Hands on Maintenance Education for Technicians

The HOME4TECHS project was funded as a “Small Grant for Institutions New to the NSF-ATE Program.” Northwest State was part of the NSF-ATE Mentor-Connect Project, which assists small, rural community colleges in writing an NSF-ATE grant for the first time.

This project consists of building a model for converting three industrial technology courses from a traditional face-to-face delivery model to a competency-based, hybrid, open-lab instructional model. The project also includes professional development for three faculty to accomplish the goals of this project. This is a 2-year grant that started in August of 2015.  The following project information is an overview of the problem, the solution, and steps to create the solution.

The Problem:

  • Curriculum needed realignment to employer needs
  • Traditional college schedules no longer works for employers
  • Inconsistent skill level of graduates
  • It takes too long to complete a traditional college certificate or degree

The Solution:

  • Redesign the curriculum to meet employer needs
  • Build a competency-based, hybrid instructional model
  • Require individual skill assessments (mastery of skills)
  • Move the lecture portion of the courses on an online format
  • Utilize technology tools to accelerate learning
  • Offer the students a flexible open-lab schedule

The project consists of 3 distinct areas to accomplish the solution. Click on any item below to expand the selection and read more.


  • Realignment of curriculum
  • Competency-based learning
  • Hybrid course model
  • Modular online eLearning
  • Hands-on assessments
  • Open lab learning model

Technology to Accelerate Learning

  • Virtual machines for each student
  • Hand-on hardware simulations
  • Student access to software 24/7
  • Virtual interactive simulations
  • MOOCs

Faculty Professional Development

  • Quality matters
  • Instructional systems design
  • Online course development
  • Instructing online courses
  • Technical content cross-training
  • Learning object development


Contact Information:
Tom Wylie, associate VP of special projects & adjunct faculty at Northwest State, is the principal investigator (PI) for the HOME4TECHS project.  He can be reached by email at: twylie@NorthwestState.edu, or by phone at 419.267.1203.