Responding to COVID-19: Online Options for Chapters
When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and began affecting the IEC family, the Education and Training Department took swift action to assist IEC’s chapter network. With chapters temporarily closing their training centers and migrating to an online platform, it was necessary to augment the current CMS system and Big Blue Button (BBB) capabilities. In addition, it was imperative to increase internet bandwidth to accommodate this sudden increase in usage. Working with the ATP team, this was achieved.
For those unfamiliar with BBB, it is the program the IEC CMS uses to perform training and video recording for instructors. It is similar to Zoom and GoToMeeting. BBB can be used for office hours, mid-term/final exam review, guest speakers, presentations, and classroom instruction. It is a feature embedded within the CMS and is available at no additional cost.
With the abrupt move to online classes, many chapters expressed that their student body did not have reliable internet access outside of their training center. In response, the Education and Training Department compiled a list of low-cost or free internet resources (see infographic). Our hope is to offer realistic options to all IEC students so they can remain engaged during these unusual times.
“I was extremely impressed with the quick response and leadership our chapters displayed with the outbreak of COVID-19. Chapter Executive Directors and/or Training Directors jumped into action to find a solution to finish out the year,” said IEC Vice President of Education and Training Paul Dolenc. “Through a strong partnership with ATP, the Education and Training Department, the Apprenticeship and Training Committee, and IEC CEO Spenser Villwock were able to provide a solid solution to our chapters and apprentices. I am pleased that we had BBB to accommodate our chapters during this difficult time.”
“Although there is somewhat of a learning curve,” Dolenc added, “many chapters were able to use BBB with very few issues since many were already using the CMS.”
2020 Instructors Conference Postponed to 2021
Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on our nation, IEC has made the difficult decision to postpone the IEC Instructors Conference to July 2021 at the Eaton Experience Center in Pittsburgh. While this is a disappointing turn of events, we believe it is the best and safest course of action at this time.
Although we won’t be able to meet in person in July, IEC will bring our instructors and chapters together virtually to showcase what they will experience next year at the 2021 conference! Join IEC on Friday, July 24, 2020 for a free, live, BigBlueButton (BBB) session on our CMS, especially designed for instructors and chapters. This session will include live Q&A directly from the Eaton Experience Center in Pittsburgh. IEC strongly recommends that chapters conduct their in-house instructor training on this day in order to fully benefit from the presentations. More information regarding time and logistics will follow in the coming weeks.
CPE Testing Dates in Flux
As a result of COVID-19, several Certified Professional Electrician (CPE) exams have been canceled or rescheduled. For the most up-to-date information on testing dates and locations, contact IEC Director of Curriculum Development Chrissy Skudera (firstname.lastname@example.org).