When Red River College implemented a Study Week in response to COVID-19, Automotive Technology instructor Elaine Klassen’s Level 3 Automotive Apprentices had just finished their fourth week of a six-week course.
She shares the class with Auto Mechanics Instructor, Stefan Engelhard, and together they moved the remaining two weeks of the course onto Learn, allowing the students to finish online.
The first week back, Klassen was teaching Vehicle Management, which included theory-based components that are usually paired with hands-on reinforcement in the shop. To replace the in-shop portion, she created exercises using schematics from the service manual and asked the students questions about specific failures at specific points.
“For example asking what they would find on a meter at different test locations,” she said. “They don’t get to handle the meter like they would in class, but they are covering the information, theory and diagnostic steps just the same.”
Klassen has also been hosting daily two-hour WebEx sessions where she can answer questions and cover topics that may be more difficult to grasp through reading alone. In those sessions she can share her screen to draw on the schematics where issues are being presented.
“My students are taking this all in stride and seem to be enjoying themselves with it,” she said. “It has been a lot of work getting this all up and running and developed, but I find through the process I have improved upon what I will end up using in class down the road.”
Adapting to WebEx has been new for Klassen, but she has been able to find a way that feels almost like being in class. Her next big challenge is teaching Transfer Cases and 4WD/AWD, which typically requires more handling of the parts.
“I managed to find two great videos online, one that shows the rebuilding process of a transfer case, and one that shows power flow,” she said. “I’ll reinforce that with some ‘stellar’ artwork I’m going to create in MS Paint.”