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in Advanced Technological Education

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Telesummit Offers Easy Way to Learn Recruitment & Retention Strategies

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Broward College students, faculty, administrators, and staff worked together on a hackathon in October 2017. The hackathon and Women Who Code club are among the recruitment and retention activities the college in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, initiated as a result of iWITTS’ WomenTech Educators Online Training.

Eight experts on student recruitment and retention including Donna Johnson, whose Guaranteed 4.0 study skills method that has helped many students succeed, will be featured in the 2018 STEM Success for Women Telesummit.  

The free online conference that aims to empower educators to recruit and retain more women in STEM will air for two hours each day on April 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 with the support of the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program. To register for the telesummit go to http://www.iwitts.org/stem-telesummit#register.

Mark Evans is one of six community college educators who will provide a “boots-on-the-ground perspective” of effective practices for recruiting and retaining women in STEM programs at two-year colleges. Evans credits iWITTS’s  WomenTech Educators Online Training and coaching from Donna Milgram, iWITTS executive director, with helping him attain 45% female enrollment (63 of 140 students are women this semester) in the Emerging Technology associate degree program at Athens Technical College in Athens, Georgia.

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  • science
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From the Archive: Biotechnology Resources for the College Classroom

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We are pleased to share Biotechnology Resources for the College Classroom, the first post in our new From the Archive blog series. Each From the Archive blog post will highlight a few selected resources from the ATE Central resource portal to further promote the work of the ATE community. This month, we’re highlighting the work of three ATE projects and centers that have created a wide variety of presentations, lessons, activities, course outlines, and more. These resources illustrate the breadth and depth of the biotechnology curriculum represented in the ATE Central resource portal and may be useful to STEM educators across bio and chemical technology sectors.

ATEP Biotechnology Module A & Module B Courses

Stored as Moodle backup files, these courses may be uploaded to a user’s own learning management system (LMS) or accessed online via the URLs provided. The content of each course, which has been made available to users under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, may be shared or adapted to meet the user’s specific classroom needs. Explore these modules for teacher notes, rubrics, lessons, student activities and assignments, labs, quizzes, and other learning resources.

  • In Biotechnology Module A, a course developed by Articulated Technological Education Pathways (ATEP), students are introduced to the fields of biotechnology and engineering. Students will also discover how science, technology, and engineering come together to help solve problems; explore different fields of biotechnology and its applications in everyday life; review basic biology and engineering principles; create an artificial source of insulin; work as a team to design, build, test, and evaluate a bioreactor; and use technology to solve problems.
  • In Biotechnology Module B, students use tools and skills introduced in Module A. In this module, students will design a bioreactor for producing microbial proteins, describe the parameters that can be altered to affect microbial growth and product formation, and identify methods for detecting the presence of enzymes.

For more archived resources by Articulated Technological Education Pathways (ATEP), visit the ATE Central resource portal.

Course-in-a-Box

Bio-Link offers a number of Course-in-a-Box resources intended for instructors to adapt and introduce into new courses. These collections of resources have been compiled and contributed by instructors of Bio-Link programs. Resources may include course descriptions, student outcomes, schedules, reading assignments, laboratory exercises, lecture materials, homework, classroom activities, exams, and videos. Check out these sample Courses-in-a-Box or click on the link below for even more options to explore. ATE community members who are interested in using a Course-in-a-Box may sign up for a free Bio-Link membership and gain access to additional instructor materials.

For more archived “Courses-in-a-Box” offered by Bio-Link: Educating the BioTechnology Workforce, visit the ATE Central resource portal.

Biotechnology I & II Course Outlines

The ATE Central resource portal houses an assortment of syllabi and other course outlines, which faculty members may find useful in designing or structuring their courses. Below are two examples from Increasing the Student Biotech Pipeline—a project focused on developing academic pathways and curricula in biotechnology leading to stackable certificates and an Associate of Science degree. These outlines may serve as examples for others looking to offer similar programs.

  • In Biotechnology I, taught at Los Angeles Mission College, "students examine the fundamentals of cellular and molecular biology and are introduced to basic biotechnology laboratory skills, including documentation, safety, solution and buffer preparation, quality control and bioethics. Students develop proficiency in aseptic technique, spectrophotometry, microscopy, and centrifugation."
  • In Biotechnology II"students are introduced to modern molecular biology techniques, including nucleic acid isolation, recombinant DNA techniques, cell transformation, recombinant DNA analysis, nucleic acid hybridization, and DNA sequence analysis. Students explore the production and purification of proteins using biochemical techniques such as immunochemistry and chromatography."

For more archived resources by Increasing the Student Biotech Pipeline, visit the ATE Central resource portal.

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  • science
  • technology

Team Approach & Planning for Great Photos

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Overall, the SFAz+8 colleges have seen significant year-to-year increases in the STEM student pipeline in their outreach programs, early college programs, internships, and degree and certificate program enrollments and completions.

When developing STEM outreach activities the task of obtaining high quality photos for use in online or print publications is often such a low priority that photos are forgotten completely or snapped quickly with a smart phone.

The resulting images may provide evidence that an event happened but lack the pop that can engage audiences’ attention in the important work that educators do.  

After submitting multiple first-rate photos for the ATE Impacts 2018-2019 publication, which will be published this year by Internet Scout Research Group (home to ATE Central), Regina Abraham shared the following tips for obtaining great photos and making sure the college has signed photos release forms from the people in them:

  • Arrange in advance for a professional photographer to work at the event.
  • Have participants or, in the case of minors, their parents sign photo releases when they register for the event.
  • Use color coding on participants’ name tags to indicate those who are willing to be photographed.
  • Provide clear directions to the photographer about who can be photographed.  
  • Announce when media professionals are present so that individuals who do not want to be photographed can move out of camera range for a few minutes.
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Brookings Report: For better learning in college lectures, lay down the laptop and pick up a pen

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When taking notes in a classroom, is it better use a laptop or write them out on paper? Surprisingly, a new Brookings report shows that students who note-take by hand earn better grades than those who opt to use a laptop during a lecture. Furthermore, evidence points to students actually learning less when using a laptop during class than their classmates who do not. 

Researchers at Princeton and the University of California, Los Angeles carried out a randomized experiment with a group of students. Randomly assigned either a laptop or pen and paper to take notes, the researchers had students watch a lecture and then take a standardized test. The test results showed that students using laptops scored substantially worse. 

Why is this? Researchers hypothesize that, because we can type faster than we can write, words basically bypass major cognitive processing in the brain. In contrast, when taking notes by hand, the brain has to process and condense the material before we put pen to paper, which results in a better understanding of the content of the lecture. In the experiment performed by researchers, the laptop notes more closely resembled transcripts while hand-written notes resembled summaries of the lecture. 

It was also determined that using a laptop during class is distracting to other classmates. In one of the studies outlined in the report, students were randomly assigned short tasks to perform while in class during a lecture, such as looking up movie times or going on Facebook. It was found that content on the laptop visible to other students served as enough of a distraction to lower test scores of students near those who were multi-tasking by 11%. In addition, students who were near those who were multitasking on their laptops scored 17 % lower on the comprehension section of the test. 

View the full report at the Brookings Institute site for more information and to read about additional experiments. 
 

Agriculture Enrollment Grows with Strategic Restructuring at Snow College

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A Snow College agriculture student uses a drone to check the dispersal of water from GPS-controlled sprinkler heads on a center pivot irrigation system.

When the number of agriculture (Ag) majors dropped to six in 2011, Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) leaders considered closing the department. Instead they revamped it to focus on agriculture business skills for family farmers.

By adding agriculture-related advanced technology content to existing STEM courses with the goal of helping small farmers run their operations efficiently, the college has restructured its agriculture offerings with the addition of twelve courses and two faculty members. Students have responded enthusiastically to the change. In fall 2017, 181 students took agriculture courses and Snow College had 128 declared agriculture majors.  

“To me it’s looking at the pieces of the puzzle, and re-configuring those pieces into programs,” said Jay Olsen, director of Agriculture and Farm/Ranch Management at Snow College.

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ATE Central’s 2018 Spring Sustainability Webinar Series

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Sustainability is a critical topic for ATE grantees. Whether you are part of a small project just starting out, or working with a well-seasoned center that has been funded for a decade, considering sustainability at every stage will strengthen the odds of ensuring deliverables and activities continue to be available for the long haul.

To help support project and center sustainability planning and activities, and in collaboration with ITHAKA S&R, ATE Central has been offering webinars and workshops each year on an array of sustainability-related topics. This season, Rachael Bower from ATE Central and Nancy Maron, from BlueSky to BluePrint, will focus on topics useful to centers and projects at all stages of growth. This series addresses three critical angles – first, a basic “health check” to see how your project or center is faring today; second, strategies for moving forward, with a refreshed set of goals and priorities; and finally, taking to heart the need to plan for changes concerning the most valuable asset any project has: its people.

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Alumni Talk about the Benefits of Community College Research Projects

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St. Paul College alumni Brandon Young, Tasha Spencer, and Megan McDonald identified many positive aspects of conducting authentic research while enrolled in the Science Instrumentation Technician program at the Minnesota community college. They shared their research findings at the 2017 ATE Principal Investigators Conference.

Nanotech research helped three Saint Paul College alumni move closer to their STEM career goals.

Saint Paul College students who enroll in the Science Instrumentation Technician associate degree program at the Minnesota Community and Technical College have the opportunity to work on authentic research projects thanks to the collaborative with industry the college formed with the support of a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant. (DUE #136157)

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Pew Report: Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults

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This recent Pew Research Center report details the trends in technology usage among older Americans age 65 and above. Broadband internet usage and smartphone adoption have dramatically increased within the last five years, making the current generation of seniors the most digitally-connected in history. Although there is a definite uptick in technology adoption, there still seems to be a digital divide among seniors with lower levels of education and income.

Approximately four-in-ten (42%) of senior adults report owning smartphones and 67% of seniors report using the internet, which marks a 55-percentage-point increase in about 20 years. Despite the increase, one-third of seniors report never using the internet, while 49% report not having broadband internet in their homes.

Technology adoptions rates differ dramatically when also evaluating education and income. 87% of seniors who earn $75,000 and above report having broadband internet in their homes, in comparison with just 27% of seniors earning $30,000 or below. Around two-thirds of seniors with bachelor’s or advanced degrees report owning smartphones (65%), compared with 45% of those who have some college experience and 27% of those who have high school diplomas or less.

These findings are based on several nationally representative Pew Research Center surveys. The main findings on technology adoption are from a phone survey of 3,015 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 29-Nov. 6, 2016.

Visit the Pew Research Center for the full report.

Categories:
  • culture
  • technology

Cross-discipline Project Alters Students' Career Paths

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City Tech students Jiaman Zhao, Mohamed Alborati, and Teddie Lai demonstrate the movements they programmed into the prosthetic hand they created, and the sensor data they utilize during a breakfast round table at the 2017 ATE Principal Investigators Conference.  (Photo by Madeline Patton)

A cross-discipline capstone project at the New York City College of Technology (City Tech) led students Jiaman Zhao, Mohamed Alborati, and Teddie Lai to change their career plans.

At the 2017 ATE Principal Investigators Conference the three associate degree graduates exhibited the prosthetic hand with embedded sensors that they fabricated with a 3-D printer and programmed using multiple hardware and software systems. In interviews they explained the project's unexpected impact on their lives: Zhao wants to work in a hospital prosthetics department while he completes his bachelor's degree; Alborati changed his major from mechanical engineering to computer engineering; and Lai plans to be a prosthetics designer rather than enter the military as a computer technician.

"Of course we are going to make it better," and "We have a lot of options," are just two of Lai's statements that sum up the students' takeaways from the ATE-funded mechatronics project (#1601522) that has computer science and electro-mechanical technology students create medical devices together.

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  • engineering
  • medicine
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Year-round Pell opens opportunities for students

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As many of us are aware, taking summer classes can be a good way for students to accelerate their studies or lessen the credit load for fall and spring semesters. But, what if they can’t afford to do so? In a report released in August by the Community College Daily, representatives from several community colleges across the U.S. expressed relief and overwhelming positivity toward the new Pell grant expansion.

The year-round Pell was previously available during the 2009-2011 academic years. Congress restored it this May, allowing it to go into effect as of July 2017, though many community colleges were not able to offer Pell grants this summer because most students had already completed their financial aid applications when the year-round Pell was approved. It seems that most colleges are ready to offer the Pell for summer of 2018. 

Leslie Buse, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) said that having summer Pell grants to look forward to “opens up a whole new avenue of relief for students. ” She referenced one student who had been at a four-year college, didn’t graduate and enrolled at NICC to get some job skills but is carrying a large amount of student debt. “It becomes so stressful for students trying to figure this out,” she said.

The year-round Pell can especially be of use to older, working students who are enrolled in career and technical programs. Having to take the summer off means more time needed in the long run to complete a program. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System said that not being able to offer the Pell Grant year-round has negatively impacted industry partners, or, employers of their graduates. “They have a need for employees all year; it’s not based on the academic calendar,” said Tucker, who emphasized the point during a Senate hearing this spring.

A report released this summer by the Community College Research Center shows that summer enrollment increased by 27 percentage points for each $1,000 of year-round Pell grant funding per student. This is particularly significant since the completion rate for associates degree has shown to increase by 2.2 percentage points since the re-institution of the year-round Pell.

The full report is available to read on Community College Daily's website.

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