STEM ZTC Project Update: May 2020

This monthly status report is to share progress each month for the the STEM ZTC Project and to outline plans for the coming month.


This section will be highlights from the last month. High level budget info. Can include a video snapshot of features for example.

This month we are providing the first monthly status report for the STEM ZTC project. More information about previous activity and timelines for the project can be found on the STEM ZTC Charter Wiki page. This status report will provide a snapshot of the latest activity and current information.

Activity Last Month

Goals that were met, decisions made, milestones met, etc.

After over a month of focus on supporting institutions with the pivot online due to Covid-19, activity for the STEM ZTC project as fully resumed. Melanie sent the STEM Advisory Group an update by email. The end of April and throughout May, a number of Articulation Committee meetings for STEM were held virtually. Melanie attended the following meetings and was provided the opportunity to present and discuss open education as well as the pivot online with the committees:

  1. Chemistry
  2. Engineering
  3. Physics/Astronomy
  4. Biology

All committee meetings included discussions around the challenges of offering labs in a virtual environment for students and assessments online. To help address the issue of virtual labs, Arianna began the process of assembling a number of open and/or free online resources for STEM subjects. Reviewers (Articulation Committee members) reviewed the virtual labs and a Virtual Lab resource was developed and made available in the BCcampus collection.

There are currently three ZTC projects underway for STEM covering the S, T, and E. Math is a significant component of the S and the E. This is a significant milestone in that we are seeing the possibility of offering ZTCs across multiple STEM programs. The following is a summary of the activity on these projects:

1) 1st Year Engineering

Melanie met with Brian Dick, VIU who was the successful applicant to carry out a gap analysis of OER for the common first-year engineering curriculum in BC. The gap analysis will consider known adoptions in engineering programs and identify additional OER for review by content experts. The goal will be to provide engineering programs with a pathway for a ZTC in 1st year engineering, and at the very least provide programs with options to consider this coming fall.

Amanda reached out to OER partners across Canada (and some US) to find out if others are interested or working on Statics and Dynamics content that could be an alternative to the costly commercial textbooks in the subject area. A positive response was received by a number of partners and University of Saskatchewan expressed interest in collaborating (with funding available). Many others are interested in staying connected for future collaboration on the topics.

Melanie and Heather Ross (UofSask) coordinated a meeting with SMEs Jennifer Kirkey (Douglas College), Agnes d’Entremont (UBC) and Sean Maw (UofSask) to discuss work already underway and collaborative work. Through a couple of meetings and email communication a plan was developed to tackle the work of developing thousands of problems sets. BCcampus will be providing funding for 4 co-op students to work on developing problems at UBC with supervision from Jennifer Kirkey and Agnes d’Entremont, hiring a graphic artist and funding the SMEs for their time and expertise. The problems developed at UBC will be developed in the WebWork open system (aligning with work on the Open Homework System project).

2) Associate Science ZTC

Arianna completed an environmental scan of OER adoptions for STEM in order for Krista and Melanie to map a generic Associate of Science program to available and adopted OER. Early results showed that a ZTC was indeed possible in this program area based on existing adoptions.

Krista and Melanie met with TRU-OL to discuss whether a ZTC in Assoc of Science would be a possibility at TRU and they agreed to submit a proposal to develop at ZTC.

3) Drafting Design Certificate ZTC

The AutoCAD 2D book is now available in PDF in the BCcampus collection. This is an interim solution so that students enrolled in the course right now could have access to the resource. VCC is in the process of updating the content for the 2D and 3D books and developing them in Pressbooks. Expected complete of the two volumes is Sept 2020 which will lead to the first Drafting Short Certificate ZTC.
Note: The full certificate ZTC will be possible once all four volumes of the AutoCAD resource are complete.

Planned Activity

Goals for next month – what we’re looking forward to/excited about. Includes development, meetings, communication, etc.

We are excited to be able in June to make a decision regarding the funding of at least one (possibly two) ZTC for Associate of Science programs. These programs are comprised of the first two years of a science degree and enrolments include students who often pursue a further credential such as a Bachelor of Science.

  • Publish a ZTC Assoc of Science pathway based on existing known adoptions in B.C. in subjects covered in most programs.
  • Review and decision of proposal from TRU – ZTC Assoc of Science
  • Meet with Douglas College about possible ZTC Assoc of Science
  • Continue to coordinate activity for statics & dynamics project (funding agreements to be completed)
  • Present and facilitate discussion regarding OER at Math Articulation Committee meeting (June 16th)
  • Host Pivot Online for STEM Educators webinar
  • Attend project meeting for 1st year common engineering curriculum

Risks and Issues

Timelines for projects may be impacted as a result of Covid-19 related delays.LowCurrently STEM ZTC projects are on target. Using a phased approach on projects will help to manage possible delays.
Work on STEM ZTC projects will likely extend beyond the end of fiscal 2020/21. While existing funds will be distributed to institutions on time, they will require from BCcampus beyond March 31s, 2021MediumProject Manager roles will continue until Sept 2021 to provide that level of support.

Lessons Learned

List of things that went well and what improvements could be made.

Bringing together faculty across jurisdictions and institutions proved successful for the statics and dynamics project. This is a great example of collaboration. We were also able to successfully work with institutions to help identify how close they really are to a ZTC in a STEM area. It is encouraging to see the commitment that faculty and institutions have to open even during challenging times such as these.

A second meeting with the STEM Advisory Group has proven to be a difficult to make happen. Again, schedules for all faculty members are extremely challenging at the moment but the hope will be to meet in late June or early July once more information on the ZTC Assoc of Science is available.

Links and Resources

Include links to useful/related info such as slides from an update meeting, related projects or other resources of interest.

BCcampus update for Engineering Articulation

Sample of slides used for STEM Articulation meetings