Now, more than ever, engaging welding students with online learning tools is crucial in capturing their attention and helping them absorb the material before putting it into practice. Eric Pesak, weld instructor at College Station Independent School District in College Station, Texas, takes full advantage of Miller® OpenBook™ when training the next generation of welders.
Like most teachers, Pesak wants his students to be hands-on as much as possible. Forty-five minutes of class time goes by quickly, especially when 15-20 minutes is typically spent getting students in and geared up and determining what work they’ve completed and what they’re working on next – even more so when they’re all working at a different pace. Eric relies on OpenBook™ to track his student’s progress and to know exactly where each student is in the lesson plan with a quick look.
“Students can easily access the OpenBook™ e-learning modules on their phones, allowing them to go through each lesson and take quizzes from anywhere, so they’re prepared prior to stepping into the classroom,” said Pesak. “It’s such an easy and robust tool because it grades each lesson and quiz for you. It even tells you how many attempts each student had, what they missed and calculates the class average so at a glance I can see if we need to go back and repeat a lesson.”
“OpenBook™ lets me make the most of the classroom. Students can come in, I take roll call, they dress out, I check OpenBook™ to see if they’re ready and they hit the floor. If they aren’t ready, I know they didn’t do their work and they need to go back and revisit the lesson. Instead of getting 25 minutes or less, we can start pushing 35 to 40 minutes of weld time in a 45-minute class because they did their work at home.” – Eric Pesak
Due to the sudden onset of COVID-19, instructors needed to quickly adjust to new ways of bringing the classroom to their students, and Pesak used OpenBook™ to do just that. OpenBook™ made the stress of managing educational challenges brought on by distance learning easier for Pesak since his welding content was all in one place. Students were able to easily join a class, effortlessly explore the welding content, and demonstrate their knowledge through each completed course. “When I couldn’t be with my students face-to-face in the shop, OpenBook™ provided the help and assistance I needed and the support and content my students deserved – all at a price point that any school district can afford,” said Pesak.
Since the introduction of OpenBook™, Miller® has gained insight and feedback from weld instructors to further enhance the program to make it even more user friendly and better integrate with resources outside of OpenBook™.
“It has been great that Miller® has been working with us to develop all these new changes,” said Pesak. “OpenBook™ is unique because it’s truly all about making a better experience for the teachers and students, and ultimately a stronger workforce, and Miller® is willing to open the platform to outside resources to achieve that.”
Recent additions include the pre-curated courses from Miller and Hobart, custom certificates of achievement, the ability to reuse a quiz within another section, the ability to use hyperlinks in your quiz, a more robust help section, and backend performance improvements with a more simplified interface.
Instructors can utilize the existing content available through OpenBook™ or easily customize lessons and quizzes with their current curriculum, allowing instructors to focus less on compiling resources and more on teaching hands-on activities.
“The newly updated version of OpenBook™ is a game changer. It’s not just a supplement to what I’m teaching, but now I can align and connect other resources – videos, lesson plans, study guides, pretty much any outside resource – directly into OpenBook™,” says Pesak.
“If budgets don’t allow for new textbooks, and often they don’t, I can pull everything into OpenBook™,” Pesak adds. “Other instructors and I will share what we’re pulling in and how we’re using it, and it really becomes a knowledge- and resource-sharing tool that we can use to create and enhance curriculum.”
“We’re even using it on the Texas Welding High School Series, where students are participating in contests and using OpenBook™ to pass tests and get certified,” said Pesak. “The uses are endless.”
Most learning management systems can be costly, taking a toll on your budget. With Miller® OpenBook™, welding instructors and trainers can access free welding course materials, e-learning modules, quizzes, lab assignments and student tracking tools that support the American Welding SENSE Standards. Budgets are tight and weld instructors are busy throughout their workday, which is why Miller® developed OpenBook™ – free, easy-to-use resources and training materials that help set up both teachers and students for success.
Try out OpenBook™ today at https://openbook.millerwelds.com to get familiar with the software and see first-hand what available lessons, materials and quizzes are offered in the free learning management system. The Quick Start Guide on the help page https://openbook.millerwelds.com/Home/Help shows you how to get started.
Funding goes to those who plan ahead, so add to your wishlist and submit your quote request.