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

General Advanced Technological Education -- Learning research

From The Center for Aviation and Automotive Technology Education using Virtual E-School (CA2VES):

Fundamentals of Qualitative Research

This webinar, provided by Clemson University, was presented by Katie Shakour and covers the fundamentals of qualitative research. During the webinar, viewers learn the "... definition of qualitative research and the most common methods and analysis techniques." The differences from quantitative research are also provided. In addition to providing an introduction to qualitative research, Shakour hopes this webinar will help enhance the research of viewers who have a background in quantitative research. The webinar recording runs 31:33 minutes in length.

From The Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC):

State of STEM Education

This webinar, from the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC), features Professor Kendrick Davis discussing key data points on STEM education and barriers to STEM success. Davis specifically focuses on underrepresented subgroups of people in STEM, including Black, Latinx, Native American, disabled, and foster youth. Davis provides data on the growth rate of STEM occupations and the number of STEM bachelor's degrees as a proportion of total by race. Next, barriers to STEM success is discussed. The main barriers include: culturally irrelevant curricula, culturally unresponsive teaching practices, deficit-based vs. asset-based mindsets, microaggressions, and more. Case studies to highlight diversification within the STEM community are also discussed. This video runs 01:02:23 minutes in length.

From Contextualize to Learn: Preparing Faculty Toward Math Contextualization for Student Success in Advanced Technological Education:

Mathematics for Construction Trades: Converting Fractions into Decimals

This Mathematics for Construction Trades lesson, provided by the Conceptualize to Learn project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, introduces students to converting fractions into decimals. In this lesson, students will convert fractions and mixed numbers into decimals, and then to feet and inches using a conversion table. Included in the lesson is an inches to decimals of a foot conversion chart document and a C2L Math Lesson document. The C2L website provides links to additional teaching resources, including math problems from a chapter in the textbook "Practical Problems in Mathematics for Carpenters" by Mark Huth.

Community Connection

I Am ATE: Antonio Delgado

Name: Antonio Delgado
Title: Vice President of Innovation and Technology Partnerships
Institution: Miami Dade College
Project Name: Advancing Strategies in Cybersecurity Education and Career Development (ASCEND)

ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?

Delgado: Back in 2017, faculty and administrators wanted to develop cybersecurity degree programs at Miami Dade College (MDC). Dr. Diego Tibaquira, lead cybersecurity faculty member at MDC, and I, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology at that time, decided to apply to NSF ATE with the goal to build faculty capacity in cybersecurity, create an advisory board, and develop courses with a focus on supporting minority students. That application was awarded the NSF ATE for small projects.

As part of the grant, we were able to have four faculty members trained and certified with multiple relevant industry certifications. We were also able to secure a strong advisory committee that guided faculty members on the curriculum development process. Those two elements allowed us to launch an Associate in Science in Cybersecurity and a College Credit Certificate in Network Security in only two years. Additionally, we developed courses mapping the most relevant industry certifications, which were covered for our minority students as part of the grant. By the end of the grant, in 2020, we had more than 200 minority students in the program and 20% of them already accomplished an industry certification. ATE funding helped us achieve all our initial goals and more.

ATE Central: Tell us about the goals of your project or center.

Delgado: After a successful implementation of our first ATE grant in cybersecurity, we decided to improve our cybersecurity program by (1) creating a stronger relationship with the local high schools interested in cybersecurity, (2) supporting our students to complete the degree on time, and (3) connecting our graduates with local jobs. As a result, we were awarded a second ATE grant called ASCEND (Advancing Strategies in Cybersecurity Education and Career Development) for implementation from 2020 to 2023.

Read the rest of the interview with Antonio in the latest ATE Impacts blog.

ATE Success Tips: Outreach

Effective Outreach to Non-Specialist Audiences

The internet and social media allow researchers and educators to communicate with more people than could be done through traditional venues such as conferences and classrooms. Formats such as blogs and podcasts are great platforms for members of the ATE community to employ to widely promote their projects or centers and support or even enhance other outreach efforts. Yet this greater reach means that we must work to sharpen our communications skills to be understood by non-technical audiences.

Here are some tips for improving public outreach with non-specialist audiences.

  1. Avoid abstraction. Use concrete examples or analogies to relate abstract concepts to more broadly shared experiences. For instance, instead of just discussing wind speeds in kilometers per hour, an effective climatologist might also relate them to common weather phenomena such as a breezy day or a hurricane.
  2. Ask and answer questions. Anticipate questions that non-specialist readers will have along the way. State them and provide the response to ensure audiences understand basic concepts.
  3. Mix media. It is easier than ever to record basic videos of your computer desktop and voice. Integrate visuals such as graphics and video explanations into written text to provide more depth and clarity in your explanation. Gordon Synder of Holyoke Community College provides good examples of this in Gordon's STEM Blog.
  4. Watch out for acronyms. We all use them and our professional colleagues know exactly who or what we are talking about - but for those who are not part of our scientific or education community using acronyms can be off putting and confusing. Make sure to use the full name of an organization; even though it's often longer, it's better to use "The National Science Foundation" than "NSF" (and provide a brief reminder of what the organization does) so that everyone understands who or what you're talking about.
  5. Try alternative formats. We know folks in the ATE community love text, but many audiences today prefer formats such as short videos, infographics, photos, and podcasts. As for the latter, it is not as difficult or expensive as it seems to make high-quality audio recordings. Podcasts can be really effective for outreach efforts, as exemplified by the Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work Podcast, hosted by Mike Lesiecki.

Did You Know?

A recent report from the Community College Research Center finds that 48% of American working adults have attended a community college at some point in their lives, and that more than one-quarter did so as adults (meaning not immediately after completing high school).

The results come from the American Training Survey, based on a nationally representative sample of 3,648 American adults between the ages of 24 and 64.

Read the full research brief, "Patterns of Community College Use Among Working Adults," for more details about the findings and methodology used.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

The Purdue OWL: Preventing Plagiarism

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers this collection of resources for teaching students about plagiarism and strategies for avoiding plagiarism while writing. These resources, which may be of interest to middle school, high school, and college level instructors as well as adult educators, are divided into two sections. In Contextualizing Plagiarism, instructors will find eight detailed lesson plans designed to engage students with the definition of plagiarism (to see the complete resource, including class handouts, teachers will need to click the Full Resource for Printing link below each lesson). For example, in one lesson, Truth or Consequences, students read articles about four individuals accused of plagiarism in recent history, including a college president and a newspaper columnist. In another lesson, Collaborative Authorship, students explore a number of scenarios involving student authors who received additional help in their writing and discuss whether or not these examples are plagiarism. Meanwhile, the Avoiding Plagiarism section includes activities to help students practice skills including paraphrasing, incorporating direct quotes, and using in-text citations.


Learners and educators in search of free textbooks may find a solution in LibreTexts, a nonprofit project that describes itself as "a multi-institutional collaborative venture to develop the next generation of open-access texts to improve postsecondary education at all levels of higher learning." Visitors to LibreTexts will find "twelve independently operating and interconnected libraries that focus on augmenting post-secondary education in specific fields in STEM fields, social sciences, and humanities." Within these libraries, readers can find bookshelves of digital textbooks, campus courses of customized LibreTexts, homework exercises, and ancillary materials such as visualizations and simulations. As of this write-up, LibreTexts contains nearly 400 open-access textbooks and other course materials that are developed collaboratively between faculty, students, and outside experts and scholars. LibreTexts is directed by its founder Delmar Larsen, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Davis, who was inspired by his own frustration with errors in the conventional textbooks that his students had been paying for. In October 2018, LibreTexts was awarded the US Department of Education's inaugural Open Textbook Pilot Grant, worth a total of $4.9 million, which the project is using to expand their educational content and incorporate additional advanced features such as interactive 3D animations and integration with online learning management systems.


Educators looking for ways to keep classrooms interactive in remote settings should check out Ptable, a highly regarded tool for chemistry teachers. Featuring the self-described "world's most popular periodic table," this interactive science site is packed with information and activities. A variety of unique features make Ptable stand out from similar sites. For example, data updates in realtime and is sortable by more than a dozen properties. More information about these features can be found under the About tab. Ptable can be focused on Properties, Electrons, Isotypes, and Compounds (using the corresponding tabs). The information displayed by toggling over individual elements varies based on this initial selection. For instance, the Properties view includes an element's melting and boiling points, while the Electrons view focuses on energy levels. The buttons in the upper-right corner allow users to adjust aesthetics, such as the screen width and background color. To find lesson plans that accompany the site's features, check out the Lesson Plans page under the Products tab (found at the bottom of the page). Michael Dayah created Ptable in 1997 and has frequently updated its content since.

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 2022 Annual Institute Online
Info WASTC Winter Conference 2022 Online
Eng Photonics West 2022 San Francisco, CA
Info NCCE 2022 Seattle, WA
Eng DRONETECH RADC Tournament Thief River Falls, MN
Gen 2022 ATHEN Virtual STEM Accessibility Conference Online
Ag/Env Increasing Community Resilience to Extreme Weather and Environmental Hazards Online
Gen The Science of Teaching San Francisco, California
Gen IMS Digital Credentials Summit Atlanta, Georgia
Eng Minnesota Transportation Conference & Expo St. Paul, MN
Gen Working with STEM Experts - If Only There Was a Guide....Now There Is! Online
Info Free Workshop Series - Exploiting Systems Online
Info Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) 2022 Cleveland, OH
Eng 2022 Minnesota Aviation Maintenance Technician Conference Brooklyn Center, MN

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 COVID Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Challenge

The National Science Foundation wants to hear what higher education institutions, including community colleges, have done during the pandemic to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in STEM programs. Selected winners will receive cash prizes totaling $200,000.

Send a three page narrative to NSF describing the evidence-based systemic actions that your college has taken or will take to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on the DEI of students and faculty in STEM higher education programs. The deadline is Jan. 30, 2022. Colleges do not need to have a grant from NSF to enter the challenge. Details can be found on the challenge information page.

Winners will be announced in March and invited to present their ideas at an NSF-hosted virtual event that will be open to the public.

Report Shows Persistent yet Narrowing Gaps between Latinx and White California College Students

The state of California has the largest population of undergraduate students in the country and is often at the forefront of education trends. A recent report from the Campaign for College Opportunity suggests that for the state's Latinx students, enrollment at community colleges and four-year institutions has increased in recent years, but that policymakers need to continue to support efforts to close achievement gaps.

The report highlights positive findings, such as the fact that the percentage of Latinx "community college students taking and passing college-level math in their first semester," has increased from 8% to 33%. However, among the negative findings are that nearly one-third of Latinx community college students do not find the support they need to transfer to four-year institutions.

Read the full report, State of Higher Education for Latinx Californians, or an overview of the findings in an article from Inside Higher Ed.

Biden Administration Accelerates Efforts to Counter Hackers

Ransomware, hacking, and cyber attacks have been at the forefront of cybersecurity concerns recently for public and private institutions. The Biden administration recently announced a push to expand the nation's cybersecurity workforce by some 600,000 individuals over the next few years.

Among these efforts are a push for more partnerships between government, nonprofit, and private entities and community colleges to enhance cybersecurity curriculum and training, such as Microsoft's recent offer of free cybersecurity course materials to community colleges.

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.

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.


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