21 and a NYC resident.  I poked around further, found a related phone number and called the office to find out what classes are being offered, when and where.  I was told I had to come in, in-person.  The price was right and I heard the person on the phone mention Web Page Design was one of the classes offered.    I visited the closest OACE office, where I was told I would have to make an appointment for placement testing to see if I qualified to register for the classes, which are taught year-round.  The small print on my appointment sheet mentioned the testing is five hours long and consists of math and reading.  As sheer luck would have it I picked up a brightly colored handout in the office that gave an overview of these "Tuition Free Classes."  This was a great stroke of luck where my endless curiosity about things paid off.  In small print under the eligibility question it stated information not listed on the MTA subway ad about who is eligible: "Any NYC resident 21 years of over without a US high school equivalency (HSE) or diploma may register."  This saved me the trouble of registering and making future trips there. Now you know why the MTA subway OACE advertisement described above seems deceptive.

However, if you do not have a GED (General Education Diploma) or HSED (High School Education Diploma) or a standard high school diploma, these classes are well worth your time and will save you the hefty cost of taking these courses elsewhere.  The classes offered are:

Basic Education, English of Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), High School Equivalency (GED/HSED), Digital Technology, A+ Certification (PC/MAC repair), Web Page Design, Microsoft Office and Computer Literacy.  Also omitted from the MTA subway ad is that if you are taking any Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes you may need to buy books and supplies.  Note: Residency documentation is not required but a picture identification card is.  For more details call OACE at (718) 638-2635 or email them at OACE@schools.nyc.gov.  Certified instructors teach OACE classes.  In case you are wondering, a HSED is similar to the older GED, except the HSED involves taking a greater number of total classes in such subjects as civics.

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