It sounds so beguiling, surfing the Internet. But for a novice, a dangerous combination of deep water and unexpected shallows can leave you swimming in ever-decreasing circles. Taking the metaphor to its logical conclusion, Anniesland College in Glasgow is offering "Surf and Swim" courses throughout the summer holidays. Aimed at parents and children aged about nine and upwards, the half-day sessions offer an opportunity to exercise mind and body under the same roof.
"Swim in the college leisure pool and surf the Net in the college METRO - our state-of-the-art Multimedia Education, Training and Resource Opportunity centre," says the advertising. Families can work out their own timetable for swimming and surfing, safe under the watchful eye of qualified lifeguards and tutors.
The surf and swim sessions have grown out of Anniesland's children's summer school. Course co-ordinator Eric Simpson sees them as one way of opening up the college to the wider community. "It's not just about students," he says. "It's about meeting a broader commitment to the community."
He sees these introductory courses as a way for families to get to grips with new technology. "We all hear lots about the Internet, but not all that many people have access to it in their homes. I see it appealing to parents who are considering buying a PC and want to know what they might be unleashing in their home. And children enjoy having more structured activities during the holidays. "
The courses will show novices how to get online, use search engines, download files and send and receive e-mail. Freestyle surfing sessions will also be available for the more confident.
The emphasis is on having fun, but Eric Simpson is convinced that the Internet is a useful resource. "It is not a replacement for other media, but it is one people would be foolish not to be conversant with."
For details, call the METRO, 0141 357 6065