Opinion: Online welding is uncharted territory

By: Haley Barnett

Executive Producer

Since classes were moved online due to COVID-19 many professors have had to get creative with how they teach. In some classes it is easy to transition to an online lecture, however, labs aren’t quite as easy to do over the internet.

Many agriculture classes that are transitioning online are having to find new ways to teach in order for students to still receive some type of real-life experience in the classroom.

Students in one class are learning to weld online. This may sound strange or impossible, but it is something that students are having to adapt to doing.

If you have ever had any experience welding, this seems like you wouldn’t be able to learn a lot from welding online. It is a very different experience welding online than welding in real life; however, both have the opportunity to teach you something.

Welding online is about precision and learning how to control your movements.

I have been having to weld online and it has been a very different experience compared to when I was learning to weld in person. I would prefer to be welding in person and feel like there is more to learn there. I question how this is truly affecting students that have never actually welded before. Are they truly getting the experience needed to weld in real life?

The answer to that is yes for some and no for others. Students are getting the only experience that professors can give them at this point.

For some students that have welded before, this will set them up for more accurate welds. On the flip side, students who haven’t welded before will not be prepared to weld in real life.

Professors have had to become creative in how to teach their students something from an online lab. In my class, we have had to watch several videos that teach us which welder would be better for which circumstances and get the opportunity to simulate a weld through a website.

The website is free and primarily focuses on the speed and accuracy of your welds as well as staying in a straight line.

While the website provides students with some experience, it is not teaching us how to turn the welders on safely, how to weld things on different surfaces, and how to weld at different angles.

Overall, I feel as if welding online has enhanced my welds and that when I get the opportunity to weld again, I will have more accurate welds and they will be cleaner than they were before.

This is uncharted territory and professors are trying to give their students an online experience similar to what they would be learning in class. They are doing their best to teach us what we need to learn.

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