Programs... Suse comes with most everything you will need.
RPM definitly doesnt stand up to Debian's package manager, but in my experience Suse does much better for newer folks.
Office- Open Office.
PDF- Acrobat runs fine and causes no problems, whereas xpdf occasionally has some problems reading certain PDFs I have come across.
Internet- Mozilla, choose either firefox/thunderbird.. or go with the Mozilla suite. Also Ximinian comes with Suse and is a pretty capable email/calendar program
Audio- XMMS runs fine for me for audio playback
Video- Xine Note: There are probably several frontends installed on your machine for Xine, I just cant remember all their names right now but they wont be listed as Xine
What else you need to do?
In as far as the taking a class for learning commands in linux... How easily can you teach yourself computers? If you can pick them up pretty easily(You have to be honest withyourself here) then no. If you tend to have problems take the class, it may make things easier, and has the added advantage of teaching you the commands instead of your having to search for them(Took me years to learn about the ps command for example