How WSU Tech is teaching hands-on learning in the hands-off era

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — WSU Tech is in the same boat as many technical colleges, trying to teach traditionally hands-on skills during the middle of a pandemic where social distancing is needed.

“We have really just found really creative ways in order to make sure that our students are successful with a clear path forward in both the Spring semester and then the semester we just finished in December,” said WSU Tech President Dr. Sheree Utash.

And while you might think the COVID-19 pandemic would hurt WSU Tech’s enrollment, Dr. Utash says differently.

Whether it’s in the classroom honing their skills on a designing program or perfecting a welding bead, some changes had to be made.

“When they’re outside of their booth, working on projects, they have to wear a mask they have to take all the normal precautions. But in their booth, where it’s kind of a private environment, they can go in there so their mask doesn’t fog up their helmet, and spend time actually practicing the trade,” Roger Attebury, a WSU Tech Machine Technology professor explained.

For Dr. Utash, the credit goes to both the instructors and students.

“I give them [faculty] the credit for how successful we’ve been at doing this,” she said. “The students have shown great resilience and grit to be successful during this period of time. To me, that’s a real marker of what our future is.”

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