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Farmstead Rewiring Course - Update

From: James L. Gibson, Ph.D. Educational Director

I have attached the spec sheet that describes the course in some detail (see below). We obviously have more material and if you need it, we would be pleased to share it. We are, in fact, just now developing a brochure that should answer more of the questions and could either be sent or emailed.

The principal contacts are Andy Ross, Madison Area Technical College Business/Contract Training Coordinator, and I. Our recently employed communicator is Ms. Marie Peterson. Both will receive copies of this communication and may be reached via the email addresses.

The Mike Holt organization is well known in electricity and for its work in promoting safety and efficiency in electrical use. Thanks for sharing the word about the course we are offering and in taking the time to follow-up.

James L. Gibson, Ph.D.
Education Director
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Energy and Transportation
Wisconsin Technical College System
Madison, WI 53707-7874
Phone: 608-266-2412 Fax: 608-266-1690

Effective March 25, 2004, The WTCS state office is relocated to the following address: 345 West Washington Avenue, 2nd Floor, Madison, WI. The mailing address remains: Wisconsin Technical College System, PO Box 7874, Madison, WI 53707-7874.

Wisconsin Technical College System
Farmstead Rewiring Course

This document is intended to help program managers, instructors, utility representatives and others better understand the farmstead rewiring course and expectations regarding its delivery. It has been prepared by Dr. James L. Gibson, Education Director, Wisconsin Technical College System. He may be reached at 608-266-2412 or at

Item Specification Notes
Duration 18 hours in class (normally taught 3 hours per session over a six week period)  
When it is to be offered. Colleges are expected to work with local utilities, in coordination with the statewide program manager. Offerings should be made when the contractors are most likely to have time (not during the heaviest part of their season, nor that of the farmers with whom they will work). Late fall and winter are probably the best natural times to offer the course. Utility and electrician demand will be important to gauge.  
Target Audience Electrical contractors (who can supply a Federal Employer Tax ID number) or their employees.  
Course Description This 18-hour course is for rural electricians (or their employees) who do farm wiring and rewiring as a part of their existing business. The primary emphasis is on safety and efficient use of electrical energy. The content is applicable to any farming operation but the focus is primarily on dairy operations. The course is designed to cover the unique challenges of working on farms and around animals, review of electrical fundamentals, applicable state and national electrical codes, 3 and 4 wire systems, bonding and grounding, installation of lighting and equipment, planning the work and development of a rewiring proposal.  
Course Number 413-482 (Continuing Education) Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce Course Identification Number Is Available MATC-Madison is the initial agreement and course number assignment. Contact Mr. Don Linstroth
Continuing Education Units Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce has authorized 18 hours of CEU (Continuing Education Units) toward Journey and Master electrician continuing education certification requirements.  
Successful Program Completers Lists Each college is expected to retain and share their list of successful program completers. Students must be notified that this is a part of the program. Lists will be shared with the utilities upon request. Lists must contain the names of the individuals, contact information, and the firms with whom they are associated.Standard forms registering continuing education units by the Dept. of Commerce will be signed by the instructor and sent by the college to the Dept. of Commerce.  
Instructional Materials
  1. The curriculum and supporting materials will be available on a CD that has been developed for this course by a broad based team of engineers, electricians, regulators and educators. This course is designed in WIDS (Worldwide Instructional Design System) format. The CD contains both WIDS and Word documentation for purposes of local production of instructor materials and student materials for each course offering.

  2. Each college is expected to make available a student version of the materials either in print or electronic format from the master CD which will be maintained by WIDS and periodically reviewed and updated by a committee of course developers and agency representatives. The cost of the CD master and copies of materials printed/bound must be built into the local cost structure.

  3. Additional references to be used by students must be provided at their cost and will include those listed in the Course Syllabus and their own copy of the current (2002) National Electric Code.

  4. The instructor kit is developed and must be maintained by each cooperating college. The kit will include a copy of the CD master, printed versions of the content of the CD, at least one multi-meter of sufficient quality for classroom demonstration, and access to the electrical demonstration board developed specifically for this program. The statewide manager will keep a roster of demand and help colleges either develop their own boards or suggest other logistical alternatives for those that have been built for the purpose.

  5. The kit will also include access information to the state exam. A confidential question bank will be maintained by Lakeshore Technical College (LTC), Cleveland, Wisconsin in cooperation with WIDS (Worldwide Instructional Design System, a division of the Wisconsin Technical College Foundation). Test validity and reliability information will require cooperation from each instructor who will provide competed raw Scantron scoring forms to the test bank, including the forms of the test used, for this purpose. Scantron forms are available in most colleges.
Instructional Staff

Note: We are developing a state certification requirement specifically for this position. The following requirements have adopted for the instructional team, including the lead instructor. Within the team (an instructional lead, utility company representatives, electricians, etc.) the following are required:

  1. Completion of the Univ. of Wisconsin Stray Voltage Investigator Training series (3 courses-conducted in cooperation with the Public Services Commission of Wisconsin) or an approved adaptation of this series.
  2. Journey or Master Certification (Electrician)
  3. Experience in Farmstead wiring and rewiring.
  4. Teaching certification within the colleges and system (WTCS)
  5. Acceptable to: utilities, regulators, contractors, IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), colleges.

A list of qualified instructors will be maintained by the statewide project manager. Local colleges and the state manager will be responsible for preparation of the faculty in a manner that is consistent with local practice. The state manager will attempt to coordinate/communicate technical in-service work so that a pool of qualified instructors is available to satisfy state and local demand for coursework.


The pilot test course offerings were subsidized by the utilities. As the colleges take this over, there is still an expectation of 'no-net-cost' to the. Colleges should charge enough to recover the actual total costs.

The standard recommended fee is $250 per student. Plus their own reference materials (NEC, for instance) and equipment (multimeters, etc.).

Credit This course could qualify for 1 (one) Associate Degree continuing education credit, or an elective in Electrical Apprenticeship, and may also be operated as an adult continuing education course.  
Notification and Promotion

Local promotion is the prerogative of each college choosing to offer the course. Direct contact by the college chosen local course coordinator (possibly instructor) with local utility representatives, electricians and contractors should be the primary methods of advertising. This course is targeted for electricians only. Not the general public.

Notification of intent to offer to a statewide program manager for this project is a requirement.

Coordination of course content.

Coordination of the course content and development will be an on-going challenge for which we will all be expected to cooperate. Instructors will be expected to be involved in the course development process and make suggestions for purposes of improving the content and delivery. Course content is not the prerogative of the instructor or college.

This is a statewide course with an expectation of uniform content, student outcomes and industry preparedness to qualify for farm rewiring incentives being made available with approval of the Public Service Commission by individual utilities. An instructor who varies from this plan risks being removed from the list of qualified instructors and other sanctions that might actually accrue to the system as a whole.

Performance Evaluation Student performance, as tested by the successfully inspected and approved farmstead rewiring job, will ultimately dictate our system outcomes in this arena. Students are required to attend all scheduled classes, contribute to class discussion, score at the 80% or higher on the final examination and 21 or higher on the case study.  
Future Directions

Even during course development, the question repeated itself in a number of ways, but essentially, what next? An obvious answer is repeating this course when the updates of the national electric code and the agricultural provisions of the code are completed in 2005.

Other options which widen the target audience to include lighting and electrical equipment installers have been discussed within the steering committee.


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