Online Technical Education in ATE-Funded Programs: Building Evidence-Based Practice Recommendations


With national spotlights on community colleges, the need for technicians in advance technological fields in STEM, and the significant promise of online education, this research project will identify and synthesize what has been learned through efforts at developing and implementing online courses and course components in technical/technician education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with a particular emphasis on development and implementation projects supported by the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Eduation program (ATE). The research team will investigate how the implementation and use of online education can or does profoundly change the institutional culture and structure of teaching and learning. Data collection consists of in-depth semi-structured interviews with faculty and key personal and structured document analysis.

This qualitative research study examines the promise of online education for technicians in advanced technological fields in STEM. The goal of the research study is to synthesize what has been learned about online technical education in ATE project and make connections to the broader literature about what works and what does not work in online technical education. The research team will ensure the credibility, dependability, and confirmability of the research findings through an iterative process consisting of triangulation, peer debriefing, and member checking. Data triangulation involves collecting data with multiple methods. Peer debriefing involves an outside reviewer examining the data from transcripts of interviews and focus groups and document analyses to ensure that findings and conclusions represent the perceptions/perspectives of the research participants. Member checking requires that researchers share their findings with research participants to ensure that information was interpreted correctly.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
1501541, 1501683, 1501794
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
September 15th, 2015
ATE Expiration Date
August 31st, 2018
ATE Principal Investigator
Regina Garza Mitchell
Primary Institution
Western Michigan University
Record Type
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