Workers with nanotechnology skills are rapidly becoming a key to economic development. Thus, nanotechnology courses are increasingly offered at community and technical colleges. It is important for these faculty members who teach nanotechnology to enhance, develop, and continually update their knowledge. Professional development programs are essential for these educators; however, face-to-face and 'physical' hands-on workshops are expensive and pose time constraints which can make them inaccessible for many of these educators. To address the issue, the Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization at Pennsylvania State University will collaborate with community and technical colleges to form a Nanotechnology Professional Development Partnership (NPDP) and develop a live-streaming workshop program model in which course and laboratory training are delivered in a web-based format at very low cost. This workshop model will enable direct interactions, participation of faculty from their workplace locations, and attendance flexibility for mobile participants. Resources and best practices derived from this project will be shared nationwide. The project will increase access to professional development for nanotechnology educators at a variety of institutions, help to strengthen the educator workforce, and subsequently enhance the technical preparation of students and the nation's nanotechnology technician workforce.
The goal of the NPDP collaboration between Pennsylvania State University, Ivy Tech Community College (IN), Forsyth Tech Community College (NC), Erie Community College (NY), North Seattle College (WA), Atlanta Technical College (GA), and Northwest Vista College (TX) will be to develop a quality live-streaming and fully interactive professional development workshop model and resources, and apply it to the nanotechnology educator workforce. The workshops will be delivered via Adobe Connect and Zoom webcasts. The focus will be training and providing course materials for educators on nanofabrication processes and tools, nanotechnology applications, and safety and cleanroom protocols. The workshops will also include laboratory and cleanroom training featuring web-based remote access to nano-characterization tools, such as scanning probe microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, as well as simulated experiments and data analysis exercises. This workshop approach is optimum since it will offer the direct and instantaneous aspects of interaction with instructors and peers; the online aspects of session time and location flexibilities; and the ability to overcome challenges related to cost and resources. The workshop model will be applicable and adaptable to other STEM areas. The project will contribute new cost-effective methods to make professional development and continuing education more readily available to a wider audience of nanotechnology educators, including secondary school teachers.
|Effective start/end date||5/15/17 → 10/31/22|
- National Science Foundation: $896,654.00