Advanced Technological Education · August 2012

Welcome to the ATE Central Connection! Published the first Monday of each month, the ATE Central Connection is meant to disseminate information to and about ATE centers and projects, providing you with up-to-date ATE news, events, reminders, as well as highlighting new centers, projects, and resources. In addition, we will also highlight an educational topic with complementary resources found within ATE Central to help illustrate how ATE resources can be used in the classroom.

We want the ATE Central Connection to be a valuable tool; please e-mail with any suggestions about how to make the ATE Central Connection more useful for you or to suggest any information you would like to see in an upcoming issue.

Upcoming Events

August 7-9 2012 Ag HR Roundtable Springdale, AR
August 12-16 SPIE Optics + Photonics San Diego, CA
August 13-15 SOLE 2012 46th Annual International Logistics Conference and Exhibition Jacksonville, FL
August 13-16 Nanotechnology Course Resources II: Patterning, Characterization, and Applications University Park, PA
August 13-17 Guitar Building Workshop for Educators Richland, WA
August 15 Build a Better ATE Proposal: Evaluation and Logic Models Online
August 15-18 Protein is the Cash Austin, TX
August 20 OP-TEC Hybrid, Online Professional Development Course: Fundamentals of Light and Lasers Online
August 28 WomenTech Educators Free Webinar: More female students in just one year Online
September 9-12 Material Handling & Logistics Conference Park City, UT
September 18-20 HTCIA International Conference and Training Expo Hershey, PA
September 24-25 2012 Teaching & Learning with Technology Conference Columbia, SC
September 30 - October 2 AACC's 2012 Washington Advocacy Seminar Washington, D.C.
September 30 - October 3 CSCMP Annual Global Conference Atlanta, GA
October 2-6 2012 World Dairy Expo Madison, WI
October 8-11 Logistics Officers National Conference 2012 Washington, D.C.
October 14-16 The Association for Operations Management Annual Convention Denver, CO
October 14-18 Frontiers in Optics 2012/Laser Science XXVIII Rochester, NY
October 17 CyberMaryland Conference Baltimore, MD
October 17-19 2012 NCPN Conference Richmond, VA
October 24 Measuring Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results Washington, D.C.
October 24-26 ATE Conference 2012 Washington, D.C.

For more events, please visit the ATE Central Events page or, if you have any upcoming events that you would like posted on ATE Central or in the ATE Central Connection, please send them to

To add a continuously-updated list of ATE and STEM education events to your web site, use the ATE Event Widget.

Resources in Student Support and Retention

From the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science:

The Center for Women & Information Technology: Mentoring Tool Kit

This PDF guide from The Center for Women and Information Technology at the University of Maryland outlines the Center's mentoring program. The report includes steps to start a successful mentoring program, descriptions of mentor and protégé roles and responsibilities, and a draft of a mentoring agreement. These materials would be useful to colleges interested in setting up similar programs to encourage student success and retention, and apply to mentoring both female and male students.

From the National Center for Manufacturing Education:

Longitudinal Study Of Engineering Student Performance And Retention IV: Instructional Methods And Student Responses To Them

As part of an ongoing longitudinal study, the author taught five chemical engineering courses in consecutive semesters to a cohort of students, using cooperative learning and other instructional methods designed to address a broad spectrum of learning styles. This paper outlines the policies and procedures, assignments, and classroom activities in the experimental course sequence and describes the students' performance and attitudes as they progressed through the sequence. The results suggest that active and cooperative learning methods facilitate both learning and a variety of interpersonal and thinking skills, and that while these methods may initially provoke student resistance, the resistance can be overcome if the methods are implemented with care.

From the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence (SC ATE):

Recruitment & Retention of Engineering Technology Students

This monograph from the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education National Resource Center discusses the ways in which this center has worked to increase the quantity, quality and diversity of engineering technology graduates through the state's sixteen technical colleges. The center is working to achieve this mission through programs of faculty development, curriculum reform, and program improvement.

ATE Social Media Survey

Last month, many of you received a social media survey from ATE Central. We were curious about how members of the ATE community used and perceived social media. To answer this question, we created a survey in consultation with AACC and EvaluATE and informed by a recent report from the Information and Communication Technology Center. While the short-term goal of the survey was to better understand social media usage in the ATE community, our long-term goal is to provide tools and services to support social media best practices in the ATE context. Thank you to all of the people who completed the survey, as we arrived at some intriguing findings that we hope will guide our social media initiatives going forward. Key findings include the following:

  • Among the ATE community, current usage and perception of usefulness of most social media is low to moderate.
  • While ATE community members think social media are currently slightly to moderately useful, they think social media could be very or extremely useful.
  • Much of the ATE community is very interested in information, training, services, or tools that could help members use social media more effectively.

In other words, ATE community members perceived a gap between the current usage and the potential of social media. Also in this survey, a strong majority of community members expressed moderate to strong interest in the following:

  • Training or other guidance on how my project/center can use social media effectively.
  • Information explaining the available social media options.
  • A service or tools that would help manage my project's/center's social media presence.

To help address the needs and interests of the community with regard to social media, ATE Central will be publishing a monthly social media feature in the ACC. In this feature, we will explore various social media options (along with their pros and cons), some tips for getting started, ideas for building an audience, and how to use social media to support your mission. For now, we have two suggestions to get you started:

First, if you haven't already, please check out the ATE Social Media Directory. If you already have a social media presence, you can use this list to friend or follow other ATE projects and centers.

Second, if you are thinking about developing a social media presence but haven't yet, please take a look at the social media section of the ATE Central Outreach Kit. This includes a guide to popular tools, some tips on creating a professional profile, and more.

Community Connection

Designing a Data Management Plan

Whether you're writing a new grant, updating your proposal, or figuring out how to share the fruits of your labor, it's always a good time to think about your data management plan (DMP). Since 2010, NSF has required all grant proposals to include two-page DMPs to ensure that grantees have a strategy for making their data accessible and usable in a timely fashion. This is part of a larger initiative to provide the public access to federally funded projects, such as that done by ATE grantees.

NSF compliance is not the only reason to think about your DMP, however. Having a solid plan to archive and disseminate the results of your work contributes to your project or center's sustainability by ensuring access to your data, materials, and publications beyond the life of your funding and allowing future initiatives to grow from your hard work.

The NSF describes what goes into a plan thus: [DMPs] should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results (see AAG Chapter VI.D.4), and may include:

  • the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  • the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies);
  • policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  • policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  • plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

According to the EHR Directorate's supplemental materials on data management, initial DMPs should address two main questions: What data are generated by your project? and What is your plan for managing the data? In addition, ATE-specific plans should address the period of data retention, including "the underlying principle of timely access;" data formats and dissemination plans; and data storage, archival, and preservation of access. As the project progresses, annual reports provide information on data management and an avenue to update data management protocols. Finally, at the grant's conclusion, the Final Project Report discusses updates to and execution of the DMP.

Designing and implementing a DMP can seem like a daunting process, but fortunately, there are quite a few resources to help you construct a plan that works for you. We've highlighted some below:

  • The Syracuse University Office of Research offers a generic Microsoft Word template for a DMP.
  • The University of California offers a fantastic online DMP tool that guides users through step-by-step instructions, resulting in a personalized, ready-to-use DMP.
  • Purdue University has a DMP Self-Assessment Questionnaire. This questionnaire asks users a series of questions about the research data, data and metadata standards, data sharing and access, and intellectual property.
  • ATE Central's Archiving Service is a free option for archiving reasonable amounts of data and materials so they are still accessible online after the life of your project of center. For an example of this service, see the Northwest Center for Sustainable Resources collection archived on ATE Central at

Did you know?

The first public community college, Joliet Junior College, was founded in 1901 as an experimental post-secondary institution. It had an initial enrollment of six students, but today serves over more than 135,000.

News & Reminders

Do you use computer science skills in another field?

The NSF CI-TEAM funded Computational Thinking in America's Workplace project is seeking input from people who think like computer scientists but are working in other fields. Many use the affordances of computers and the cyber infrastructure to solve complex problems. You may be a biologist, or geneticist working in a research lab, an engineer designing new products/systems, a physicist, environmental scientist, or pilot plant technician. As a CT STEM-Enabled Professional you engage in a creative process to solve problems, design products, automate systems or improve understanding by defining, modeling, qualifying and refining systems, processes or mechanisms, often with the use of computers. Do you fit the bill? Do you know someone who does (e.g. advisors, industry or research partners)? If so, we invite you to go to There, you can complete a survey that will help us learn about the work of Computational Thinking-Enabled STEM Professionals and share that information with educators developing STEM programs. The survey closes at the end of August. For more information, contact: Joyce Malyn-Smith at

What kinds of ATE resources do you search for most frequently?

Vote in our online poll or share some of your favorite finds at

Follow ATE Central on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all things new at ATE Central and in the ATE Community as well as in the world of STEM Education

Want to know which ATE Projects and Centers and ATE partners and collaborators are using Social Media? Check out our ATE Social Media Directory and follow them too!

Can CWIS Software Help Support Your Project Goals?

CWIS is open source software, created with NSF funding, that can help your project or center showcase resources online. It's free and very easy to use. We'd be happy to provide you with more information about CWIS and give you a quick tour of its features — please e-mail to get started!

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