Creating Opportunities for Entry into the Trades: Using a Blended Classroom
ABSTRACT This paper explores using Industry and business representatives in online courses to enhance the student’s authentic interaction with program materials while in a campus setting. It will look at the benefits and barriers from student, faculty and employers perspective. Normally student engagement hinges on the degree of interaction with the content, other students, and the course instructor. Adding online interactive engagement with industry professionals creates an opportunity to align course studies with real world experiences. In the early stages of a government funded project, Saskatchewan Polytechnic is using a variety of methods of creating opportunities for people from underrepresented groups (Indigenous, Female, People with disabilities and New Comers to Canada) to attend introduction to trades programming. Using industry leaders and business owners that could be their future employers we are opening up the opportunity for employers to participate in the student’s education. Overcoming barriers that these groups might have when taking trades based courses will be identified and solutions to these barriers will be examined. Designing interactive online course materials to supplement on campus classroom and shop time as well as engaging students and faculty with employers and community support groups will enhance their learning experiences.