Seniors Gateway to Legal Information & Resources

September 23, 2020


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"Seniors Legal Information Providers"

Basic Internet Use Skills Training - Outline

1.     Introductions: a round, the trainers and our approach

2.     Reminder: no food and drink in lab. Washrooms and other housekeeping information . . .

3.     Program: Seniors Gateway to Legal Information & Resources project, This training is for the "Seniors Legal Information Providers” Seniors Gateway Portal training later

4.     Training materials: Seniors Gateway to Legal Information & Resources handout

5.     Hardware: computer, modem, server etc.

6.     Software: operating systems like Windows and communication applications like Internet Explorer

7.     Windows: how the mouse works, open file, minimize, maximize and close

8.     How to connect to the Internet: Dependent on how the volunteer’s organization systems administrator has set things up.

9.     Text that is greyed out indicates material that is of interest but is not critical to the training.

10.                         A glossary of terms for words related to the Internet that you do not understand is attached.


Introducing the Internet

1.     What is the Internet? network of computers; a community of millions of users

2.     What is the Internet used for? sharing and exchanging information - collaboration; publicity, promotion and marketing; acquiring knowledge, research; personal communication; fundraising; advocacy and e-commerce

3.     Three major components of the Internet:

·         World Wide Web (www) - a network of computer documents arranged and posted publicly for anyone to access (this is the piece of the internet that we will be concentrating on).

·         E-mail - the Internet is used to transfer your e-mail message to anyone else who has a computer hooked up to the Internet.

·         Newsgroups - large "bulletin boards" for reading and posting messages from and to people all over the world

Introducing the World Wide Web

1.     Web Site Addresses - URL's - universal resource indicator. Broadest area of the address is on the left and it becomes progressively more specific as you move to the right

2.     The web browser's four main components: a menu bar; a navigation bar, a location bar, and a display window

3.     How the Mouse works on the Internet: hyperlink - leads to a new page; new page - leads to a new page within the same web site; e-mail addresses - leads to an e-mail composition page; hot spot - produces special functions such as animation, music, etc.

4.     Bookmarks (or favourites): keep a record of the URL – bookmark everything you may want to revisit!



  • Type the URL into the location box to view some search tool alternatives. Bookmark it!
  • Use the navigation bar to go back and forth between pages.

Advanced Navigation Techniques and WWW Features

Introduction to Search Tools - programs, which help you, find information you want from the web. Two general types:

1.     Web Guides (catalogues or subject indexes): choose a subject from a list, and go down to your exact topic of interest

2.     Search Engines: type a specific word or phrase into a box and submit it - the engine will return all pages with a match

3.     Further reading: Search Tools and Techniques

Web Guides:

1.     Selected sites organized for easy access, like a TV guide; not the whole Web; search box often only searches the site.  VCN’s Community Index is an example of this.

2.     Often by going to related sites you can find links to your interest




1.     Use VCN's Community Pages Index to find:

·         Legal Services Society

·         Information Services, Vancouver

·         411 Seniors’ Centre

·         Representation Agreement Resource Centre

Search Engines:

1.     General guidelines: be as specific as possible; ensure proper spelling; use accurate descriptive words

2.     Operator Introduction - tools that search engines use to help you refine your searches; introduction to "", +, -, *

3.     Preset parameters - drop down boxes i.e. country, language, file extensions




Use Google or another search engine to find:

  • Legal Services Society  
  • An image of Vancouver Public Library 
  • A page about Seniors Benefits  
  • A reference or address for your community group  
  • Your family name  
  • A headline from today's newspaper
  • A mailing list that discusses the underlying issue of the above headline
  • A newsgroup that discusses issues related to volunteering
  • A street map of your community

For some additional reading from TechSoup:

More Advanced Concepts

1.     Internet Browser Options: allow you to customize your web space; are different depending on the browser used; personal preference dictates how you want to set them (eg. font size, servers, cookies,)

2.     On-Line Forms

a.     Why and how interactive communication is done

b.     Numerous ways of inputting information

c.     Information is sent and converted by the server

3.     File Extensions: .exe, .html, .htm, .pdf, .zip



  • Explore the preferences menu to change the font on your screen and enlarge it for easy viewing

Introducing E-mail

Email will be useful to SLIPs but is not required for this training.  We will look at how email is used on a website to contact the owner of the website or to provide a way for websites to interact with us. 

If you do NOT have an email address you can get one by registering with VCN.  To learn how to get an email address for yourself from VCN please speak with your trainer after the class.

1.     What is a mailto: link? And how to use it to make contact with an organization through their website.

2.     What e-mail can do for you: save time; save natural resources; prevent confusion; and save money

3.     Anatomy of an e-mail: the header; e-mail addresses; cc and bcc; subject; body

4.     Internet Etiquette Basics - netiquette

5.     Introduction to e-mail programs: part of a web browsing program (Netscape Messenger, Outlook Express); standalone programs (Eudora and Pegasus)

6.     Common features: a folder or program for composing; a folder for outbound mail; a folder for in-bound mail

7.     Introduction to Web Mail Servers: programs designed to provide e-mail addresses independent of your own computer


  • Click on the Seniors’ Gateway’s mailto: link and send a message to the Seniors’ Gateway staff.

Advanced E-mail Management

1.     Mailing lists: messages to one address get distributed to everyone on the list; can be public, private or moderated. Here are the five important steps to using one:

o        Find a list - either using a search tool or by recommendation

o        Identify the administrative address

o        Send a subscribe message to the administrative address

o        Reply to welcome message if required

o        Keep the welcome message (it has important information - including how to unsubscribe!)

2.     Attaching files to email – name program, version and plain text

3.     How to attach files to email

4.     Signature files: appear at the bottom of every message you send

5.     Further reading: "From Workplace to Workspace" - Maureen James and Liz Rykert's guide to using email lists



  • Take the addresses of anyone who has mailed to you and add them to your address list.
  • Create a group of these addresses and send a message to them
  • Send an email Introducing yourself and group to
  • Write a short document in Word and attach it to an email message to your partner.
  • Email and just put "help" in the text of your message. Try some other commands (please unsubscribe!)

Introducing Listservs (Sympa)

1.     Definition: Listservs are groups of Internet users with similar interests who post relevant information to a communal email address and may have a website site associated with that address.

2.     Why are listservs useful to you - finding a newsgroup specific to your organization's interests: search, word of mouth.

3.     VCN’s Sympa listservs


  • Note a current information message from one of the VCN’s Sympa list of lists
  • Post a message to - check that it appears

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