Process Technology: Flexible Entry/Flexible Exit Curriculum Adaptation

The Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) aims to enhance a regionally-distinctive Process Technology (PTEC) program by converting a traditional lecture/lab structure to a Flexible Entry/Flexible Exit delivery format. The expectation is that these changes will increase student accessibility and the number of credentialed process technicians in the tristate region (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia). An economic report from the American Chemical Society predicts that, by 2025, development of the region's natural gas resources will create 25,000 new job in the region's energy and advanced manufacturing sectors. The proposed Flexible Entry/Flexible Exit format will build upon the successful model developed by Polk State College with a prior NSF award. This program format permits students to enroll in PTEC technical courses at virtually any point in the academic year, complete the courses at their own pace, and increase the amount of time spent on hands-on technical education. By accommodating personal and professional schedules, this approach could also enable existing workers and non-traditional students to enroll in the program. Thus, the program format can broaden the diversity of graduates who are prepared for careers in the region's rapidly expanding energy and advanced manufacturing sectors. 

The goals of the Process Technology: Flexible Entry/Flexible Exit Curriculum Adaptation project are to: 1) build capacity of CCBC's Process Technology program to educate the technician workforce needed in the tristate region; 2) increase program accessibility for non-traditional students and incumbent workers from the Appalachian Region interested in an associate degree in process technology; and 3) increase collaboration between education and industry within the tristate region. The project plans to use a flipped-hybrid, competency-based delivery model that is detached from the traditional semester framework. It is expected that this flexible model will permit the College to institute an "every day is a new class start" approach that will increase accessibility of the program to diverse groups of students. Each current PTEC technical course will be modularized into multiple one-credit courses. Each one-credit course will consist of an online component, corresponding hands-on requirements, and one or more hands-on assessments. Each one-credit course will be self-paced, and faculty will support learners by serving as success coaches as the students complete the online and hands-on requirements. Learners will schedule the final hands-on assessment of each course with faculty, when the learners are ready and it fits in their schedules.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
July 1st, 2018
ATE Expiration Date
June 30th, 2022
ATE Principal Investigator
John Higgs
Primary Institution
Community College of Beaver County
Record Type
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