Engineering Technology is and always will be a growing field. It is what sparks innovation in the manufacturing industry and drives economic success. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges recognized this and sought a Department of Labor grant that aimed to teach engineering concepts in an innovative way. Enter Lucid Way; an online training and elearning company in Moline, IL.
Owner at Lucid Way, Tim Hunter explained that “It’s a capstone project of everything we do as a company. Projects like this are challenging, creative, fun, and rewarding. By helping a person or school with these hard to understand topics in engineering, we are in a lot of ways helping our own future.” Lucid Way was an integral part of designing the online instructional delivery at the college.
The project takes simple STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) subjects that are normally taught with a chalkboard or a book, and transforms them into an interactive 3D model that explains the inner workings of various engineering technology topics. The website http://engineertech.org has over 150 simulations that can be downloaded or embedded into a learning management system, website, or be viewed on a classroom project. Everything is free and is available under a Creative Commons license.
The Associate in Applied Science Degree at EICC is designed so that roughly the first three semesters are identical and students can take courses at any of the three colleges. In the final semester, the student has the choice of specializing in four different areas: Automation, Electro/Mechanical, Process Control or Renewable Energy. These courses are delivered with a hybrid approach that works for both people in the workforce and full time students. The courses are offered through the online platform of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC), and a classroom/hands-on lab environment. Students can enter the course at any given time throughout the year and instructors are available every day and night to help the students with their lab work. This unique approach allows students to complete the courses around their own schedules, but also get the personal face-to-face contact with instructors that is often lacking in fully online courses.