Digital Technology Education Collaborative (DigiTEC)

Reconfigurable digital systems using Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and microcontrollers are sweeping the electronics world in the rush to create smaller, faster, and more flexible consumer and industrial devices. Building on previous work, the Digital Technology Education Collaborative (DigiTEC), led by J. F. Drake State Technical College and including the University of New Mexico, Michigan Technological University and Chandler-Gilbert Community College, provides industry-driven professional development about FPGAs and microcontrollers for community college faculty. The development of introductory and advanced professional development courses for Xilinx and Altera FPGAs, as well as a course in Microcontroller architecture, applications, and programming, enriches the electrical technology curriculum of community colleges, universities and secondary schools. Each year a three-day introductory or advanced workshop is offered at each of the four sites as well as one-day awareness workshops for high school electronics instructors. Digital technician career information is developed through community college, industry, K-12 and university partnerships to facilitate pathways to careers as technicians using FPGAs. The materials are disseminated widely especially to first-generation, minority and other under-served populations, including veterans and to industry. The Collaborative engages in outreach, expands and improves delivery of education and training materials and provides students and workshop participants with the critical skills sought by diverse electronics industries. Articulation agreements are developed between two year colleges and secondary schools on one hand and with four-year institutions on the other by each of the four sites. Certification of technicians through national organizations is explored. Successful practices are disseminated through a websites, webinars, publications and conference proceedings and through interactions with other ATE centers. The Kirkpatrick model is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the professional development and participants are surveyed twice per year and student data from their classes are analyzed. The project also evaluates the impact on partner institutions' electronic programs. The effectiveness of the outreach programs is evaluated through student surveys and matriculation in technical programs. This project provides up-to-date information about digital technologies that can reinvigorate to electronic programs in two-year colleges to produce the technicians required by industry.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
October 1st, 2012
ATE Expiration Date
September 30th, 2016
ATE Principal Investigator
Kemba Chambers
Primary Institution
J F Drake State Technical College
Record Type
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