Advanced Technological Education .

Welcome to the ATE Central Connection! Published the first Tuesday 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.

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In This Issue

Advanced Manufacturing Technologies -- Automotive Manufacturing

From Northwest Engineering and Vehicle Technology Exchange (NEVTEX):

Vehicle Electrification Systems Standards: High Voltage Battery and Charging HVAC Systems

The Vehicle Electrification Systems Standards curriculum is provided by the Northwest Engineering and Vehicle Exchange (NEVTEX) and was developed by Central Oregon Community College (COCC) and Rio Hondo College (RHC). COCC and RHC worked together "to develop curriculum and training standards for technicians in hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), electric vehicle (EV), and Fuel Cell (FC) vehicle systems." This curriculum was developed with the intention of addressing industry needs by partnering with industrial and educational representatives to obtain input and assistance to develop:

  1. new approaches to prepare an advanced technologies workforce,
  2. licensure procedures and policies to ensure the safety of technicians, their employers, and clients, and
  3. collaboration between educational and industrial partners in the development of new standards and practices.

The Vehicle Electrification Systems Standards are divided into 11 topics. This section of the standards covers the topic High Voltage Battery and Charging HVAC Systems. The other 10 topics and a Master Acronym and Definition list are available to view separately.

From Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT):

Creation of a Cybersecurity Course for Automotive Technicians

This presentation was given by Nelson Kelly, Assistant Director of the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) in 2021. During the presentation, Kelly talks about meeting with automotive industry experts and determining that an automotive cybersecurity course was needed as part of the education of future automotive technicians. Kelly discusses his experience with the creation of an Automotive Cybersecurity course that was developed to be included in the Automotive Technology, Vehicle Engineering Technician (VET) Associate Degree at Macomb Community College.

From Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT):

Vehicle Engineering Technician Information Session

This presentation, from the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), describes the Vehicle Engineering Technician (VET) Associate degree at Macomb Community College. This degree is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, and abilities required for entry level positions in the automotive industry. Students successfully completing the VET program will have the technical skills required to assist engineers in the development of electro-mechanical systems for the next generation of safe, efficient, intelligent vehicles. The presentation provides details on the curriculum, career forecast, and internship opportunities.

Community Connection

Reflecting on the "Digital Divide" in Educational Access

Members of the ATE community are acutely aware of the importance of technology in our lives - and the challenges that many of our students face in overcoming technological barriers to access the educational resources that they need to thrive. The "digital divide" is a reality for many of our students - referring to the gap between groups of people in their ability to access, use, and benefit from computers and technological advances such as the internet. As devices such as smartphones, desktop or laptop computers, and tablets (all supported by high-speed internet connections) become more central to the way we live - get an education, find jobs, access information, file taxes, etc. - the digital divide threatens to limit some people's ability to fully participate in society.

These issues have been particularly salient throughout the pandemic and have thrown into sharp relief the persistent gaps that remain and the potential solutions to close the digital divide, whether based on income, education, race and ethnicity, geography, or disability. In our most recent ATE Impacts blog post, we highlight some of the most pertinent findings from a series of reports on the digital divide from the Pew Research Center, based on a representative survey of 1,500 adults conducted last winter. We encourage you to read and reflect on the digital divide and what we as educators can do to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn.

ATE Success Tips: Websites

Incorporating Visuals into Web Design

Websites are an important way to raise awareness about your project or center - sharing information, engaging with a like-minded community, and promoting a strong brand identity. As academics, we may feel more comfortable representing our work through text - yet more and more, websites need a strong visual component to attract attention and drive engagement.

Visual media such as images and videos are a great way to "show" rather than "tell" about the work that you do. In addition to making your website more visually appealing, they also tend to be more emotionally impactful than words - garnering a more immediate response and offering a lasting impression.

How can your project or center incorporate visual elements into its website? Here are some suggestions:

  • Feature visuals of the populations you work with - students, industry, and other educators.
  • To create a personal connection, maintain a section of your site dedicated to staff bios with headshots.
  • Include photos or embedded videos from workshops, events, webinars, or other presentations highlighting your work.
  • Create an infographic outlining your work, your project or center's history, and your impact. Canva is an excellent, free resource for those of us who are new to graphic design.

When you incorporate photos or video into your website, there are some important recommendations to keep in mind:

  • Visual elements should be updated regularly. Even photos from just a few years ago can quickly come to feel out-of-date and create the impression of inactivity.
  • For accessibility, all images should include an alt-text description for visually impaired users. Videos should be captioned for deaf or hard-of-hearing visitors.

Did You Know?

International student enrollment rates in U.S. higher education institutions dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as borders closed and social distancing measures were put into place. The 2021 recovery from this drop in enrollment has not been evenly felt by all institutions, however.

While international student enrollment numbers have rebounded somewhat at 4-year universities, a recent report from the Institute of International Education (IIE) suggests that international student enrollment at institutions that only grant associate's degrees fell by 10% in fall 2021 from the already low levels of fall 2020.

Read the full report, "Fall 2021 International Student Enrollment Snapshot," for more key findings and details on the methodology of the study.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

Open Syllabus Project

Launched in January 2016 by a group of scholars at the American Assembly at Columbia University, the Open Syllabus Project contains data from over one million university syllabi. Using publicly available syllabi along with faculty contributions, the Open Syllabus team enters every text assigned to students into a database. Faculty, librarians, and students can then search for a text using the Syllabus Explorer tool to see a list of other works assigned alongside that text and discover its "Teaching Score" - a score developed by the team to reflect how frequently a text is assigned. While this tool is useful for university instructors considering what to include on their own syllabi, it also provides insight for anyone interested in examining trends in scholarship and higher education. Open Syllabus team members David McClure and Joe Karaganis noted in a recent New York Times article about the site's launch, "Teaching captures a very different set of judgments about what is important than [scholarly] publication does." The Open Syllabus Project provides insight into what faculty judge important to teach to undergraduate students.


Educators and learners in a variety of industries, particularly those at the community college level, may be interested in SkillsCommons, a repository of Open Education Resources (OER) aimed primarily at workforce development. This digital library initially launched in 2014 and contains a wide variety of learning materials produced by the over 700 community colleges that have been grantees of the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program. Here, visitors can find OER syllabi, online and hybrid courses and modules, assessment tools, assignments, and other teaching materials, all of which are free to reuse, adapt, and redistribute. This vast array can be browsed by material type, industry, occupation, institution, and more, with most of the contents intended for learners at the associate degree or certificate level. First-time visitors may want to check out the showcases section for an introduction to SkillsCommons' contents, and an extensive support section with explanations, tutorials, and FAQs for using the repository is also available. The SkillsCommons website is currently designed and managed by MERLOT and California State University on behalf of the TAACCCT program.


Founded in 1999, Wisc-Online is a non-profit organization that offers a "repository of high-quality educational learning materials FREE to learners and educators." These materials are created by educators in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) in partnership with instructional design experts at Fox Valley Technical College. One highlight of this collection is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) designed to teach computer skills. This course, which covers basic skills such as using a mouse, navigating an operating system, and using a word processor, may especially appeal to adult educators and adult services librarians. On the Basic Computer Skills MOOC page, visitors can play interactive computer games by navigating to the play games tab. Games are organized by category, including career clusters, manufacturing and engineering, math, and social studies. In addition, Wisc-Online also offers a number of game templates for educators interested in creating their own games.

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
Eng ADAS to Automated Driving Digital Summit Online
Info NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference Online
Eng ITS America Annual Meeting Charlotte, NC
Gen #GoOpen 2021 Online
Info DRONETECH RADC Tournament Thief River Falls, MN
Eng Northland Aerospace Open House Thief River Falls, MN
Gen Evaluation Methods Online
Gen Accessible Technology on Smartphones & Tablets for users that are Blind and Low Vision Online
Gen Strategies for Reporting Qualitative Evaluations Online
Eng Photonics West 2022 San Francisco, CA
Gen 2022 ATHEN Virtual STEM Accessibility Conference 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

Free Curriculum Pilot: Multi-Level Robotics Courses

The Clemson University Center for Workforce Development has developed a four-track robotics digital learning package to deploy to partner institutions. Through Fall 2022, the center will be piloting robotics curricula for the high school, associate, bachelor, and master levels, including courseware in virtual reality simulations, video lectures, open text, and interactive assessments.

The center is looking for instructors to participate in a free pilot program using the curricula, to provide feedback on the courseware in the form of instructor and student survey responses. The first 25 instructors to register for the pilot program with 10 students or more will receive an honorarium.

There is no deadline to apply. Interested instructors should fill out the course access request form or contact the center for more information about the curricula.

NSF to Invest in Future Manufacturing Through 22 Projects Nationwide

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded more than $30 million in research grants and project seed grants as part of the Future Manufacturing program. These awards are intended to promote U.S. competitiveness in transformational manufacturing, including biomanufacturing, cyber manufacturing, and eco manufacturing.

The research projects, which include four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, and corporations, will "investigate areas to transform the predictability, security, reliability and efficiency" of advanced manufacturing.

Read more about the awards and the grantees in this announcement from NSF.

Google Will Make Four Career Certificates Available to Community Colleges

Google announced recently that it would make its career certificates available for free to community colleges in the U.S. These certificates, which cover information technology, data analytics, project management, and user experience design, are intended to support workforce development of highly in-demand digital skills.

The certificates have been recommended by the American Council on Education as equivalent to 12 credits or 4 full courses at the undergraduate level. The state of Connecticut will offer for-credit courses using Google's IT Support Certification for the Spring 2022 semester.

Read more about the announcement in this article from CNBC.

Microsoft to Support Cybersecurity Training Efforts at Community Colleges

Microsoft recently announced an initiative to support cybersecurity workforce training at community colleges across the country. The software company will reportedly provide scholarships or other financial assistance to 25,000 students over the next 4 years and support instructor professional development at 150 community colleges, in addition to free curriculum materials.

The efforts come in the wake of recent high profile cybersecurity breaches, such as the SolarWinds attack, that have alarmed policymakers and companies.

Read more about the announcement in this article from Reuters.

EPILOGUE Project Releases Findings on the Legacy of ATE Centers

The recently completed two-year study “Exploring Past Investment in Learning through Grant-funded Undergraduate Advanced Technology Education Centers (EPILOGUE)” released its comprehensive report earlier this year. The project sought to investigate the legacy of ATE centers, including the ideas, innovations, knowledge, and products developed by each center and how these continue to evolve and be employed in instructional settings.

The findings in the report draw on interviews, archival documents, and public information from 10 ATE centers. Among the key findings, six major themes emerged: partnerships, team formation, leadership characteristics, creating an independent organization, the role of the National Visiting Committee, and the use of data and external evaluation.

Read the full report for more detailed findings and visit the project homepage for case studies, resource sheets, and other information.

AccessATE Tip Sheet: Workplace Accommodations and Safety for Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Employees

Potential employees often express concerns about accommodations or safety when hiring students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Read through this Workplace Accommodations and Safety for Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Employees tip sheet from DeafTEC and AccessATE for helpful hints and resources to prepare you to discuss these topics with industry partners and advocate for your students.

This resource covers accommodations such as Automatic Speech Recognition applications and video captioning, tips for workplace safety, and additional useful resources. Readers interested in learning more can check out this blog post on Video Captioning for Accessibility from AccessATE.

AccessATE supports the work of the NSF-funded Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects and centers in making the materials and activities they develop more accessible for all students and faculty, including those with disabilities. The project aims to increase awareness and understanding of accessibility requirements and provide guidance, tools, and support that offers solutions and helps achieve compliance with accessibility standards.

AccessATE Tip Sheet: Accommodations & Safety for Blind & Low Vision Employees

Potential employees often express concerns about accommodations or safety when hiring students who are blind or have low vision. Read through this Accommodations & Safety for Blind & Low Vision Employees tip sheet from DeafTEC and AccessATE for helpful hints and resources to prepare you to discuss these topics with industry partners and advocate for your students.

This resource covers accommodations such as assistive technology and accessible materials, tips for workplace safety, and additional useful resources. Readers interested in learning more can check out this blog post on Assistive Technologies for Blind & Low Vision Employees from AccessATE.

AccessATE supports the work of the NSF-funded Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects and centers in making the materials and activities they develop more accessible for all students and faculty, including those with disabilities. The project aims to increase awareness and understanding of accessibility requirements and provide guidance, tools, and support that offers solutions and helps achieve compliance with accessibility standards.

Call for Submissions for New ATE Journal

The Journal of Advanced Technological Education (J ATE) is a new peer-reviewed technical journal focused on technician education at community colleges. J ATE is now welcoming submissions to be published in upcoming issues. For members of the ATE community, publishing in a peer-reviewed technical journal like J ATE will be an excellent way to disseminate work, promote technical education programs, and share research with like-minded educators and the wider technical education community.

There is no cost to publish, access, and read the journal. In addition, there are no subscription or submission fees. J ATE authors are invited from ATE projects and centers, community college faculty, university education researchers, and industry personnel. Our target audience will include community and technical college faculty and staff, as well as K-12 educators, industry members, and those readers with interests in micro-nano technology and related fields, NSF ATE, and technician education. The journal is supported by the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) with participation from InnovATEBIO (The National Center for Bio Technologies), the National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT), and the National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing.

J ATE will include:

  • Articles and short communications on a variety of topics relevant to teaching and learning in technician education at all levels. This will include innovative pedagogical methods and related research.
  • Articles that demonstrate new educational activities, lab experiments, instructional methods and pedagogies that can be adopted in community and technical colleges.


New Student Success Story Videos in the Works

As part of ATE Central's most recent funding we are looking to create a second round of our Student Success Story videos. There will be fifteen new videos in this series and we are actively looking for a diverse set of ATE students with engaging stories and successes to feature.

Do you have a student who you think might fit the bill? Fill out this short survey to tell us about them! Vox Television will be producing these new videos for the community; production will begin in late fall and continue over the next two years.

We look forward to working with you on this exciting project and featuring these and other videos from the whole community on the ATE Central portal. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions about the video series or our other tools and services.

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