By Mason Duffey
On March 17, 2020, McPherson College announced that it will “complete the second semester remotely using online technology beginning on March 30.” This new plan for education stirred up even more stress, questions and some discontent from some students, especially the restoration majors. As a restoration major myself I wondered how this online education would affect the restoration program’s famous hands-on shop classes. The restoration program prides itself on fully preparing its students by teaching them all of the hands-on knowledge of working on a car, from sewing seat covers to rebuilding an engine. While they can still get the same book knowledge, switching to online classes means students will miss out on the core hands-on knowledge that is essential to their degree. Before students left campus, an impromptu meeting was held for the restoration students in Templeton Hall, hosted by the restoration department faculty. They informed that they would work their hardest to equip students with the best education as possible.
I reached out to some of the restoration students who will be severely affected by this -the technology pathway students. The technology pathway is the most hands-on pathway a restoration student can take. It involves the most restoration specific classes, most of which are based on working in a shop to gain first-hand knowledge working on a classic car. Student Brandon Chaffin, a sophomore in the program, said “Automotive classes held online are a huge letdown. It’s definitely not the type of education I want, for the dollar amount I’m paying.” During the meeting held in Templeton, an idea was mentioned about having free workshops, or classes on the weekends for students that missed out on shop time this semester. I asked Chaffin what he thought about this idea, and if it was something he would be interested in. He followed up with “I would definitely be interested in in free shop tutorials held during the next semester. I feel that would be a great gain for students in the restoration program that felt like they didn’t get the proper education that they paid for.” I asked several other restoration majors from different pathways, and everyone thought it would be a great idea. Those students that are interested in learning the hands-on skills could still learn it and be able to spend more time with professors perfecting their craft.