Pivoting Welding Education in the Future Post Covid-19

Cameron Serles
Written by Cameron Serles on October 14, 2020

No one knows what education is going to look like after the COVID-19 crisis, particularly welding training in vocational schools. Will schools resume with online-only education? Will they come back at all? Or will they come back partially, with students partially enrolled for some online training and some in classroom education where all the students are spread out much more than they were in past?

Here are some examples of schools thinking about how to prepare for the future:

  • Building a Video Library as part of the Curriculum
The Xiris weld camera being used in a classroom environment by a weld educator

A welding school in California wanted to get ahead of the planning process for how they could return to school in the fall. To do that, they asked themselves how they could be better prepared for their students in this time of COVID-19? How will the pandemic change education? Is there a way to improve their delivery of welding programs with the restrictions that will be implemented post-pandemic?

The welding program’s instructors came up with the idea to record numerous welding demos using a Xiris weld camera. The plan would be to build up a video library of good and bad welds made by both the faculty and students. With such a welding video library, they would be able to develop an online teaching program that would allow students to take a virtual welding class and study videos from the video library, either online from home or as a supplement to their classwork while at school.

They also want to use the weld cameras in a remote capacity where the instructor would be in one room while the student is in another. This would allow them to monitor and test the student’s welding skills while performing social distancing between inspector and student.

The school uses an online instruction software learning tool called Canvas. However, they have never used it for any technical training, so this would be a new process for them. They have determined that they would want to use Canvas to:

  • Record video from a standard camera that is looking at a complete welding cell, perhaps recording what the Instructor or student is doing in the cell as they are making a weld;
  • Record video from a Xiris weld camera of the actual weld process being made;
  • Display both images side by side on a screen in the Canvas environment.

This school wants to be recognized as one of the best vocational schools for welding anywhere in the US. They know that they are in a competitive environment to attract new students and would like to be the “go to” school for welding education and attract students accordingly. Anything they can do to remain on the leading edge of teaching infrastructure and technology adoption would make them more appealing to their prospective student base.

  • Protecting the Health of Instructors and Students

A collection of vocational schools in the US Midwest wants to outfit all their schools with Xiris weld cameras for their welding skills programs. The main motivation for this is the health and safety of their instructors and students, post COVID-19: they don’t want their students crowding around the instructors during welding demos and not practicing social distancing.

To do this, they have designed a welding teaching cell where the instructor is on an elevated platform surrounded by monitors, and the students are on the ground able to see what the instructor is doing by watching the monitors. They can also perform their own welding in a cell equipped with a Xiris weld camera so that it can be monitored by the instructor also.

They are currently not sure how they are going to return to the classroom in the fall. One option they have been considering is that they may have only a fraction of students attending a classroom at any one time. This could mean perhaps students attending during shifts each day or on alternate days, with physical distancing between students to be implemented that may see some students put into separate rooms from each other or the instructor. To implement that, they will acquire Xiris weld cameras to record the students’ welding work. The instructors could mark their students’ work, and the students could see what the instructors are doing, all remotely.

They also have a two-cameras-per-cell concept that would be implemented in each of the cells: one camera would be a Xiris weld camera dedicated to recording video of the weld as done by a student or instructor; and then a second camera would be a simple camera videoing the entire work cell so that the instructor can observe and correct how the student sets up the equipment and runs it. Both cameras output should be visible on a single computer monitor.

  • Creating an Online Classroom of the Future

A vocational school in British Columbia, Canada has a similar challenge: they want to redesign their entire welding program and are rethinking how to do so with the advent of COVID-19. They currently teach welding courses as part of various core programs such as pipefitting, metalworking, etc., rather than teaching welding as a course on its own.

They are not sure what the future of education will be after the pandemic: will all vocational training be online education permanently? Or will it be online for the next 1-2 semesters? Either way, they need to make sure that they are prepared to provide a competitive offering to their students.

They want to buy multiple Xiris weld cameras to record videos of the welds done by their students. The idea would be to use the cameras to create their own series of online welding courses in case they have to move all their training online in September, which they see as a very real possibility. Part of that effort is to create their own library of welding videos that would be used with the online welding courses that the students could watch, review and study at their own pace.

By creating their own weld video library using the Xiris cameras, the school can ensure their students watch the videos that best teach them the fundamentals of welding rather than having the students resort to going online to watch weld videos which may have been altered for presentation purposes.

Summary

Vocational Schools everywhere are having to rethink how to deliver their educational platforms this fall, especially welding education. Many schools are looking at implementing Xiris weld cameras for enhancing the curriculum, protecting the health and safety of the students and preparing their school for the future by better retaining and attracting students.

To learn more about integrating Xiris weld cameras into your welding program, talk to one of our education experts. 

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