Advanced Technological Education .

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.

In This Issue

Featured Resources in Engineering - Optics

From Laser and Fiber Optics Regional Center (LASER-TEC):

Video Guide to Laser Safety Plan Safety_2.3.15.mp4

This short video provides an overview on laser safety. This video is designed to assist teachers who are interested in incorporating LASER-TEC lesson plans into their classroom. The video includes guidelines for laser safety in the classroom and provides guidance for instructors interested in facilitating a demonstration lesson about laser safety in their classroom. This video runs 11:55 minutes in length.

From OP-TEC: National Center for Optics and Photonics Education:

Fundamentals of Light and Lasers: The Spectrum of Colored Light

This lab activity, presented by John Chamberlain, examines the spectrum of colored light as it passes through a diffraction grating. In this four-minute video, Chamberlain demonstrates the use of color filters, stands, a flashlight, and the diffraction grating to identify and modify ranges of color in the spectrum. Students can then use this information to investigate the spectrum on their own. This lab, 1-1C, is the third in a series of 20 available on the Fundamentals of Light and Lasers.

These videos were created as a supplement to the Fundamentals of Light and Lasers curriculum available through OP-TEC, but can be used independently to guide lab activities related to this topic. Contact OPTEC for more information on their available educational resources.

From Midwest Photonics Education Center:

Laser System Design and Integration Considerations

These slides were presented by Matt Sidlinger at the Lasers in Manufacturing Symposium hosted by the Midwest Photonics Education Center and industrial laser company Trumpf Inc. Symposium speakers "highlighted topics such as laser sources, applications and integration, design considerations for laser welding, laser use in manufacturing medical devices, and advances in 3D metal printing."

This presentation covers the following topics: laser system design, product validation, process validation, and integration considerations.

Community Connection

Report from the Community College Research Center: Understanding the Needs of Part-Time Faculty at Six Community Colleges

In a new report published by the CCRC, the myriad issues facing part-time and adjunct faculty are explored, in addition to suggestions and new avenues that can be taken to help address those issues. The report is a summary of findings from a research project entitled Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement, launched in 2016 by Achieving the Dream, which is a non-profit "focused on evidence-based, institutional improvement of community colleges to promote student success." The CCRC is an external evaluator for this project.

The report (which contains data collected from 59 interviews, plus data from a faculty survey completed by 254 part-time faculty members from six community colleges) revealed that of those surveyed, 64% of part-time adjuncts are female and reported an average of nine years teaching at their college and 18 years of teaching overall. Commonalities among part-time faculty were found through this analysis, which revealed frustrations with unpredictable teaching schedules and employment, feeling disconnected from the life of their department and institution, and limited opportunities for advancement, among others.

Professional isolation seemed to be a very common thread drawn among interviewees, with one chemistry teacher who taught evening lab sessions quoted as saying, "In the beginning it was kind of scary to think that if something goes wrong, nobody is there," in regards to other department staff not being on campus in the evenings. Other part-time faculty members reported enjoying the isolation, as it provided a feeling of autonomy and freedom not always found in other positions. As one explained: "I love my job because of benign neglect: you leave me alone, and I pay you back by doing the best job I can."

An overwhelming sentiment expressed by faculty members is a strong commitment to their students and to teaching overall, even though many experience low pay and less-than-optimal working conditions (fewer than 1/3 of adjuncts reported not being provided a desk, phone, or computer). 68% of part-time faculty reported being extremely or moderately satisfied with their job, much of which is attributed to their experiences with their students.

Suggestions for improving the working lives of part-time faculty listed in the report include providing clear and accessible information about resources and policies, creating opportunities for collaboration and connection, and assessing issues related to compensation. These common features are all part of new design and implementation strategies that are underway at the six community colleges participating in the project.

To view the research brief and faculty survey in full, visit the CCRC's web page about the project.

ATE Success Tips: Websites

There are many approaches for writing and designing website content that accurately presents the mission, goals, and work being done by your project or center, as well as the ATE community at large. However, most visitors to your site will skim content and look at images rather than read every word. To create content that effectively reaches all facets of your audience, it's important to keep a few strategies in mind when writing for the web. Here are some ideas to consider when writing and designing content for your website.

  • Put the most important information first. Those who skim will usually just look at the first line of text, so it's a good idea to present the big picture in the beginning.
  • Simple statements often work best. Keeping your web copy simple, self-explanatory, and easy to understand may keep visitors from navigating away from your site.
  • Use bulleted lists when possible, as this breaks up content and creates easy-to-digest chunks.
  • Assume visitors will arrive anywhere on your website. Don't rely on your homepage as the official entryway - users may arrive anywhere. If interested, check out Google Analytics for more ways to track where people land on your website.
  • Consider whether or not the content on your site meets accessibility standards. Check out the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Quick Reference Guide for more information, or look into a network took like HTML_Codesniffer that will check your code for you.

Did You Know?

Following its first full year of availability, the year-round Pell Grant program is gaining traction among community colleges. About four out of five community colleges that responded to a national survey by the AACC said they have seen an increase in the number of students receiving Pell grants this summer compared to last summer. To learn more, read the full pdf.

Select STEM Education Resources

A few online STEM resources from outside of ATE, that you may find of interest:

NCES: Distance Learning Dataset Training

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) offers a number of data products from its myriad studies on education. With the Distance Learning Dataset Training (DLDT) system, NCES provides "an online, interactive tool that allows you to learn about the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data products across the education spectrum and evaluate them for your particular purposes." These free, self-paced modules are designed to aid researchers and professionals, as well as students and general audiences, in accessing NCES reports and datasets and in "conduct[ing] analyses using selected statistical software packages and/or by using data tools provided on the NCES website." DLDT suggests that new users begin with a set of seven introductory common modules, while users who are familiar with NCES can choose from numerous dataset-specific modules that are organized by data type, such as longitudinal surveys and administrative data. Each module on this resource gives a brief description of its content, as well as its run-time and slide count.

The Story of Stuff Project

Annie Leonard founded the nonprofit The Story of Stuff Project in 2008 after her 2007 animated documentary about consumer society, The Story of Stuff, went viral. Here, visitors can watch all of The Story of Stuff Project's short movies online, most of which are in the same style as the original video (which is also available in both Spanish and English). Many of these videos provide annotated scripts, which include detailed footnotes with source citations. The resources section offers educators free learning tools for students from Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i backgrounds intended to help "teenagers explore the relationship between their consumption, their faith, and the health of the planet," as well as an activity for 3rd and 4th-year high school French learners based on a translation of The Story of Stuff. This website also offers Citizen Muscle Boot Camp, a free four-week online course for future change makers, as well as a reading guide to accompany Leonard's 2011 book, also entitled The Story of Stuff. Following the success of The Story of Stuff Project, in 2014 Leonard became the executive director of Greenpeace USA.

Class Central

Those interested in free online courses from universities around the world, such as those offered on platforms like Coursera and edX, may find Class Central to be a helpful resource. Class Central is a search portal and review site specializing in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It describes itself as "a giant curated catalog of MOOCs spread across different online course providers," specifying that they "focus on quality, and we manually categorize and tag every MOOC." Visitors can search for courses by keyword or browse by subject, university, or provider, and Class Central also points out notable and popular courses. Each course listing provides a descriptive overview, links to commonly asked questions about the course provider, a list of related courses, and reviews written by people who have taken the course. Users can choose to register for a free Class Central account to keep track of courses they're interested in. While not every course cataloged by Class Central is free, many (if not most) of them are, and those that are not are clearly marked. Launched in 2011, Class Central also publishes the MOOC Report, which covers news, trends, analysis, annual roundups, and other articles about MOOCs and online education.

Do you have some great STEM resources you'd like to share with ATE Central? Email us with your ideas at

ATE Events

Upcoming Events
Gen CCURI Fall 2018 Colloquium Glendale, AZ
Ag/Env Webinar: Americans’ Changing Views of Renewable Energy Policies Online
Eng Auto STEAM Days Warren, MI
Gen CHEERS! Teaching Strategies Webinar Online
Eng Explore Careers in Manufacturing and Technology Warren, MI
Gen Promoting Student Success in Math at FSCJ Jacksonville, FL
Gen Emotional Intelligence, Efficacy, and Success Webinar Decatur, IL
Info Winter Working Connections 2018 Online
Gen Elevating Success Opportunities for Our Students: Encouraging Emotional Intelligence Skill Usage Online
Info WASTC 2019 Winter ICT Educators' Conference San Jose, CA
Gen Evidenced-based Strategies for Implementing Critical Learner Reflection Online
Eng 2019 FCPN Annual Symposium JENSEN BEACH, FL
Gen Active Learning Using Free Polling Software Online
Gen The Educators Guide to the Student Engagement/Motivation Galaxy! Beaumont, TX
Gen Teaching With Your Mouth Shut: Keeping Students Active, Attentive, and Engaged! Wesson, MS
Gen AACC - Workforce Development Institute San Diego, CA
Gen Three Common Evaluation Fails and How to Prevent Them Online

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 submit them online.

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

News & Reminders

NSF #MySTEMspark Social Media Campaign

Through Dec. 7, The National Science Foundation will be running a social media campaign - #MySTEMspark - which seeks to energize the STEM community around the importance of STEM education and is asking its partners, stakeholders and anyone who has a passion in science to share the moment that sparked their curiosity about or interest in science, technology, engineering or math.

#MySTEMspark stories can be shared on Twitter and Instagram; for those who don't use either of those social media platforms, you can email your story to Don't forget to tag NSF! @NSF

If you're needing some ideas or inspiration for what to share, check out the #MySTEMspark Toolkit, which contains graphics and templates.

Also, check out NSF Director Dr. France Cordova's #MySTEMspark story!

New educational opportunities available due to major collaboration between NISOD and ACUE

An exciting partnership has formed between the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). Through this collaboration, community and technical college faculty will have the opportunity to earn credit toward ACUE's Certificate in Effective College Instruction through new online and face-to-face "seminars" offered jointly by NISOD and ACUE.

Seminars are credit bearing and those who participate in the courses will be recognized at the annual NISOD conference. Those who are interested in taking seminars through this collaboration can expect to see more information in the coming weeks.

For more information, view NISOD's press release about the partnership.

Would you like copies of the ATE Impacts book?

Book orders and general inquiries about ATE Impacts 2018-2019: Twenty-Five Years of Advancing Technician Education can be emailed to

Archiving your deliverables with ATE Central is now easier than ever!

Upload your curriculum, professional development materials, or other deliverables created with ATE funding directly to the ATE Central resource portal via the new archive submission form.

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. The latest version (CWIS 4.1.1) was released on and is available for download on the Scout site. Please email if you have any questions or would like a quick tour of its features!

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