HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, NL
– A new welding camera is helping students see things a lot clearer.
Similar technology is available throughout the country; however, College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is the first in Canada to own the new MeltView Apex 3 Camera (another college in Ontario has the Apex 2) and is currently the only institution in Atlantic Canada using this particular brand of leading-edge equipment.
The innovative teaching tool, currently being used at CNA’s Happy Valley Goose Bay campus, is something Welder instructor Robert Marshall has been advocating for some time. He believes it will revolutionize how the Welder program is delivered to students.
“The camera can see things the human eye behind a welding shield has difficulty seeing,” he said. “Some aspects of a properly performed weld are subtle and can be overlooked by a student at first.”
The new equipment gives students the advantage of taking their time and reviewing their welds.
“While they are practicing, they often get overwhelmed with all the parameters they must meet and are too busy ‘trying’ to take instruction well. With playback that can be paused, slowed down, and repeated, the small errors that they missed while performing the task can be made clear to them.”
Marshall says using the camera in class will have a huge impact on his students. Typically, students would have to huddle together to see the welding taking place. With COVID-19 protocols, it was nearly impossible for students to maintain physical distancing and view the welding at the same time.
Brent Howell, Dean of Natural Resources and Industrial Trades, knows first-hand the potential this camera has for enhancing the Welder program’s delivery. He witnessed a demonstration of similar technology in Western Canada a while ago and was so impressed, he was quick to support Marshall’s quest to acquire one.
“The actual precision this tool brings to the students – a high-resolution camera that can zoom in and provide a quality image – allows the instructors and students to talk about the quality of the weld and identify problem areas that the human eye might miss,” said Howell. “We see the value of this tool, as it enhances the teaching and learning experience and our overall ability to deliver the material and provide opportunities for students to improve their skills.”
For example, the APEX 3 welding camera allows the instructor to record for future playback or live stream and project the weld in greater detail onto a large screen to enable students to view all of these details unobstructed.
“This is very exciting because we can also record welds for the students to view on their own time,” said Marshall. “The very small size of a welding arc and weld puddle make it impossible for more than the two closest students of the group to effectively see a demonstration. In a class of 15, about 13 are only seeing the arc itself, some at a distance up to 10 or more feet away. Little is gained from this experience for the novice welder. Now more than ever it’s time to help students observe and understand the workings of the molten puddle without crowding around their instructor.”
Jenn Wicks, Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation with CNA’s Distributed Learning Service, helped procure the camera and says already they see the many benefits for students.
“Being able to view their own growth from the beginning of a program to the end can remind them of how far they have come and how much they have learned,” said Wicks. “By using these teaching tools, we also help our students and graduates become valuable contributors to industry and our communities.”
For more information about Welder and other CNA programs, visit: www.cna.nl.ca
College of the North Atlantic