Star Technology Students Master Project Management
by Jeff Bell
Ruth Wagoner, flooded open-loop team leader, while learning a new profession of solar technology, is learning the intense world of project management as well. “I have learned how to use the Excel spreadsheet, and it’s a handy tool,” Wagoner said.
Project management consists of organizing ideas, documenting information, contacting team members, monitoring team progression, producing professional bill of materials and more.
The class, Solar Thermal Installation (SET 155), is teaching far more than the basics. “These students are learning a profession, not just a job. They are gaining marketable skills and knowledge to manage a project of solar thermal installation,” Gary Thompson, course instructor, said. The students are working through a series of milestones, each having different goals, developmental training opportunities and trials. Working with other classes is increasing the project management aspect.
Drafting students, from the class Schematic Drafting, have created drawings from the sketches supplied by the solar teams. “All three designs were handed to each student. The student has had to complete a drawing for each of the teams,” Darin Affolter, drafting instructor, said. The teams and the drafting students have made all necessary revisions and developed the build diagrams, also known as the Process & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID).
The P&ID is used to guide the construction, with modifications being noted as the build continues. After completion, Schematic Drafting students will revise the drawings with modifications, producing As-Built Drawings, which will become part of the final deliverable and solar system manual. Affolter is using these projects to teach another class as well.
The Technical Drawing 2 class is also drawing several drawings to be used in the fabrication of intricate parts. “I have broke the class up into teams; each working on one cart design. These teams will create the working drawings to be used in the fabrication class during another milestone,” Affolter said. As with the Schematic Drafting course, these students will also need to produce a set of as-built drawings from notes concerning modifications. With all of this interaction, students from the three different classes have developed working relationships and an increased knowledge.
The solar technology teams are beginning to develop their knowledge and technical background as the projects progress. “They are getting fluent in all of the terminology each thought they would never understand,” Thompson said. “I am learning so much about all of this. It is hard work, but very enjoyable. Learning the project management side of things is very interesting,” Wagoner added.