At a local community college, adults of both genders and between the ages of 17-65 with diverse work experience as well as different ethnic backgrounds, entering into the career field of air conditioning and heating must take the “Refrigeration Principles” class before any advanced courses of instruction offered in refrigeration and heating. The course is taught two nights a week between 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. with an average class size of twenty-six students. The course is designed where the learner must access a web-based program, Blackboard, for reading assignments and quizzes. Learners who do not score a minimum of 70% on an assessment are allowed to take the quizzes up to three times with the final highest grade being recorded. The first class of the week is designed to review prior reading assignments and share additional information about the required reading material by way of instructor led PowerPoint method, as well as answer student questions. Upon completion of the review students proceed to the lab where they apply their knowledge by way of student-led and instructor assisted method. Lab performance learning is generally the last two hours of the first day and three and one half hours the next class day. There are no prior skills required.
Local community air conditioning and heating companies have advised the program director that many students who have either graduated or are currently enrolled and applying for work are unable to perform the basic skills: calculating the efficiency and basic skill functions of an air conditioning system, which the “Refrigeration Principles” course teaches.
The instructional setting includes 26 students at a local community college who are adults of both genders and between the ages of 17-65 with diverse work experience as well as different ethnic backgrounds. Out of the 26 students 13 of them work day and 3 work night jobs. The class demographics are usually comprised of 70% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic or European origin, and 5% African American. Nearly 85% of the students obtain financial tuition assistance through either the Pell Grant or government education program. Of those obtaining financial assistance nearly 60% are unemployed or have been laid off from their previous employer. Generally there is one adult aged female in each class, but this isn’t always the norm. The students lack motivation and discipline in their desire to be successful. Attendance shows that there are students who either show up late or have high absenteeism. Many of them fail to read the required reading and homework assignments, and exhibit a lack of respect for the instructional setting. There is one instructor and one support lab assistant for the class. The college offers free tutoring to students who feel they need the extra support.
Many of the students demonstrate a lack of basic mathematical skills which are required to perform the essential calculations for air...