Master Samurai Tech Academy Blog | Appliance Repair Training

Dynamic Doodle Dynamite! Another Powerful Tool For Teaching Circuits

Posted on January 14, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk

Here's a 2-minute snippet from a recent Doodlecast video I made and added to the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair training course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy. The full video is 22 minutes and I explain current flows and voltage drops in parallel circuits using Ohm's Law.

I'm having fun making these Doodlecasts and we've found that they're a great way to explain basic electricity to appliance repair technicians!


If you are enrolled in the Fundamentals course, be sure to check out the full 22+ minute presentation in Module 3, Unit 4.

And to see even more of this kind of stuff, attend Office Hours, our regular live webinars where I use presentation tools like this to explain all kinds of electrical and troubleshooting concepts.


New Quiz and Exam Format in 2016

Posted on December 30, 2015 by - Academy Talk

Some exciting new changes have been made to the quiz and exam format at the Samurai Tech Academy!

We've changed to "non-blocking" quizzes and exams, and no longer require 100% to pass.

It's probably easiest to explain this change by comparing what we've been doing with the new system:

Our original quiz structure was as follows:

  • Students had to score 100% on each unit quiz before progressing
  • They had three attempts to achieve this score
  • After failing their third attempt, they were blocked and had to interact with us either in the Student Forums or Office Hours before being allowed to take the exam again.

Module Exams were similar, but with different score requirements and attempt limits.

The rationale behind this structure was to enhance student accountability and prevent students from “brute-forcing” their way through the course without really learning anything.


  • Since all students had to score 100% on quizzes, there was no grade that meaningfully reflected a student's grasp of the material.
  • If a student missed one question, they had to retake the entire quiz, not just the missed question = annoyance factor.
  • Some students were basically using a “process of elimination” to get some of the answers correct.
  • Some students blew through 3 attempts without seriously trying to figure out why they were missing the ones they were missing. Then they had to wait to interact with us to continue.
  • Some students who got blocked stopped making progress in the course.
  • This structure was based on the assumption that all students would receive a certification. But we have found that certification is not a key goal for every student.

Solution - our new quiz and exam structure:

  • A quiz must be taken in order to move on to the next unit, but a student does not need to achieve a particular score in able to move on. This way, the important sequential order of going through the units is preserved, but there is no blocking that inhibits progress.
  • Each quiz and exam has a recommended minimum score of 80%.
  • Although there is a minimum recommended score, students are not required to achieve this score. However, to receive a Certification from the Samurai Tech Academy, their unit quiz average must be 80% or higher and they must score 90% or higher on the module, midterm, and final exams (for the courses that have those). (Note: the cumulative grade requirement doesn't apply to students who were already partway through the course when this change was made.)
  • Students get two attempts at the quiz to achieve their desired score. The final score reflects their grade for that lesson. If the student doesn't do as well as desired on the first attempt, it is up to him or her to do what they need to do to improve their score on the second attempt.
  • Students are not required to take the quiz or exam a second time. Each student makes that choice for himself.
  • Resets for students who want to retake quizzes/exams to increase their scores can be requested ONLY at the end of a module, after the module exam has been taken (if there is one). It will be for the entire module, not just for one quiz. The student must explain why they want a reset and what they plan to do differently the second time through.


  • The new structure allows for greater flexibility for each student to get out of the Academy what they want while preserving the important sequential flow of each course.
  • Places the responsibility for learning the course material and getting extra help with the student. This encourages each student to take ownership of his or her learning experience.
  • If a student does poorly on their first quiz attempt, it is his or her responsibility to seek interactive help, which is abundantly available to them in the Student Forums and Office Hours, before taking the quiz a second time and finalizing their grade for that lesson. This lets each student decide how much, if any, interactive help is needed in order to master the material and furthers our goal of offering a unique learning experience to each student.
  • A student’s progress is not impeded by getting blocked on a quiz or exam. This, in turn, will yield a higher graduation rate.
  • A student’s cumulative score becomes a meaningful metric of the student’s grasp of the material. The student (or his employer)-- not STA staff-- sets the standard for how well they learn the material (unless they desire a Certification).
  • Certification may not be important to each individual student. But those who want it will work harder for it and the help is amply available for them to get it.

Any questions? Ask us in the Student Forums!

Unleash Your Inner Super Tech this Holiday Season

Posted on December 29, 2015 by - Academy Talk, Career Talk

Stop the guesswork on service calls and become a Master Samurai Tech. Troubleshoot and repair appliance problems that none of your competitors could. Win the hearts and minds of legions of customers. Take pride in your work. Use coupon code SUPERTECH2016 when you enroll in any course or course bundle at the Samurai Tech Academy before January 6, 2016, and get a 10% tuition discount!

SuperTech 201

Master Samurai Tech Radio Episode 13

Posted on December 21, 2015 by - Academy Talk, MST Radio

In this year-end vodcast, Samurai Appliance Repair Man and the Mrs. Samurai do some reminiscing about all the great students we’ve worked with during 2015, the new features we’ve added to the Samurai Tech Academy's state-of-the-art online appliance repair training courses and we describe even more improvements coming in 2016!


New features already in place:

- Midterm exam with open answers in Fundamentals: challenging, enlightening, empowering.
- Weekly live webinar “Office Hours” with the Samurai for students: powerful presentations and illuminating Q&A.

Exciting announcement: even though we’ve increased the features and benefits of the Academy, the tuition is NOT increasing! Instead, we have changed to a continuing access fee model. When you enroll in a course, you receive full access for 1 year (2 years if you purchase a bundle), then you can opt to continue paying a very small monthly fee for access after that time period. (Note: this does not affect students who have already enrolled.)

More flexibility in 2016: we are changing the nature of the quizzes - they will no longer be “blocking” - leaving it up to each student to personalize their learning experience.

Oh, one more thing… In our enthusiasm to describe all the exciting goings-on at Master Samurai Tech, we forgot to mention our year-end tuition special! D’OH! Use coupon code SUPERTECH2016 at get a 10% tuition discount off any Samurai Tech Academy course or course bundle! This coupon is good through January 6, 2016.

Merry Christmas!

You can listen to just the audio portion of the vodcast in the player below or subscribe on iTunes/Android:

Master Samurai Tech Radio, Episode 12 [Special Video Edition]

Posted on October 30, 2015 by - MST Radio


podcast1 200Industry Talk:
- BSH- what's the "H" stand for?
- Charge your smart phone from your refrigerator *wirelessly* with WattUp technology.

Master Samurai Tech news:
- New post on how loose electrical connections, like splices and terminals, can produce enough heat to burn wires and insulation.
- Recapping the dismal and outdated state of appliance repair training today. YouTube makes hands-on disassembly training obsolete. What we need today is BRAINS-ON training! Learning the theory of operation and the underlying technology in modern appliances today so you can figure out weird problems without relying pattern recognition (if this problem, replace that part). Real technicians today are skilled in the lost art of troubleshooting: following a cause and effect chain of reasoning to its logical conclusion and identifying the defective component that is no longer operating within specifications.

Business Talk:
- How to handle those tricky service calls where there was no problem found.

Tech Talk:
- Troubleshooting scenario: electric dryer element not getting hot. Good power supply. Known good element. Element connected: have 120vac from each end (L1 and L2) to N, but 0vac across the element terminals. What conclusion can you draw? Voltage vs. voltage drop; 120/240 single phase-split phase household electrical power supplies; loads in series.

Web Analytics