Computer Group and
Computer Owners' Forum
Survey to Assess Interests
We thank all those who completed and returned the survey forms.  Through your replies, we have tried to find out what computer topics members find of interest and how we should focus our meetings and instruction.  This is a report on what we found out.  Included are our comments on the eight True or False questions included in the survey.
Summary:

Two groups were surveyed - members of the Computer Group (CG), and the Computer Owners' Forum (COF) attendees who were not also members of the CG, "i.e. (COF/Not CG)".  Both expressed some interest in the topics of copy and paste (Questions 1 and 3), file extensions (Question 2), and word processing (Question 6).  Most respondents did not understand the function of computer memory (Question 4) and the finer points of email delivery (Question 5).  Compared to the CG, the (COF/Not CG) group appears to be slightly more motivated to explore topics.

We could best improve out meetings and instruction by more coverage of basic file handling, email, operating systems,
MS Office apps and browsing the web.
Distribution and Replies:

We distributed 209 forms to members of the CG and 104 forms to COF attendees who were not also members of the CG (COF/Not CG).  We received questionnaires in various stages of completion from only 17% of the CG members and 23% of the COF/Not CG attendees.  Nevertheless, these responses provide useful insights into the knowledge and interest of these groups.  We will try to respond to them in our meetings and courses.

Included on the survey were 8 questions with the reply options of "True", "False" or "Don't know" (see the individual questions below).  Of the 288 (8 x 36) possible "True", "False" or "Don't know" replies from the CG and the 192 (8 x 24), 184 were completed by CG members and 119 by COF/Not CG attendees.  Of the completed items, 57% of CG respondents answered correctly as did 61% of the
COF/Not CG respondents.


Distribution and Replies - Result Details:
Group Distributed Percent
Replied
(Number)
Total
Questions
Asked
Total
Number
Answered
Percent
Right
(Number)
CG 209 17% (36) 288 (8 x 36) 184 57% (104)
COF/Not CG 104 23% (24) 192 (8 x 24) 119 61%   (73)


What do you want to know?

For the 8 questions, 76 of the CG responses were "Include" and 39 were "Don't care".  The same numbers for the
COF/Not CG group were 93 and 22.  That they both add to 115 is a coincidence.

On none of the questions did a majority of the respondents suggest including the topic of the question in our lessons.  But even fewer said that they did not care, except in the CG group for Question 5, where 6 suggested including it and 6 did not care.  This was also true for respondents who marked a question as "Don't know".  More wanted to "Include" the item than the number who said "Don't care", except for the CG Group in Question 2, where 2 suggested including it and 2 did not care.


Question #
(The text of the
questions is
below)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Totals
"Include",
("Don't
Care")
CG
"Include"
"(Don't care")
11
(7)
13
(5)
12
(5)
7
(5)
6
(6)
13
(6)
5
(4)
9
(1)
76
(39)
COF/Not CG
"Include"
("Don't care")
15
(1)
14
(2)
15
(1)
10
(5)
10
(5)
15
(1)
6
(5)
8
(2)
93
(22)
CG - Percent
"Include" of
115 answers
10% 11% 10% 6% 5% 11% 4% 8% 66%
[of 115 total
answers]
COF/Not CG
Percent
"Include" of
115 answers
13% 12% 13% 9% 9% 13% 5% 7% 81%
[of 115 total
answers]

Individual Questions:


Question 1 You can copy a folder in a Word document - False
  Right Wrong Don't Know
CG 11 10 14
COF Only 3 5 15
 
You can copy email links and web addresses into a MS Word document, but you cannot copy a folder into it.  Try it.  Set up a test document and a test folder and see for yourself.  To protect other folders on your system, use the Copy and Paste commands on the right click menus.  Most of our courses cover copy and paste operations.


Question 2 A file extension is assigned to a file when the file is created - True
  Right Wrong Don't Know
CG 20 0 13
COF Only 11 1 11
 
File extensions are the three or more letters that follow the dot at the end of a file name.  File extensions do not show, unless you yourself set your computer to display them.  Files are created using particular programs or applications.  Windows uses file extension to determine what kind of file it is.  It then associates the file with the program or application that created it and that handles it.  For example, when you ask Windows to open the file named My Letter.docx, it examines the file extension .docx.  Windows then activates Microsoft Word and Word then opens My Letter.docx.  It is not surprising that almost everybody checked the correct answer, as the wording of the question hints at it.  Despite that, of those who marked this item, more than a third in the CG and nearly a half in COF/Not CG indicated that they did not know.  We deal with this matter often in our meetings and in some detail the Intermediate course.


Question 3 Once something is copied to the clipboard, it can then be pasted several times into different documents. - True
  Right Wrong Don't Know
CG 16 2 14
COF Only 10 0 12
 
The Copy command places a selected item onto the Clipboard and it remains there until the next Cut or Copy.  The Paste command places the contents of the Clipboard at wherever you clicked to place the mouse pointer.  You can copy text, files, file names, links, shortcuts, and other objects.  Almost all of those who marked the item as True or False did so correctly, but the number of those who did not know is high.  We can demonstrate the procedure in meetings and we cover it in our courses.


Question 4 The size of a computer's memory determines the number of documents or other information that you can store on the computer - False
  Right Wrong Don't Know
CG 5 23 6
COF Only 4 19 0
 
When the computer is turned off, what is in the computer's memory disappears.  So memory cannot store information persistently.  To do that, computers use drives.  The bigger the drive, typically the hard drive, the more information the computer can hold.  Memory is where the computer places and processes the information on which it is working.  Almost nobody understood this and the respondents seemed quite sure of their wrong answers.  This topic is dealt with in some detail in our Handbook that all members of the CG receive.


Question 5 The @ sign in every email address separates the log in name for the account from the name of the program that shows the email on your computer. - False
  Right Wrong Don't Know
CG 0 29 5
COF Only 3 16 5
 
The text that follows the @ sign in an email address denotes the service or company that handles the recipient's email.  A variety of software is used to display the email on your computer, but that has no bearing on what is after the @ sign.  Even though email is the most common computer activity that our members engage in, almost none of the respondents seem to understand what happens when they send email and few were aware of their misunderstanding.  We do not cover this in detail in our courses, but it is a very suitable topic for discussion in meetings.


Question 6 There is a way to find the hidden codes in Microsoft Word documents that affect how text is displayed. - True
  Right Wrong Don't Know
CG 5 2 26
COF Only 4 0 19
 
Most of those responding said they did not know.  On the Home tab of the Word Ribbon is the Show/Hide button.  Clicking on it displays hidden codes.  This is another good topic for our meetings. Show / Hide Button
Show / Hide Button


Question 7 Information stored on the hard drive is lost whenever the power is turned off. - False
  Right Wrong Don't Know
CG 31 0 3
COF Only 22 1 0
 
Almost everyone answered Question 7 correctly and only 3 did not know.  This is general knowledge, familiar to our audience.  Strangely, little of this knowledge was carried over to help with Question 4 that most everyone got wrong.


Question 8 It is safe to open email attachments when the sender's address is that of a relative or a good friend. - False
  Right Wrong Don't Know
CG 16 14 2
COF Only 16 4 3
 
Malicious programs sometimes infect computers and gather personal information stored on them.  Some such may have accessed the contact lists stored on your relatives' or friends' computers and then sent out email in their name.  That email may contain the very same or other malicious programs that will then infect your own computer.  Several of the participants at our meetings have reported this and we should continue to remind those who attend.  The high number of "Wrong" replies in the CG group is striking.  We should emphasize this issue.


Topics of Interest:

The following numbers of respondents suggested including the topics specifically listed on the survey.  We expected the rather high interest in Email, but we did not anticipate that Operating Systems would be the next most often marked topic.  Basic instruction in Windows 7 and in Email is offered in our Starters and Intermediate courses.  The CG has been offering courses in Windows 7 and 8.1.  These courses, as well as one in Windows 10, will be offered in April 2016.  Also available are courses in MS Word and in Excel (spreadsheets).  PowerPoint instruction can be scheduled by request.  We also teach photo editing, desk top publishing (computer graphics) and web page design using HTML programming.  To enroll in any of these, consult the posters on the Community bulletin boards and on the Computer Lab door and contact the persons listed there.


Distribution Operating
Systems
Web
Browsing
Email MS
Office
Apps
Other
Apps
Hard-
ware
Soft-
ware
Total
CG 10 13 17 12 8 3 5 68
COF/Not CG 13 8 17 10 8 7 9 72
Total 23 21 34 22 16 10 14 140