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Element K available

A new computer training service may become a permanent resource for students and faculty.

Jean Weishan, the director of computing services, and Kiem Sie, the coordinator of educational technology, introduced Element K, a self-paced on-line digital media and office suite training program last week. They described it as a quick and easy way for students to learn and sharpen their computer skills.

Element K is available on-line during the school year to all students and faculty. All computers with Internet access can be converted into an at-home computer training workshop at any hour. Weishan said she hopes the value and the convenience of the program will attract at least 25 to 30 percent of Mills students and faculty, which she considers successful enough to make it a permanent resource.

Element K came to Mills through research done by Weishan, where she found the program to be effective and widespread on the East coast.

“It’s the guaranteed practical instruction that they [students] can use on campus today, to get a job tomorrow,” said Weishan. She said that Mills receives a discounted price because it is an educational institution, so rather than paying the approximate $500 per person that many of the businesses that use Element K pay, Mills is spending on average less than $125 per student. Weishan admits that this is still expensive, so whether it comes back next year is based on use.

As the program gets its feet off the ground, Weishan said she believes that the college will use assessment records available through Element K to determine students’ software proficiency.

Weishan explained that although most colleges and universities don’t teach software, most corporations expect entry level graduates to know how to use basic programs such as Excel. Students have graduated from college without ever learning how to create a PowerPoint production, but with Element K, you can learn how, said Weishan.

Junior Zarena Osmani after attending the demo agreed that the program will prepare her.

“Corporations are offering the same program to employees, so getting to know applications now will put me at an advantage and make my resume look better,” she said.

In order to log on to Element K, students need a login name and a password. This is obtainable by leaving a message at the computing services help desk at 430-2005, by e-mailing Kiem Sie at, or by attending one of the training workshops. The first workshops were taught last week. And students only need to attend one. The schedule for upcoming sessions has not yet been decided but can be found on the Mills web site events calendar.