Teaching Welding in the Virtual World Conference

June 24, 2021

Virtual Mini Conference

IPG Photonics LightWeld



AWS Contact
Martica Ventura


In the age of virtual learning, many welding instructors find themselves trying to adapt to the unfamiliar world of online teaching. Join us for the Teaching Welding in the Virtual World Conference, where welding instructors can walk away with practical, actionable insights for teaching in an online environment.

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During this virtual one-day mini-conference, the panelists will provide strategies that are focused on online welding instruction. This includes giving welding instructors real examples of Virtual Instructor-Led Training and offering the tools and resources for them to use in their virtual classroom. Register today to learn how to use different video platforms, motivate and grade students using online tools, and much more—all while earning PDHs.

Conference Benefits
The virtual conference would:

  • Provide strategies that are focused to online welding instruction.
  • Provide welding instructors with real examples of Virtual Instructor Led Training.
  • Provide tools and resources for welding instructors to use in their virtual classroom.


Rick Polanin
Rick Polanin

Vice President


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Richard Polanin was elected to serve as vice president. He is a retired professor and program chair of the manufacturing engineering technology and welding technology programs at Illinois Central College. He is currently coprincipal investigator for Weld-Ed, chair of the AWS Peoria Section, and vice chair elect of the IIW Commission XIV. He is also an active member of several AWS committees.

Nick Peterson
Nick Peterson

District Manager

Miller OpenBook

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Nick has been with Miller since 2000 and he is the administrator for Miller OpenBook and has re-edited all of Miller’s training materials after having been a Miller District Manager in Arizona. Nick was an international Welding Competitor for the USA in 1993 and earned a $40,000 scholarship from Miller Electric Mfg. to earn a Welding Engineering Degree from Ferris State University in 1998. Nick has worked as a welder since 1990 and was elected to the American Welding Society Board of Directors for the 2022 to 2024 term as a Director at large. He serves on SkillsUSA’s National welding committee and the AWS WorldSkills Competition Committee, AWS Education and The AWS Foundation Grants Committee. Nick also teaches a class at Arizona State University and is also a Director and Corporate Secretary for Nocti Business Solutions a professional assessment company located in Michigan.


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Eduardo Guerra

Instructional Design Manager

AWS, Education and Training

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Coming Soon

Eric Pesak
Eric Pesak

Executive Director, Welding Instructor & Student Opportunity Architect

Texas High School Welding Series (TXHSWS)

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Eric Pesak had his own construction company but the economic downturn of the early 2010s and a new employment opportunity allowed Eric to take his construction industry knowledge and make the transition to high school education. After two years teaching Construction, the opportunity to move back home and teach Agriculture Mechanics became available and Eric was up for the challenge. He quickly adapted to teaching about metal instead of wood and in six short years has become truly passionate about the welding industry. His passion for the industry has been built through relationships with local industry representatives, postsecondary institutions, and other teachers just like him who have the intense desire to help students succeed. You will find Eric at school, on the road, or on the phone dedicating over 80 hours per week to bridging the gap between education and industry. His commitment in the classroom to quality instruction are what make him a visionary for the Welding Education field. His desire to help students earn industry-based certifications is matched only by his regard for the quality of the certifications themselves.

Eric lives in Weimar, Texas with his wife, Britina, where they tend to the “Deep Roots” hobby farm of chickens, ducks, geese, cattle, trees, and one sweet dog named Maple. Check out the TXHSWS website at txhsws.org or on social media @txhsws


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Danielle Garcia

SENSE Program Manager


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Coming Soon

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Menachem Kimchi

The Ohio State University

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Coming Soon




11:00 am – 4:30 pm (EDT)

11:00am – 11:15am
Welcome & Introductions
Rick Polanin, AWS Vice President, CoPI Weld-Ed, Professor ICC


11:15am – 12:00pm
Instructional Design for Online Welding Instruction
Rick Polanin, AWS Vice President, CoPI Weld-Ed, Professor ICC

Presentation Overview

During 2020 and early 2021, as a result of Covid-19 mitigation practices welding education and all education changed dramatically. Reported by welding instructors in a Weld-Ed survey, 93.3% of schools were closed in the spring of 2020 and79% of welding instructors reported that their students were not well prepared to enter the workforce. We were unprepared to move to online instruction. This presentation will review some of the learning theory and instructional strategies to develop and deliver successful online welding instruction.


12:00pm – 12:10pm


12:10pm – 12:40pm
Nick Peterson, Miller

Presentation Overview

OpenBook™ is a FREE software application or Web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess learning processes. OpenBook™ provides Welding instructors with an easy tool to assign and deliver welding content, create quizzes, download welding labs, monitor student participation, assess and report student progress and performance.


12:40pm – 12:50pm


12:50pm – 1:35pm
Welding Instructor Maximizing the Virtual Teaching
Eric Pesak, Texas High School Welding Series (TXHSWS) Executive Director, Welding Instructor & Student Opportunity Architect

Presentation Overview

Tactile learners may be the best students in the classroom but in the virtual class or lab, keeping their attention can be challenging! We will discuss how to keep your students skills sharp as they continue to grow in applicable knowledge online. This knowledge will help them develop faster, more efficient and productive skills when they are able to get back to their preferred style of learning.

1:35pm – 1:45pm


1:45pm – 2:20pm
AWS Poster Competition used as a Student Project
Menachem Kimchi, The Ohio State University


2:20pm – 2:30pm


2:30pm – 3:15pm
Danielle Garcia, AWS Program Manager, SENSE

Presentation Overview

The AWS SENSE program is a welder training program dedicated to helping schools implement fundamentals of welding at both entry and advanced levels. The program offers guidelines for a curriculum to be built to, exams to assess acquisition of knowledge in each competency, and an industry-recognized credential for students who become eligible. The program is hosted through a learning management system (LMS), an online platform that provides both instructors and students with access to SENSE resources and credentials. During this virtual conference we will explore the LMS and point out its benefits for all users.


3:15pm – 3:25pm


3:25pm – 4:10pm
AWS Education and Training – Resources for Instructors
Eduardo Guerra, AWS Instructional Design Manager, Education and Training

Presentation Overview

This presentation will focus on the various resources and training options that AWS has created for welding instructors and students. This demonstration will feature an in-depth look at the “Fundamentals of Welding” curriculum and the revamped AWS Learning platform, as well as an overview of the AWS Online Education Library and other current and upcoming online courses geared to support welding education.


4:10pm – 4:20pm
Question & Answer

*Conference Schedule Subject to Change


*Sponsorships Subject to Change

LOGO Sponsorship

Benefits Include:

  • One Complimentary Registration for Company Representative
  • Company Logo and Link to their Website on Conference Landing Page
  • Company Logo placements during Virtual Event break
  • Attendee List

For More Information on Sponsorhips
Martica Ventura


American Welding Society Learning