The new normal – Day 22

April 7, 2020

Spencer Batute, Staff Writer

Editor’s note: “The new normal” is a continuing series that looks into how members of the Los Medanos College community are coping with a shelter-in-place order amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Before the campus closure, Appliance Service Technology Instructor Debbie Winckler’s teaching style was hands-on — she helped students work on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, and other household appliances. Now, Winckler spends most of her day behind the computer, helping students through the Internet.

For Winckler, an alumna of the LMC Appliance program herself, this change in pace has been extraordinary. Most students, and Winckler, are used to meeting in-person to tackle technical projects.

“They’re not book learners, they want to learn by putting their hands on things and by doing,” Winckler said of her students.

The appliance repair students also lost an opportunity to see LG and Whirpool trainers in action. Winckler explained that the appliance company representatives have come in to do factory training for their own technicians on the LMC campus before. The LMC students would have been able to watch the training and also see their newest appliances.

However, not all education has been lost. Through the use of online technology, Winckler’s students are able to simulate the learning they would normally do on campus at home.

Using Zoom, a video conferencing app currently used by many educators across the nation, one of Winckler’s students showed the class his microwave and went through diagnostics of the appliance remotely.

Winckler’s students are also able to run diagnostics for HVAC appliances through a virtual simulation service provided by ed tech company Cengage.

Additionally, because many of her students are without income, Winckler posts potentially helpful job leads she finds to her class’s Canvas page. 

Although many California workers are either working from home or have been laid off as a result of the shelter-in-place order, HVAC and appliance repair jobs are considered essential.