STEM ZTC Project Update: Oct-Dec 2020

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


This project update covers the third quarter (Oct-Dec) during which time a number of key initiatives have been underway. Highlights include:

  • Work on the second round of funding for the Physics WebWork problems is wrapping up in December with another agreement in place to continue the work next term with co-op students at UBC.
  • Melanie co-presented with the mechanics project team at OpenEd20 on the project.
  • Reviews of OER for the Common Curriculum for 1st Year Engineering is near completion with just one subject area outstanding for reviews.
  • Proposal for the development of a Physics: Statics and Dynamics open textbook has been received and is under review by stakeholders.
  • The STEM ZTC Advisory Group met for their 2nd meeting.
  • A second book for the Drafting ZTC was published in PDF and word (while Pressbooks development is underway). This makes a ZTC in Drafting Certificate at VCC available.
  • Amanda, BJ and Melanie facilitated a workshop on alternative assessments for the science department at Douglas College.

Activity Last Quarter

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

The following is a summary of the activity on STEM ZTC projects:

1) 1st Year Engineering Common Curriculum

Reviews of OER for the common curriculum are near completion after an extension of the original November 15th deadline. Only one review remains outstanding. The goal will be to publish the collection of reviews in January so that programs can begin considering using OER for their fall 2021 courses. The goal also is to promote the possibility of a ZTC in 1st year engineering in the future (once a complete Physics resources is available). It may still be possible to put out a call for a ZTC in 1st year engineering as the reviews have revealed that the OER that is available is largely recommended for use by faculty who teach the courses.

Physics – Statics and Dynamics
This quarter, work continued on the development of WebWork problems at UBC with co-op students and a graphic artist. Hundreds more problems were developed with images. Additionally, Statics problems developed at University of Saskatchewan were imported and added to library.

The project team presented at OpenEd20 with a pre-recorded session:

OpenEd20 Presentation: Tackling a Mammoth in Physics with the Help of Co-op Students

The work will continue in 2021 with an agreement in place to hire 2 new co-op students. This time the problems will not be developed with images from a graphic artist as the focus will be on problems with no images required or with basic 2D drawings.

A proposal has been submitted to BCcampus to now develop the open textbook that accompanies the WebWork problems and ultimately would replace the costly commercial Physics textbook being used across engineering programs in BC. The proposal is being reviewed by Engineering Articulation and Common Curriculum Chairs as funding for the textbook may be allocated from the CFYEC funds. A decision on available funding for the project is expected in January.

2) Associate Science ZTC

Work is underway. No updated since last report.

3) Drafting Design Certificate ZTC

The two volumes of the AutoCAD resource are now available in the BCcampus collection in PDF/Word formats:

AutoCAD 2D ebook

AutoDesk Inventor ebook

Work to clarify copyright ownership is underway and will be addressed fully in the next version of the books.

The agreement with VCC is being extended until September 2021 in order to allow time for the books to be developed in Pressbooks. Staffing issues due to Covid-19 have caused some delays in development. BCcampus will provide support with creating the Pressbooks versions with the help of a BCcampus co-op student this spring.

A blog post regarding the OER for drafting and the ZTC for the Drafting short certificate will be written in the new year.

VCC is also working on two more volumes of the book (AutoCad 3D and Advanced Inventor). Note: their publication in the BCcampus collection is not part of the ZTC agreement.

Planned Activity

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

Here are the activities planned for next month:

  • Begin planning for Professional Development Series for Engineering Common Curriculum to take place in the Spring. The purpose of the series will be to build community for the common curriculum and awareness around open resources and sharing of courses.
  • The OER CFYC reviews will be published and shared with engineering faculty in BC (format TBD)
  • Next stage of Physics proposal.
  • Blog post about Drafting ZTC.
  • Schedule 3rd Advisory Group meeting for Jan or Feb.

Risks and Issues

Timelines for projects may be impacted as a result of Covid-19 related delays. Institutions report heavy demands on faculty this fall.MedTimelines for completion are being extended (provided details of timelines and deliverables are made available)
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.

With the OpenEd20 conference held online, the event organizers asked presenters to pre-record their sessions if possible. While this seemed easy enough to commit to, the work involved in pre-recording was greater than expected or planned for. The video editing process was time consuming and the production overall took time, planning and resources. This format, however, did provide the opportunity to include more voices than would have been possible in a live 25 minute session. The end result could also be used for other purposes like project background information, etc.

As identified above, one risk to the the STEM ZTC project is that Covid-19 has introduced challenges institutions and faculty. For the Drafting ZTC project, this was a particular issue and a significant extension is needed in order to complete the project as well as additional support from BCcampus.

Links and Resources

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

Tackling a Mammoth in Physics with the Help of Co-op Students

STEM ZTC Advisory Group Meeting Slides

AutoCAD 2D ebook

AutoDesk Inventor ebook