CRAM Project turns into real shop for computer repairs and upgrades
Centennial provides practical training to all of its students to apply the theoretical concepts in the classroom to a work-like experience. More than any lab practice, the School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science allowed its students from the Computer Repair and Maintenance program to set up shop and attract real customers, so they can practice their skills and build a solid understanding of their area of study. The ICT Shop was born from the CNET-290 - CRAM Project course.
Before the shop begins, students perform real work in the prerequisite courses, PC Hardware and PC Operating Systems. The course is very hands-on learning, minus the customers. The CRAM (Computer Repair and Maintenance) Project starts in the second semester of this one-year program, where students prepare to market their services as they distributed flyers around Centennial’s campuses. The ICT (Information Communication Technology) shop is the core of this course and takes up most of the semester.
The ICT Shop invites students, staff, and faculty members to bring their computer devices for repair, upgrades, and installations, free of charge. Both software and hardware components are analyzed, where students complete troubleshooting, repair, and maintenance tasks. Job tasks include antivirus software updates and operating system installation. This is an ideal work environment for students as they practice their technical skills and customer service skills.
In addition to the knowledge and skills learned, students must be adaptable and learn to be independent workers. Not all computing devices are made equal. Sometimes, students have to research from the manufacturer’s website to complete specific tasks, especially on laptop computers with components varying widely between brands.
Computer Repair and Maintenance student Lyndsey Duncan aspires to move to the Computer Systems Technology – Networking (Co-op Fast Track) program once she completes her current program. She entered the program, because of her interest in fixing computers, which became a hobby and soon will be a career. After her education, she wants to start out as a Bench Technician then advance to networking.
“I learn best when I’m in a hands-on environment,” says Duncan as she worked on a desktop tower. After completing diagnostics, Duncan concluded that it was a power supply problem, so she installed a new power supply and completed testing.
Duncan values this class and thinks her professor, Will Wong, is quite helpful. Wong has been teaching this subject for nearly a decade but his experience in the field surpasses that as he also currently practices in the industry as an ICT shop owner.
The ICT Shop is open during winter and summer semesters. ICT Shop customers can leave their devices or wait during the operating hours. Also, they must purchase the software and hardware to be installed or upgraded. This semester’s shop runs from January 31 to March 28, 2014.