Editors note: This report on Career Technologies programs is part of an on-going series by The Et Cetera on how campus departments are handling the switch to online classes and will be updated as more information becomes available.
A number of Career Technologies programs, including automotive, auto body, welding and mechatronics, involve hands-on lab work that cannot be done online. Executive Dean Johnnie Bellamy said the final decision on how the lab portion will be handled has not been made.
If possible, the instructor will provide a demonstration of what the lab work should look like. Students will be tested on their ability to do that work whenever they are able to come back to class.
“My recommendation, and it has not been approved yet, would be if we are not able to complete [hands-on coursework] by the end of the semester that we would do incompletes for the students and then work on a specific process of how we will give them that opportunity in the summer and/or in the fall,” Bellamy said.
Bellamy suggested to the district that students not be charged for returning in the summer or fall to complete lab work. The district has not made a decision about that yet.
The lecture portion of the classes will be done online. Bellamy said some of the instructors will utilize information from the textbook while others will create videos or use videos already on YouTube.
“They’re scrambling, but they’re getting that all together,” she said.
Support is available for adjunct professors who may never have taught online. They can work with an experienced faculty member, and Bellamy said the IT department is willing to help them one-on-one.
It has not been determined what will happen with students who don’t have internet and/or computer access. Bellamy said that decision will be made at the district level.
“It’s kind of an experiment for everyone,” she said. “This little bit of necessity here is going to give us a lot of food for thought on how we’re going to move forward in the future with our classes.”
Automotive Technology[April 1, 9:12 p.m.] Program coordinator Elias Alba said the lecture portion of automotive technology will be done online, but lab work will have to wait until the campus re-opens.
Alba said many of the lectures are already on Blackboard in PowerPoint format. They are going to try to have some of the classes via Zoom so students can ask questions about the material.
“The lecture part is the easy part,” he said.
About half the class time consists of hands-on work in the lab. Alba said they have not been able to come up with a workable solution to do that off-campus.
“We use a lot of vehicles and our students are constantly in the vehicles and they’re doing their tasks and explaining how they do their tasks and stuff like that,” he said. “So that’s definitely the difficult part.”
Alba said the plan is for students to complete as much as they can of the online portion of the course. Both Honda and Toyota have e-learning programs that are already part of the classes. Students will continue to be assigned modules from these.
If Eastfield does not open before the semester ends, Alba said students can finish the lab portion over the summer.
Alba said he is concerned some of the students may not have computer access or reliable internet access at home, but he isn’t sure how many.
Business/ Business Office Systems and Support[April 1, 9:12 p.m.] Executive Dean Johnnie Bellamy said both the Business and Business Office Systems and Support programs have been able to switch completely to online classes.
The Business program offers classes in business principles, personal finances and business law.
The BOSS program trains office professionals and teaches skills such as working with spreadsheets, word processing and business presentations.
“Those classes that were face-to-face are just now going to go online and have to complete the same way the current online students are completing,” she said. “The only problems that we see there is the student actually having appropriate equipment or something to do the online work.”
Auto Body Technology[March 27, 7:20 p.m.] Program coordinator Carlos Ojeda said the auto body technology program is 30 percent classroom lecture time and 70 percent hands-on training in the lab. The lecture portion will move online, and all written assignments and tests will be done through their textbook publisher and Blackboard.
“We know this type of learning is new for many of our students, therefore as professors we will have to try our best to keep our students engaged through a lot of communication,” Ojeda said.
Ojeda does not know yet if all of the students have access to Wi-Fi.
Once Eastfield re-opens, students will complete the lab portion on campus. For now, students are encouraged to purchase their own tools and submit a video of themselves doing what lab projects they can from home.
Ojeda said the necessary tools, such as a grinder, drill and different types of cutters, can be purchased with a 60 percent discount through the manufacturers that partner with the program. They can also be obtained from Lowes, Home Depot or Harbor Freight.
“It’s just a matter of March 30 coming, and we should be hitting the ground running,” Ojeda said.
Computer-Aided Design and Drafting[March 27, 7:20 p.m.] Some of the classes under this program, such as architectural blueprint reading, are already offered online.
For the classes that are not, program coordinator Marques Washington said instructors are creating step-by-step online videos for the students to follow. Once the students have downloaded the videos on their personal computers or flash drives, they can be accessed even without the internet.
Instructors will be available via Zoom if a student needs help downloading software. All software required for the program is free.
“While there is no substitute for face-to-face instruction and feedback, we are doing what we have to do in this unique situation,” Washington said.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning[March 27, 7:20 p.m.] HVAC is another program that requires a hands-on component. Bellamy said faculty can use videos from YouTube to show students proper HVAC processes. Students may be assigned essays to show they understand the material.
“They can do it in a verbal manner and then demonstrate it in the actual lab when they get back,” Bellamy said.
Students will continue to participate in discussion boards through eCampus and be given reading assignments from the textbook.