Computer Repair Course

Learn to repair and upgrade computers!
Or be a volunteer tutor!

(Check out photos of some of our sessions here!)

Computer Repair Course
We offer a computer repair course several times during the year where students of all ages diagnose and refurbish computers, and earn one of their own. The course is taught by technical volunteers and is a hands-on class with plenty of help from our volunteers. We prioritize the enrollment of community organizers, activists and young people so that they may learn these skills and use them in their communities. The course runs for six weeks on Monday and Wednesday evenings, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

Our next course is scheduled for September 2004. Please visit in early August for application dates and times.

Tutor Training & Orientation:
If you have ever installed a modem or replaced a hard disk, you have enough skills to be a tutor. Tutor training is held on Monday and Wednesday evenings before the first Computer Repair Class begins.
Description of the Computer Repair Course (including course handouts)

Tutor training for the September 2004 course will be in August. Please visit then for exact dates and times.

Computer Repair Course... Origins

In April 1997, TecsChange and The Community Computing Center at Tent City started a program to teach residents of Boston testing and repair of donated computers. TecsChange volunteers teach the students to do minor repairs such as replacing a hard disk or installing a modem. At the end of the program, every student that qualifies earns a computer.

The program is intended to benefit two groups: youth and community activists. The program helps young people by giving them valuable skills. It also provides positive role models for them by bringing them together with community-minded activists. The program also benefits the larger community by sharing the same knowledge with community activists. As part of the program, the students are also introduced to issues of technology and social change, including the effects of technology on society, technology in the developing world, etc.

In January 1999, we moved into our own facility in Roxbury.  This allows us to serve a larger group of students, and we can hold multiple classes on different nights (click here for directions).  This Boston Globe article is a good description of the course (the article refers to the course when we offered it at Tent City in the South End, before we moved in 1999 to our own workshop space in Roxbury, MA).  

Course Description (Click here for a Syllabus, updated November, 2001)


Students start by reviewing the basic components that make up a computer. They area also introduced to the basics of DOS and the CMOS setup program, as well as the diagnostic tools that we use to check out the hardware. 
TecsChange volunteers and students learn together about everything from replacing a hard drive, reconfiguring the computer, to cleaning floppy disk drives.


Graduates of the 26th computer repair course, plus tutors,
and other TecsChange volunteers.

A Model Worth Replicating

Moving into our own space has allowed us to replicate the Computer Repair Course to address other needs.

Collaboration with the Harbor School in Dorchester
In the fall of 1999, a teacher at the Harbor School (a pilot middle school, within the Boston public school system) approached us with an interesting proposal. The Harbor School emphasizes hands-on experimental learning in its curriculum. The school's calendar includes two seven-week terms in the winter when students take "elective" courses outside of the traditional curriculum. This winter, we are offering two modified computer repair courses for students at the Harbor School.

Collaboration with NUEYS
Within Eritrea, the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS) is playing a key role in the development of that nation's youth through education and the promotion of human rights and environmental protection. Since August 1999, members of the Boston branch of NUEYS come to TecsChange and participate in a hands-on course in computer repair, learning valuable skills and "earning" computers for their home country.  Click here for more details.

New Course Offered in Mexico City
In the fall of 2001, TecsChange started a collaboration with Comunicación Comunitaria, a non-profit organization based in Mexico City, whose mission is to improve citizen access to information. They provide courses in communication (everything from micro-power radio to political graffiti, and now computer repair, Linux, and web publishing). Our first eight-week computer repair course was offered in October and November 2001, and a second was begun in February of 2002.   Syllabus (in Spanish) for Computer Repair Course, October-December 2001, Mexico City, Mexico

How You Can Participate

In addition to opportunities as a volunteer tutor in the Computer Repair Course or on one of our many volunteer committees, if you have equipment to donate, check out our Equipment Donations FAQ (frequently asked questions) about equipment donations.

Return to TecsChange home page

83 Highland Street Roxbury (Boston), Massachusetts 617.442-4456
e-mail: web: