HVAC senior students think ‘Legacy’

by Nyla on January 1, 2014 · 10:00 am

Repairs in progress

This new training system will provide current and future HVAC students with easily tailored and specific repair scenarios.

During the last 2-weeks of the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning-Refrigeration program, seniors participate in a test-out of hands-on procedures that review everything they have learned during the previous 14-months. The Visalia program has many A/C and heating units on which they might be tested, but students about to graduate wanted to up the ante with a more intensive trial.

“They were clamoring to get their knuckles bruised, turn the wrenches and use all of the nuts and bolts to troubleshoot unit malfunctions,” says Division Manager, Eric Lindberg. “So, Josh Debrie and Robby Gill, our very enterprising HVAC-R instructors, challenged their students to create a simulated –trainer board, which could take them through a variety of potential break-down and repair scenarios.”

With new technology constantly emerging, the use of computer simulated trainers in the career college industry is prevalent – and often cost-prohibitive. Virtual trainers are tools that come with the curriculum and are operated through a computer in a virtual environment. The beauty of a trainer board is that it can be reconfigured to present any number of fix-it issues with the electrical, refrigeration, heating and A/C components.

“Our HVAC instructors looked around and saw all of the components needed to build our own trainer board,” says Lindberg. Those parts included a compressor, condenser coils, electrical panels, valves, gauges and other components that would test everything on one board. Robby Gill states, “We could configure it to trouble-shoot many different unit issues.”

The instructors challenged their senior class to design and build the board for their Capstone project – the last hands-on assessments they would perform before entering the work world.

It took the seniors a couple of weeks to create their trainer, completely from scratch.

“The new trainer board puts HVAC students through intensive and creative hands-on problem-solving, and gives instructors an innovative way to measure student skill levels,” says Gill.

In addition to acing their Capstone project, graduating seniors have created a valuable learning tool and an instruction legacy that will serve many generations of HVAC-R classes to come.



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