Adoption Class

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  • WHEN: as needed, usually one or two times a month, usually on a Wednesday morning at 11:30.
  • WHO: Graduates of the Adoption Program (i.e. people who have accumulated 24 hrs of volunteer time).
  • SIZE: Class size should be no bigger than 3 or 4 for the time being.
  • TEACHER/S: Jessica, Geoff, Brian K.


  • 'Taking home your computer' package
  • 'Resources for the Free at Heart' sheet
  • 'Volunteer Feedback Form'


This page is intended to serve as a guide for future instructors teaching the adoption class. The adoption class is intended to acquaint the students with their new computers, more specifically:

  • How to plug in their computer
  • How to boot up
  • How to complete an initial setup
  • A tour of the desktop and a few applications
  • How to connect to the internet
  • How to check for, download and install updates
  • How to install new applications
  • A question and answer period
  • How to shut down

What the instructor should be provided with

The instructor should be provided with a working machine for each student. Each computer should be pre-installed with Ubuntu using a temporary user. On the next boot the machine should prompt the user for setup. The build benches are cleared the day before and the store brings up all the cables, keyboards, mice and speakers needed by 1130am.

In-depth class contents

Station setup

Plug in all the cables (diagram pending)

If there is an auxiliary video card you need to make sure to plug the monitor into that and not into the onboard video (HD15) connector.

Click on the Prepare for shipping icon, password- OEM, then Restart computer.

First boot configuration

  • Language selection
  • Time zone
  • keyboard layout
  • User information

Introduction to the desktop

At this point the students can do a bit of ad-hoc exploration with help from the instructor as needed. They instructor should ask the questions

  • "What do you already know?"
  • "What do you want to learn?"

Tour of the desktop:

  • Applications: Office, Games, Accessories etc (how to move items on desktop, calculator example)
  • Places: Folder directory, Getting things onto the desktop
  • System: Preferences, Adminstration
  • The help menu, particularly under New to Ubuntu -> Coming from Windows
  • Panels, panel applets, moving/creating/deleting/modifying panels
  • Trash
  • Virtual Desktop

Superuser vs normal users

If time constraints allow, the concept of permissions should be explained briefly. Just mention that there are certain tasks that require the user to perform them with elevated permissions, that root in particular can do just about anything, and that generally users should not use unnecessarily elevated permissions unless they are prompted to by the system.

Connecting to the internet

  • (maybe) The students should be shown how to configure an internet connection so that they can get online and get help with their problems
  • The students should be briefly familiarized with Firefox

Checking for updates

The instructor should talk a bit about package managers and the huge variety of free software packages available for popular flavors of Linux such as Ubuntu. The following should be demonstrated:

  • How to check for new updates using the update manager.
  • How to configure automatic checking for/downloading, installation of updates
    As of writing this, updating can be configured through synaptic package manager. Please update this information nugget as the platform changes

Adding/Removing programs

After the students become familiarized with updating packages, they should be shown the add/remove programs tool. The instructor should take a few moments to explain the concept of dependencies. The students should then be shown:

  • How to check the description of a package, (maybe also dependencies, obsoletes, etcetera)
  • How to install a program
  • Techniques for finding applications they're looking for using search (and maybe the internet)

Shut down and wrap-up

The instructor should announce a question and answer period to ensure the students leave with adequate confidence in their newfound knowledge. Demonstrate how to shut down the students should then proceed to unplug their computers. The instructor should make sure they are provided with all the necessary parts needed to use their computer, such as a keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, modem (if needed) and cables.


That's it! Class dismissed.