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Industrial Tech Students Learning Hands-on Skills ‘Virtually’

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and ACC’s decision to convert all classes to online instruction, college administrators faced a quandary: How do students in largely hands-on industrial programs and health care courses learn in a ‘virtual’ classroom?

Cengage, a company that provides digital learning platforms, E-books, and subscriptions to thousands of digital academic products, announced it would offer most content free to students during the pandemic. ACC faculty member Sherri Singer, already a Cengage Faculty Partner, used her connections to help a multitude of ACC programs. 

In March, Singer held two virtual demo sessions to show ACC instructors how the online software works. The need was especially felt by Industrial Technologies instructors where hands-on experience is a must for students to learn.

Singer consequently spent more than 60 hours accessing the Cengage materials, setting up templates and building instructional platforms for the faculty instructors to use.

Through MindTap, Cengage’s online management system, students get an E-textbook and access to software that takes them through real-world activity. For example, welding students are provided with virtual simulations and SP2 simulation references like ‘How to Use Eye Wash Station.’

“All our faculty utilizing these tools have received instruction in how to teach this way,” said Singer.

After setting up Industrial Technologies programs Welding, HVAC (heating/cooling), and Animal Care with virtual instruction, Singer did the same for Nurse Aide, Early Childhood, Criminal Justice, and many more across all three college divisions.

“The willingness of Cengage and others to open up their digital resources for free during this time has been key for these hands-on programs to continue instruction. Students have been able to use simulations as a supplement to strengthen our online courses. One positive outcome is faculty have seen the role these types of supplements can provide even in a normal semester,” said Justin Snyder, Dean of Industrial Technologies.