Computer applications courses are generally available through certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs in Web design, graphic design and computer applications. Some programs focus more on operating basic software such as Microsoft Office while others focus on more intermediate and advanced topics such as using HyperText Markup Language (HTML), graphics design software such as Adobe InDesign and Adobe's photo-editing application Photoshop.
Courses in computer applications typically cover the following topics:
- Creating text files and spreadsheets
- Managing images and data
- Using the Internet
- Working with Web design programs
- Desktop publishing
- Graphic design
- Spreadsheets and presentations
- Computer languages and programming
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List of Computer Application Courses
Beginning Computer Applications
This introductory course provides students with the opportunity to practice using computer operating systems. They use graphic design applications, spreadsheets and the Internet. The course often includes information about the social, political and economic effects of Internet and technology on society. Students examine modern examples of how technology is used for research and communication. A course such as this can be taken as a beginning part of many programs to ensure students can use computers.
Using Computer Applications
This is another practical, introductory computer applications class that trains individuals to use a wide range of computer application programs and is likely to be an early course taken in many programs. Students practice using command keys and formatting material for ease of reading and learn to use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to create presentations, spreadsheets and text documents. Occasionally, this course touches on touch typing, requiring students to get typing speed up to a certain number of words per minute, usually around 45.
Intermediate Computer Applications
This course gives students experience designing and publishing Web pages. They add animation and sound to computer graphics, practice the basics of Web design and find ways to develop the basics to create more advanced designs. Desktop publishing techniques are often included, and students practice using software programs to edit Web pages and prepare them for publication.
Students taking this intermediate-level course learn how to create, format and edit images using Adobe Photoshop. Students also edit photos and modify them by adding or removing colors, lightening, darkening and making photos presentable for print or Web publication. They also optimize images and layer them to create fuller, richer designs. Photoshop is an advanced-level application and so courses for it are typically taken late in the certificate or degree program.
Web Page Design
In this advanced course, students build on the basic principles of Web design acquired through intermediate classes. They learn and incorporate computer programming languages in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to design, publish and maintain a Web site. The students taking this class learn how to incorporate links to and from other Web pages and also add videos and images, editing them to fit the screen. Some programs include training for Adobe InDesign, which allows users to fine-tune graphics, layout and photos using a complex but powerful desktop publishing application.