Volume 1, Issue 1 | April 24, 2020
Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work is pleased to bring you news and resources in collaboration with the NSF ATE community and industry partn ers. We hope that this content will be useful in this time of substantial educational change. For more information about our project, please visit preparingtechnicians.org.
NSF ATE Projects and Centers
Respond to COVID-19
Instructional Resource Library from Preparing Technicians for
the Future of Work
The global health crisis and resulting college closures means that instruction, in many cases, has had to move to distance learning delivery modes. Instructors using synchronous, asynchronous, or hybrid teaching modes are searching for tools and strategies to help them adapt this environment. In response to our colleagues’ need for resources, our team has assembled a list of readily available tools. These include discipline-specific and multi-disciplinary curricula, best practices in online course design, lab simulations, instructional videos, and more. Most of those in our list are free. As we continue to explore what preparing technicians for the future of work means for education and industry, we will continue to update this resource list. 

LASER-TEC Sends Light and Optics Kits to Students
LASER-TEC ( https://www.laser-tec.org/) , the Center for Laser and Fiber Optics Education, has been working very closely with NSF to help the forty college members of the Optics and Photonics College Network (OPCN) during these unprecedented times. The Center has started shipping free Light and Optics Experiment Kits to OPCN students to enable them to perform the experiments in the first two photonics courses at home. For more information and details about this program, please see the April newsletter devoted specifically to this initiative. Read more

By Chrys Panayiotou
Executive Director and Principal Investigator, Center for Laser and Fiber Optics Education (LASER-TEC)
InnovATE BIO Goes Virtual to Reach Students and Instructors
The National Biotechnology Center—InnovATE BIO —with partners in Texas, New York, California, Washington, North Carolina, and Wisconsin is responding to the COVID-19 “stay at home” safeguards by hosting a weekly Friday webinar for community college and industry partners. Through the sharing of data across the nation, participants have the opportunity to find out more about what instructors are doing to offer quality instruction despite not being in the physical classroom. (Visit www.InnovATEBIO.org to find out more.) The Center’s website also provides links to online biotech resources, such as interactive protein purification and biomanufacturing simulations that students can use to practice troubleshooting and decision-making. Read more

by Russ Read
Executive Director and Principal Investigator, National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce at
Forsyth Technical Community College
Additional Resources for Online Instruction
Course Load Simulators
Online and face-to-face instruction can be vastly different and the transition may require instructors to modify content delivery to make the course loads manageable for their students.This course load simulator from Rice University's Center for Teaching Excellence enables instructors to estimate the time it takes for students to read content (based on both number of pages and complexity of the text), write (based on length, genre, draft process, and quality of reflection) and complete other course activities outside of the classroom. The tool could be helpful when planning homework assignments that follow videos, interactive web seminars, lab simulations or other distance learning content.

Simulations, Games, and Virtual Labs
For additional online learning tools, this webpage provides a comprehensive collection of helpful links and reviews of simulations, games, and virtual labs spanning the STEM disciplines.

Listen to the Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work Podcasts
Hosted by Mike Lesiecki, the project's monthly podcasts cover topics such as a rtificial intelligence, the internet-of-things, cybersecurity, advanced robotics, digital design and prototyping, and other topics at the changing interface of technology, work, and education.
In each podcast, you will hear interviews with industry leaders and working technicians in the field. In the most recent episode, " A Robot for Every Technician? A Look at Trends Driving Manufacturing, " Mike takes a look at developments in familiar, buzzword technologies with Benjamin Moses and Stephen LaMarca from the Association for Manufacturing Technologies.

Listen to all of the podcasts here: https://www.preparingtechnicians.org/wordpress/podcasts/
A l so available on Google Play and Apple Podcasts.
Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF DUE #1839567. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of he author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.