Return on Investment
Terry Roberts, President
Interactive Computer Owners Network
ICON (Interactive Computer Owners Network) in Springfield, Missouri, lets
members know their ROI (Return on Investment) from their yearly dues
Terry Roberts, President
ICON currently offers more help, in more areas, with more ways to access it,
than at any time in our history! I am very concerned however, that many members
don’t understand how to access and/or utilize the resources available to us.
Beginning with this article I’m going to work harder at solving that problem.
Those who provide help make themselves available more than 13 hours each month
so each of us can ask whatever questions we have. On days when we hold multiple
sessions, we are never offended if people (members or visitors) attend only one
session and leave afterwards. If your interest/question is limited to one or two
specific areas, attend the session(s) that focus on your area(s) of interest. If
you are unable to attend any of the sessions we hold during three days each
month, you can access our help resources in several other ways.
Following is an overview of all the many ways that ICON currently makes help
Each and every one of ICON’s members is important to the success of the
organization, and in order to do the best it can for all of us, each of us must
learn to use the available resources efficiently. We must realize that we are
one of many.
- Eleven (11) monthly functions (open to anyone, members and non-members).
Beginning in December, these functions include:
- Monthly business/membership meeting and program (3rd Saturday of each month)
- Following the program (on the 3rd Saturday) we ALWAYS have one-on-one “Help
Desks” available when anyone in attendance (members or non-members) can sit down
with a knowledgeable person to get help with ANY computing related question
- Five (5) Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings (on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays
of each month). Beginning in December, session times will be 10:00-11:30 am,
12:30-2:00 pm, and 2:15-3:45 pm). Currently, fixed topics include Digital
Imaging, Genealogy, and Windows/General Computing. Variable topics include
Sarah Marshall’s “Mini-Seminar” (covering topics of current interest), and our
“Advanced Technology Forum” (an open group discussion of any tech topic above
the beginner level).
- Times and dates for all functions are available in ICON’s monthly newsletter,
in the calendar at our website (www.iconusersgroup.org), and in the
Springfield-Greene County Library’s quarterly publication, “Bookends”
- Two (2) hands-on classes. On Tuesday following the 3rd Saturday monthly
membership meeting, Mick Topping shares his “Beyond the Basics” insight into
various topics we cover during other sessions. On the 4th Saturday of each
month, at 10:00 a.m., we hold a “Basic Skills” class (minimum proficiency for
everyone who wants to use their computer for anything beyond playing solitaire
(rotating topics include: Windows Basic Skills, Control Panel and Maintenance,
E-mail and Internet Security, and Using the Internet Effectively).
- Two (2) “Brown-bag Lunches”. On the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month,
during our (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) lunch break, those who work to provide the
help you need, are available to answer specific questions about computing
problems (these times are very similar to the “Help Desk” sessions that follow
the monthly membership meetings on 3rd Saturdays).
- We have the opportunity to preview (and/or stay informed when we are unable
to attend) the information to be covered during ANY of our functions, by
visiting the web page dedicated to that function at ICON’s web site web site
(www.iconusersgroup.org). In the main navigation (the blue section on the left
side), click the appropriate function (Monthly Program, or SIGs/Training > SIG
title), and follow the links to the information that will be covered in that
session. Any related Internet links that are referenced in the program are
available from this page.
- As ICON members, we all have the privilege of borrowing tutorial materials
from our extensive education library, covering virtually every conceivable topic
of interest to computer users.
- ICON’s online forums are available 24/7. Members can ask questions about
any computer related topic, and (almost always) receive a response within a few
hours. By using this method, each of us helps one another by having our
questions (as well as the answers), available to everyone else, without waiting
for (or attending) the next function.
- ICON’s “Help Line” is published each and every month in our newsletter. Faye
Patrick is only one of ten (10) ICON members who are willing to provide
telephone help with questions in various areas of interest.
- If all else fails, a house call may be the best solution for some problems.
In that case, ICON will continue trying to provide the help our members need by
scheduling a home visit from someone who can troubleshoot our problems, but this
must be a last resort...not the first!
To provide customized help for each individual would require even more hours
and functions, coupled with considerably more manpower than we have available.
Please help us provide the best (and most) possible help for the largest number
of members by:
- Learning to utilize the resources we have available
- Sharing your experience(s) with others
- Giving a little of your time to help us accomplish just one of the hundreds of
tasks required to provide the opportunities you already receive.