STEM ZTC Project Update (Final): Jan-Mar 2021


This project update covers the fourth quarter (Jan-Mar) which includes the wrap-up to the STEM ZTC initiative and the following activities:

  • Updated agreement in place for work to continue on the Physics WeBWork problem development with UBC through Sept 2021.
  • Completion of the OER reviews for the Common Curriculum for 1st Year Engineering. A Pressbook has been developed to capture the reviews in one place and share with Engineering programs through Articulation later this spring.
  • Proposal was accepted through the Regional Time Investment Grant call for proposals for an open online lab manual for Geography with UBC-O.
  • The STEM ZTC Advisory Group met for their 3rd and final meeting.
  • A third 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. Blog post with the update has been published.

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 complete. The reviews have been combined into a Pressbook for faculty and programs to consider and to promote the possibility of a ZTC in 1st year engineering in the future (once a complete Physics resources is available). Most of the resources that were reviewed were recommended by the reviewers for use in the 1st year Engineering curriculum, however, due to some existing gaps (Physics and Engineering design in particular) it was determined that it is not the time to put out a call for a ZTC program in Engineering. The review guide will be shared at the upcoming Engineering Articulation meeting in May, 2021.

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. An extension to the agreement is in place to continue development on the project for the summer semester. Funding for the extension is coming primarily from the Common First Year Engineering Curriculum project. Two new co-op students will be hired and the goal is to develop approximately 50 questions per chapter that is covered in the first-year curriculum. Brian Case (BCcampus) will be managing the remainder of the project.

The project leads will be presenting their project at the following upcoming conferences:

  • Cascadia Summit
  • ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education)
  • CEA (Canadian Engineering Association)
  • CAP (Canadian Association of Physics)

In March, the project leads will also co-facilitate a WeBWork session to discuss the use of the homework system for subjects outside of math.

2) Associate Science ZTC

Work is underway. An interim report was submitted by TRU outlining progress to date including:

  • Biology course major revisions almost complete to adopt OER
  • Environmental Geology course revisions underway with OER textbook in development
  • Other course revisions have started to adopt OER Textbooks: Biology, Chemistry and Math

TRU was able to hire an extra Instructional Designer to help lead the individual projects.

Lauri Aesoph will manage the ZTC project going forward.

3) Drafting Design Certificate ZTC

The ZTC in Drafting is now available at VCC with the publication of two of the four open textbooks (AutoCAD 2D and 3D). A third textbook is available and a fourth will be available soon. Once all four books are available a ZTC in the full certificate program will be possible. Currently the resources are available in PDF/Word formats and are under development in Pressbooks. The Pressbooks versions will be available by September 2021:

AutoCAD 2D ebook

AutoCAD 3D ebook

AutoDesk Inventor ebook

A blog post regarding the OER for drafting and the ZTC for the Drafting short certificate was published in March.

4) New Project: Geography Online Lab Manual

A new project was added for STEM this quarter with UBC-O to update and publish a manual for online labs for geography. This OER was originally developed during the Covid-19 pivot online and was a collaboration between several institutions to quickly roll out a solution for running labs in an online setting. After using the manual for teaching in the fall, the project lead has identified several improvements to be made including more instructor resources and creating consistency across the 22 labs (as they were all developed by different faculty).

The project will be completed over the summer semester (by Sept 2021) and will be project managed by Carolee Clyne, Regional Representative.

Project Wrap-up

With the official end to the STEM ZTC project at the end of March, 2021 – the following are some highlights from the project:

STEM in BC highlights
Eight projects, Twelve subject areas, Twelve institutions, Three open textbooks, 1000 open homework problems, one environmental scan, one resource directory, three ZTC programs
Image from BCcampus Open Education: Improving access and fostering change summary report

Recommendations for Next Steps in STEM

With the conclusion of the STEM ZTC project, the following are some reflections and recommendations for future STEM development and focus:

  • Excellent progress has been made on the Physics project towards eliminating textbook/homework costs for 1st and 2nd year mechanics. However, in order to fully develop a replacement much more time and resources are needed. While BCcampus has kick-started this work, contributions and collaboration from other institutions and jurisdictions will be necessary. BCcampus can play an important role in supporting and reaching out for collaboration.
  • Homework system problems and instructor resources continue to be a barrier to adoption in STEM subjects. While we see good adoption numbers across a number of STEM subjects, there are resources where little ancillary or homework is available so development is needed in this area. Work on the Open Homework Systems project with BCcampus should help support this in part but in the future, rather than new textbook development, a focus on the ancillaries for existing OER is recommended.
  • Online course resources will continue to be something needed in the future even once in-class delivery returns. It is expected that a certain amount of learning will still take place online and that open resources for online delivery in STEM will be needed.
  • Developing ZTC pathways for institutions in a similar way that was done with the Associate Science ZTC can help institutions to better assess how close they are in terms of ZTC offerings in their own institutions.

Links and Resources

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

STEM ZTC Advisory Group Meeting Slides

AutoCAD 2D ebook

AutoCAD 3D ebook

AutoDesk Inventor ebook

Blog Post: A First for STEM in B.C.

OER for First Year Engineering Common Curriculum Guide