Tips for Instructors

We encourage instructors to call in, and ask for whatever help we can give. Below, are answers to questions or discussions I’ve had with instructors. If you have a question, or want to bounce an idea off us, call 1-800-992-3031 (in California).
– Rich Alexander

What do you have on substations?

We have two books on substations: 

Substation Operation and Maintenance - Covers in detail, all the equipment in a substation, and how to operate and maintain it. 
Substation Construction Guidelines - How to build a substation, or expand an existing substation. 

As far as I know, these two books are the only really good books ever published for substation workers. 

For each chapter in Substation Operation and Maintenance, there's a video. Some material in this book is pretty complex and students don't always get it the first time, so watching videos helps a lot. The 28 videos are available on disks as a DVDs, and on-line as Instant Videos. There's an Instructor Guide for each video with Q&As not available to students. They’re $15 each.

We also have other videos on Substation topics. To see them all, click here. 

For each video, there’s a Study Guide -- a smaller, friendly-sized book, 30-50 pages with color pictures). If you don‘t want the full-blown Substation Operation and Maintenance, teach from a few of these Study Guides. As a starter, Substations and Switchyards Study Guide has a tour of substations which identifies each major piece of equipment in a substation. Study Guides are $15 each. 

Should I use DVDs or go with on-line videos?

With DVDs, you have better control of the situation. You know who is watching and what they're watching. You can stop the video to emphasize an important point.

With on-line videos, we call them Instant Videos, you don't burn class-time watching videos. Students watch them on their own time. And a student can replay segments he didn't understand, without being embarrassed that he missed it. During class you need to only emphasize key points, answer questions, and give a quiz (very important) to make sure the students watched and learned.

In a couple of years, we expect on-line videos will replace much of the training done today with DVDs, just like DVDs replaced VHS tapes. 

My guys have trouble understanding vectors. Any ideas?

You're not alone. Lots of people don't really get vectors. For help, take a look at Vector Diagrams for Linemen. It makes drawing vectors (almost) easy. It eliminate all the engineer-y stuff, and covers what linemen need to know. It's based on the method for teaching vectors developed and refined by an lineman-instructor (Mark Anders) and is classroom-proven. The material in that book is also included as a chapter in Transformers for Linemen.

You have a little book, Frequently Asked Questions With Answers. What's that?

Yes, that is an unusual book. We wrote that book by asking the support people inside utilities, what are common questions that come in from the field. What we learned was, there's only about 200 such questions, then they start to repeat themselves. Some instructors use this book as a source of topics to sprinkle into their training. When they need a change of pace to the daily routing, they pick a question from this book, and have their students try to answer it. They use it as a teaching moment.

I'm set to teach a pre-apprentice course. What do you suggest?

I'd go with the instructor package with Basic Line and Equipment Skills - Instructor Guide. It's a four-week course, designed by Georgia Power as an on-ramp for any apprentice training program. The book has schedules for what to cover every day, detailed budget information, a diagram that shows how to lay out a pole yard, test Q&As, and 11 disks with PowerPoints and full-motion videos for classroom training. It's very complete and easy to teach from. Students get a separate book, Basic Line and Equipment Skills.

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