The main strength of the CRC program is probably its’ focus on real-life projects in addition to mastery of drafting software. Our students learn about the building process and codes as well as the software used in the industry. This means that they are well prepared to put their skills to use in the industry with minimum surprises since they have worked on projects like those they are being asked to do for their employers. The following illustrate this approach.
Trouble-shooting and dimension-checking skills
Professor Kirkham may present a foundation plan drawn incorrectly or include some other incorrect dimensions to teach his students to check and catch errors.
Management and Design skills
In ADT 314, The student will act as the designer and the instructor the owner of a building, perhaps a small restaurant for example, undergoing design. Students handle all management and design details right down to “timesheets”.
The program has an advisory committee made up of local architectural and engineering firms. Its’ role is to insure that our program meets their need for well trained employees.
The newly designed courses ADT 316 and 318 will use this software. He is putting a newly revised curriculum through and it should appear in the 08-09 CRC catalog.
The program currently is a late afternoon through evening program because it shares classroom computer lab space with other technology driven programs like automotive and Architecture. There is a very large “new building project” on the horizon that could spur growth in offerings and availability. When this building project is complete, each program, Architecture and Architectural Design Technology, will have its’ own laboratory.
Since even courses that sound like CRC courses may well be taught very differently, Professor Kirkham looks much more closely at quality of work. If credit is given for previous work, it is usually for ADT 310, Introduction to CAD.
Yes, there are additional costs associated with ADT classes. Remember, people take these classes to enhance their employment prospects so it is similar to the automotive technician who is expected to invest in his or her tools. ADT is high technology and while there is software available in the labs for the student to use and sometimes there are free download versions (Auto Desk now allows six months free download for the full program), those who do best in these classes will buy their own software. That way, they can work on projects at home and the software is theirs to keep and use on the job. Average costs are about $400 for “perpetual use” versus $100 for a one year lease.
Of course, you will need a pretty good home computer to handle this software. A minimum of 2 gig RAM will be required.
In addition, there will be about $200 to $300 for supplies and text books.
Currently all classes are lecture/lab format in T117. This is a 30 station modern classroom/lab.
Professor Kirkham felt that basic arithmetic skills were important. In order to progress, the student needs to be able to do work at home for them to really “get it” with regard to the software skills. He says that it is common for students to struggle with the software and then have an “ah hah” type experience as it finally clicks for them. This takes a bit of tenacity.
Advising students with previous courses or experience.
The counselor may be trying to help a student who has had several CAD classes in high school. Students can come with as much as four years of ROP CAD classes and feel that they do not need ADT 300, Basic Technical Drafting. They may not but sometimes high school students don’t have all that they need to bypass 3oo. High school programs vary widely from weak to very good. The bottom line is that students need to know more than how to operate the software. They may know the auto cad commands very well but not have the basic understanding of building materials or construction and engineering practices to be able to complete a detailed design. In our ADT 300, students acquire basic sketching skills, do square footage calculations and study very basic codes related to electricity, plumbing, doors and foundations.
ADT 300 should be seen as the basic course, required to move on to ADT 310.
How is ADT different than architecture and Interior Design?
Counselors should also be aware of how Architectural Drafting Technology supports yet is different from both the Architecture program and Interior Design programs such as that at American River College. Our program is focused on “build-out” of interior space with an infusion of the software that facilitates this. Students will learn how the external portions (foundation and walls) of a building are built but only to the extent that it helps them plan what goes into using the internal space. Our Architectural Design Technology students concern themselves with things like the physical space design within the exterior walls and sound resilience rather than color, fabrics or decorations which are in the domain of the Interior Designer.
Does our Architecture program use similar software to the ADT program or are they focused on something different?
The Architecture program uses a three dimensional modeling software known as form “C” because its’ use is driven by articulation with four-year architecture schools. This is different than that used in the Architectural Design Technology courses The ADT student will use a wider variety of programs.
How will we transition students to the new program?
The new program will be in the catalog in 08/09 but we will have to phase the courses in over time since students will need to finish up the earlier program. Use sub-waivers to resolve transition issues.
What are the implications for a one person department?
We will probably begin with hiring adjunct professors to teach some of the expanded curriculum and when the building project is complete, this program can grow.
While an internship is not required as a part of the degree, it is certainly advisable for students to do a volunteer or paid internship through the CRC Co-operative Work Experience program. Students can earn up to four credits per term in internships (a maximum of 16 units total toward a degree). Call 691-7372 or visit the COOP website at http://wexp.losrios.edu Professor Kirkham feels that once the student has completed ADT 300, 310 and 312 they are ready for an internship.
Who are our students and what is the classroom culture like?
Students are all ages; many are recently out of high school and, some semesters, an equal number who are already working in the drafting profession. Many of these are in their 30s and 40s. There are a good number of female students also.
How much of the instruction is “hands-on” or workplace simulation?
Typically, there is more lecture and demonstration during the early part of a term and then, as students gain familiarity with software and the design process, it shifts more towards lab work.
What is the nature of the relationships between students and between the students and professor?
It appears to be very relaxed with the students seeking advice and assistance with their projects. Professor Kirkham keeps the lab in T117 open M&W 2:00 to 3:00 pm, T&TH 12 to 1:00 pm and T 3 to 4:00 pm so that students can work on their projects.
What do students have to say about this program?
“I had two years in high school but realized that I didn’t learn much”
“Terry” (Professor Kirkham) is like the City always red-lining our drawings. I will have to frame this one (perfect, with no red ink)!”
Several commented that ADT 310 covered the “fundamentals really well and it was “very helpful” (for Architectural students) before taking Arch 320. The same Architectural student felt that “everyone needs ADT 312.”
“I use what I learn in my contract office furniture business.”
Students may take the Auto CAD Certification Exam. This is taken at an “ATC” (Authorized Training Center). Such certification, while not required, may be recognized by an employer as a desirable verification of skill level.
How well do CRC graduates do on these exams? A student who has completed ADT 310, Introductory CAD and done well in the class can pass the exam.
Not directly, but most construction management four-year degrees want some of these skills.