Acetylene, was discovered by Edmund Davy in 1836 but it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that it was used for welding and cutting steel. So the use of Oxy-Fuel Welding (OFW) by industry predates electric arc welding (Cary, H.B. 1998). In recent years electric arc welding, first Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), and now Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) with their higher rates of productivity have replaced the Oxy-Fuel Welding in the workplace. There is some debate wether Oxy-Fuel Welding should still be taught as it is no longer used in the workplace and it is not necessary to learn oxy-fuel welding in order to learn other welding procedures (Sgro, S., Field, D. & Freeman, S. The impact of teaching oxy-fuel welding on gas metal arc welding skills.” 2008). It is my opinion that oxy-fuel welding is still a useful welding process and is a good skill to learn, especially for those students who want to go on to learn the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (TIG) welding process. (Covell, R. 2005)
In 2001 Vancouver was ranked third for the number of artists and first for artistic concentration (Hill Strategies 2006). Many of these are visual artists working with recycled steel. Vancouver is also home to the growing Maker Movement, people who embrace a do-it-yourself lifestyle and enjoy learning new skills. “Playing With Fire – An introduction to Gas Welding” is a way in which these people, who have little or no experience can get an introduction to the oxy-fuel welding process. Oxy-fuel welding equipment is versatile and relatively inexpensive and flame cutting is widely used in the steel fabrication industries. Using both classroom sessions and practical, hands-on time to practice in the shop, this course will teach students to use basic welding skills in a safe manner. This course incorporates praxis by having students design and build a project that utilizes their newly learned skills, so they will have something to show for their efforts. At the end of the course students will have a basic understanding of how to gas weld safely that they can use to further develop their skills and techniques, in this way the course encourages students to develop ‘lifelong learning’ as a goal.
Competency-Based Education/DACUM Chart
This course uses a Competency-Based Education approach in its structure and design (School of Instructor Education 2012). The course is organized as a series of seven workshops and is directed at students who have no prior experience with gas welding, so learning has to begin at a very basic level. The course is designed so that students learn a series of competencies that build on one another as they learn to take the basic ideas and practical skills associated with gas welding to the point where they can use their new skills to build their own project. The focus is on the learner and students are assessed on how well they perform the gas welding skills being taught and their focus is to continually improve their skill level through practice. Students are trained on real equipment in a realistic, shop setting. The course outlines six goals that students strive to achieve and each goal consists of four to six objectives that students must attain in order to reach the goal. All these are concepts and characteristics of competency-based education as outlined in the PIDP 3210 text book (School of Instructor Education 2012).
Performance Objectives give my students a clear understanding of what skills and knowledge they will be learning and how those skills and knowledge would be taught. These performance objectives assure the students that they will have the necessary knowledge to move on to the next level of the course so they can relax and not be intimidated at the prospect of learning unfamiliar concepts and skills. Performance Objectives also assist the instructor in making lesson plans to make sure that all the necessary knowledge and skills are covered. The ten performance objectives I chose are examples representing each of my DACUM goals and were chosen to give an idea of what is necessary to successfully reach each goal. They were selected to illustrate how both the classroom and the shop setting are used to teach students the knowledge and skills to successfully complete the course. Another factor in my choice of Performance Objectives were to show the different methods that will be used to assess student performance and what is necessary for the students to successfully complete each objective and reach the stated goal.
Since my course is a non-credit, general interest course using a workshop structure I felt a brochure would be a better format to use to advertise my course to as large an audience as possible. In a brochure I can use more graphics and pictures that attracts people’s attention and gets them interested in reading the information about my course. This is important as my course is not affiliated with an official school so in order to attract potential students I have to gain their attention and convince them that my course is worth taking. Brochures are a less formal curriculum document than an official course syllabus and I felt it better suited to a course that offers no accreditation to its participants.
My course includes both classroom sessions where students listen to lectures, watch movies and then discuss the knowledge that is presented to them and shop sessions where the instructor demonstrates the competency being learned and the students then practice the demonstrated skill in order to master it. The classroom sessions and demonstrations are designed to give the students the confidence to attempt the skill and be successful. The schedule is designed so students build on the learned knowledge and skills as they move from knowledge about safe practices and basic concepts, to setting up and using the equipment, to brazing, then to welding and they then get to use these skills to design and create their own project. As this is a non-credit course students evaluate their own performance and assess what they need to practice further in order to master the art of gas welding given the criteria contained in the Performance Objectives.
Curriculum Integration and Alignment
Alignment is important as students learn best when the course material flows in a logical and consistent manner. I have designed my course so that it moves from the basic to the complex and the students build on the competencies that they are taught. For example students learn to braze metal before they learn to weld metal even though both processes involve the same equipment and physical skills. This is because brazing rods are composed of a brass alloy that melts at a lower temperature than the metal filler rods used in welding metal making it is easier for beginners to weld successfully using a brazing rod. By successfully mastering braze welding techniques students will then have the confidence to replicate these techniques and be successful when they attempt to weld metal.
A sample of how I integrate alignment into my course is illustrated when we examine how Performance Objective B5 is incorporated throughout the course. Performance Objective B5, “In the shop and working with a partner, wearing proper PPE and after checking for potential hazards, light the torch and produce a neutral flame, within three tries” is taught in the second lesson of the course schedule. On the DACUM Chart this Performance Objective is part of goal B, “Set Up Gas Welding Equipment And Use Torch” and is Objective B5 ” Light torch and produce a neutral flame”. In our needs assessment we describe that ” this course teaches students to use basic welding skills in a safe manner ” and before a student can use basic welding skills they must be able to light a welding torch and produce a neutral flame. By connecting our lesson plans to the needs assessment and course rationale we make sure that our students gain the knowledge necessary to reach the desired goals that the course is designed to achieve which is to give students the basic knowledge so they can go on to safely develop their gas welding skills.
I chose to develop a lesson plan for the second lesson in my course as the students are taught using both in the classroom and in the shop. The students start out in the classroom reviewing the material covered in Lesson 1 and reporting on their homework assignment (come up with a gas welding fact not covered in Lesson 1). Next the instructor using lectures and videos, the instructor teaches the students principles of basic metallurgy and about the tools and equipment used in gas welding. This gives the students some basic knowledge so they are better prepared to ask questions about the welding process and discuss how the tools and equipment are used. The students then move to the shop where the instructor demonstrates how the tools are used and how to set up the welding equipment. The instructor then answers any questions the students might have before they set up the welding equipment for themselves while the instructor assesses and critiques their progress. By using lectures, videos and discussions I try to appeal to students who learn best by learning facts and figures, the demonstrations and skills practice appeals to students who learn best by doing. The lesson plan tries to take into account the fact that students learn in different ways “Recognizing different learning styles is an important factor in assisting learners to develop practical skills. Catering to the different needs is critical for success.” (Hampton, C., Teaching Practical Skills 2002, p. 84)
The Lesson Plan creates a positive learning environment by making sure that the students are allowed to discuss and ask questions about a subject area before moving on to the next subject area. The instructor also demonstrates a skill or activity in order to give the students a positive model to follow before the students practice the skill or activity for themselves. By working in pairs the students are able to engage in peer learning and correct and coach each other. By assessing and critiquing the students as they practice the instructor is able to correct any bad habits before they become part of the student’s technique. The lesson plan is designed so students develop the confidence to move on to ever-increasing complex skills and successfully master them.
“Curriculum development can be described as the process of defining, organizing, combining and co-coordinating content so that it leads learners to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes.” (Dunbar, K. 2002, p.31) “Playing With Fire – An Introduction to Gas Welding” provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to safely practice gas welding. It informs students of the competencies they must learn in order to reach those goals. It allows them to assess their learning by outlining the criteria that they must meet in the Performance Objectives. The lesson plans are aligned to the goals of the course and flow from one to another in a clear and concise manner building upon the knowledge being taught from the simple to the complex. By taking “Playing With Fire – An Introduction to Gas Welding” students will gain the “ knowledge, skills and attitudes” to pursue the art of gas welding further and also be better prepared to learn other forms of welding.
Cary, H. B. (1998). Miller – The History of Welding. Retrieved June 2, 2013, from http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/articles/index.php?page=articles14.html
Covell, R. (2005). Miller – TIG Welding for Street Rods. Retrieved June 2, 2013, from http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/articles/TIG-offers-precise-bead-control-aluminum-Ron-Covell
Hill Strategies (n.d.). Artists in Large Canadian Cities (Statistical insights on the arts, Vol. 4 No. 4). Retrieved from Canada Council for the Arts website: http://www.creativecity.ca/database/files/library/artists_large_cities.pdf
Mishra, A. K., Bartram, J., Dhanarajan, G., Calder, J., John, M., Dunbar, K., … & Grundling, J. (2002). Skills development through distance education. Commonwealth of Learning.
School of Instructor Education, (April, 2012). PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development Course Guide. Vancouver, BC: Vancouver Community College.
Sgro, S. D., Field, D. W., & Freeman, S. A. (2008). The impact of teaching oxy-fuel welding on gas metal arc welding skills.
Tyler, R. W. (2010). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. University of Chicago Press.