Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

MCC pioneers new real-world approach to education

General, Journal, March 2024 | 0 comments

March 2024

MOHAVE COUNTY — Mohave Community College (MCC) is pioneering a new approach to education, focusing on real-world experiences and cross-disciplinary collaboration to better prepare students for the workforce. The initiative, led by MCC Electrical Technology Instructor Michael McKenzie and Carpentry Instructor Dan Underwood, aims to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities that go beyond traditional classroom instruction.
“This is something I have been thinking about for years, getting portable buildings from a local vendor and having the students install the wiring as a kit,” McKenzie told the MCC Newsroom. “This was our first attempt at it and I think it went pretty well.”
The project kicked off with McKenzie and Underwood putting together a floor plan. Electrical students then took the reins, considering the needs of the “customer” and equipping the structure with AC, LED-efficient lighting, and networking capabilities, among other features. The process, which took approximately three weeks, culminated in students from the Kingman campus traveling to MCC’s Bullhead City Campus to put the finishing touches on the project.
“The students came to the Bullhead City Campus well prepared with all materials required and a very good design,” Underwood told the MCC Newsroom. “The participating students carried themselves as professional tradespeople, and completed the project in the exact time that was quoted by Mr. McKenzie.”
The project not only provided students with practical experience but also fostered collaboration between different disciplines. McKenzie emphasized the importance of such interdisciplinary interaction, noting how transferable skills from each class can overlap and enhance communication between different disciplines. This real-world application of skills, he believes, is a crucial part of the learning process.
“‘There’s only so much we can simulate in our lab,’ McKenzie told the MCC Newsroom. ‘We have some residential jigs and some commercial, but the real-world application, drilling holes and studs, pulling wire from the circuit breaker panel to the end device, doing the finish, many of these things are learned in real-world situations. To see the finished product, from a design page to a finished presentation to the customer, was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.’”
The project also allowed students to use tools they hadn’t used before and to experience the process of a project from start to finish, including dealing with unforeseen challenges. This hands-on experience, McKenzie believes, is invaluable in preparing students for their future careers.
“‘You get two schools of thought involved in a project and that gives students the opportunity to experience that before they’re working in the real world and have to deal with those experiences,’” McKenzie said. This collaboration between different disciplines not only enhances the students’ learning experience but also prepares them for the realities of the workforce where such interdisciplinary interaction is commonplace.
Looking ahead, McKenzie expressed interest in involving community vendors in future projects as a community package. “‘I think this was a great first step,’” McKenzie told the MCC Newsroom. “‘Now we can iron out the bugs. I’d even like to see community vendors that sell these structures get involved as a community package. We develop a package, they pay for materials, the students get hands-on experience and they get a well-done electrical installation in their building, which increases their marketability to their customers.’”
This innovative approach to education, combining classroom instruction with real-world experience and cross-disciplinary collaboration, is a testament to MCC’s commitment to preparing its students for the workforce. It not only equips students with the necessary skills but also gives them a taste of the realities of the job market, better preparing them for their future careers.
As Mohave Community College continues to innovate and adapt its educational approach, it remains committed to its mission of providing students with the skills and experiences they need to succeed in the workforce. This project is just one example of how the college is achieving that mission, and it’s clear that both the students and the community stand to benefit from these efforts.

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