Troubleshooting Education

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For administrators of community colleges and extension programs:



Students learn a strategy for solving problems in technical as well as other fields
and gain comfort with technology using a real machine for hands-on practice.



How does a MIMIC machine help in learning troubleshooting?

FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) about the troubleshooting course

Mechatronics for community colleges

Links to information about maintenance and troubleshooting

IDEAS! on training and troubleshooting

About the creators of these courses

Available packages and preview materials

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Community College Course Resources

What Is "Systematic Troubleshooting"?

"Systematic Troubleshooting" teaches a strategy for solving problems. Although the course is in a technical context, it can be used in any situation. It provides a plan of action and tools for executing the plan. It uses a hands-on machine as a teaching device. This works well with machine-oriented people. Others who have little experience working with machines will build their confidence and competence as they have success in the course activities.

Students work together in teams to gain information and find causes of problems in processes of all types using computer-based or print resources and information gathered during class activities.

How is the Course Designed?

The course is directed at using the resources of the brain rather than a rigid series of steps to solve problems. This requires that the problem-solver has the right kind of information about the machine or process stored in memory or that he or she has access to this information. The course teaches how to identify the type of information needed for troubleshooting and provides tools and practice in obtaining it.

And of course,
The Mimic is used
in all versions.
"Students can't wait
to get their hands it."
(Quote from user at
American Tool Corp.)
There's no problem
maintaining attention, and
students learn by doing.

Then the course presents a method for finding the causes of problems using the machine or process information:

Using an information table, the student first defines the problem. This focuses the brain on the problem to be solved. The person should also be able to state what he or she would consider a solution to the problem. Next, they use a matrix on which possible causes and facts are entered on the x and y axis. The matrix is formed by the junction of x and y. At that point, a judgement is made, based on the person's knowledge, of the effect that each fact has on each possible cause. The cause may be more possible, less possible, impossible or the fact may have no effect or is irrelevant. The columns below each possible cause are totalled. Those with the highest scores are the most possible. If the results are not conclusive, investigation is conducted using the table. Results are added to the facts and new totals are taken.

The core of the problem-solving method is the
Troubleshooting Action Guide, which facilitates
analysis of knowledge and existing data.

What Does the Course Include?

There are a wide variety of content, instructional materials and presentation options that make the course suitable for a complete stand-alone course, addition to an existing curriculum or for an industrial extension program. These include:
Basic Systematic Troubleshooting course
Process information and troubleshooting for:
Seqential machines
Automated continuous processes
Robot-based crafts
Circuit boards and Digital Logic
Management of a field service operation
Industrial manufacturing processes
HVAC equipment
Presentation options and instructor materals include:
Fully scripted guide for new or inexperienced instructors
Detailed outline format for experienced teachers
Video-based format for new or experienced educators
Additional instructional materials:
Self instructional workbook in print or electronic PDF format
Electronic versions of all STS information and analysis tables
Lesson and activity on root cause analysis
Performance evaluation criteria
Course content test
Diagram shows Mimic input/output data at microcontroller pins.

At What Colleges Has the Course Been Used?

The Systematic Troubleshooting course has been or is being used at the following schools: Chippewa Valley Technical College, Eau Claire WI; Malaysia France Institute, Seangor Malaysia; Lorain County Junior Voc School , Oberlin OH; Macon Technical Institute, Macon GA; Republic Polytechnic, Singapore; Kentuck Community Technical College System, Somerset KY; Texas State Technical College, Waco TX; Triton College, River Grove, IL; Spartanburg community College, Spartanburg SC


Mechatronics is new terminology that describes courses now being offered by community colleges to develop skills in troubleshooting and innovotion in technical and scientific occupations.

The Learning Shop is now offering a mechatronics series including: "MICROCONTROLLER-BASED SYSTEMS,
"PERMAFIX" a root-cause analysis program.

This course provides these three vital courses to colleges and industry at a special package price.

Click the link below for details.

Mechatronics for community colleges

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