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CETE and the Automated Materials Joining Project

In 2010, Ohio joined 12 other states to take part in Preparation for Tomorrow — an initiative to develop rigorous career technical programs that will prepare secondary students for high-demand careers and post-secondary success. The curriculum for these programs will integrate 21st century skills with rigorous academic standards that emphasize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This 12-state consortium was organized by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), which is a nonprofit organization that works with states to improve public pre-K–12 and higher education.

Each participating state has been tasked with selecting a unique career pathway that reflects the needs of today’s businesses and industry. Accordingly, each state is developing a series of project based courses related to its career area that incorporate the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). To this end, the Office of Career-Technical Education at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has partnered with CETE at The Ohio State University to implement Ohio’s chosen pathway focus: Automated Materials Joining Technologies (AMJT).

What is Automated Materials Joining?

The process of materials joining encompasses welding, soldering, brazing, adhesives bonding, and mechanical fastening. Additionally, there are over 100 process variations that involve lasers, electron beams, ultrasonic vibrations, frictional heating, and electric arcs. Much of this is automated through robotics, incorporating the joining of both similar and dissimilar materials such as steel, rubber, plastic, and more. Automated materials joining is integral to the production of automobiles, aircraft, bridges, pacemakers, artificial joints, farm tractors, appliances, and many other devices and products. Workers in this field need to have a high-level understanding of mathematics and science, as well as advanced technical skills. They also must be able to solve problems creatively and communicate solutions effectively in order to succeed. The goal of Ohio’s AMJT project is to provide students with these knowledge and skill areas through hands-on contextualized learning.

Course Development

ODE and CETE have been actively working with an expert panel of secondary instructors, post-secondary faculty, and business and industry leaders to develop standards-based courses for the AMJT project. Much of this collaboration has been conducted through face-to-face meetings on the campus of The Ohio State University at CETE and the Edison Welding Institute (EWI). The primary goal of these meetings has been to create initial project drafts for the AMJT courses. Additionally, an online review process has been developed by CETE to facilitate refinement of the project drafts through Microsoft SharePoint.

Each of the four AMJT courses are comprised of a series of projects that are designed to give students an appreciation for the breadth of materials joining in manufacturing systems. Currently, the projects for the first two courses are at an advanced stage of development. Course 1 provides students with a foundational understanding of the essential principles of materials joining technology; Course 2 explores materials selection and properties. Projects for the final two courses are still being developed at this time. The focus of Course 3 will be on robotics and joining applications.

The focus of Course 4 will be on testing, evaluation, and quality assurance.

Next Steps

The priorities of the AMJT project are to finalize the projects for Courses 1 and 2 and to continue refining the project drafts for Courses 3 and 4. Project pilots for the first two courses will be conducted in select career-technical schools at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. In preparation, a two-week training will be held in June for instructors who will be involved in the piloting. Details on the training and the piloting sites are currently being finalized and will be available soon.

David C. Mullins