Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2016
Whatcom Community College (WCC) proposes to expand upon its cybersecurity programs and workforce capacity-building efforts through a trio of interrelated efforts that support the student pipeline from high school through college and university, including online learning. The project will build the pipeline through high school camps and competitions that offer mentorship opportunities for college students, opportunities for high school students to earn college credit, and exposure to industry, with the ultimate goal of embedding programs in regional high schools for maximum impact. WCC has been designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in cybersecurity. It is also the lead institution for Cyber Watch West, a regional center for cybersecurity education funded by the NSFs Advanced Technological Education program. The proposed efforts will leverage these projects and prepare students for emerging topics in key cybersecurity industry sectors including industrial control systems, secure cloud computing, mobile technology, and web development.
The goals of this project are to: (1) develop and offer an online bachelor of applied science degree in networking, which will include security-infused coursework, embedded certificates, and remote lab accessibility; (2) develop an upper division support/navigator program for students pursuing their programs at WCC or at nearby Western Washington University; and (3) leverage current cybersecurity camps for high school students by including participation in the national high school competition Cyber Patriot. The project will provide employers in both industry and government with qualified networking and cybersecurity professionals to meet the workforce demands. It will offer college credit to high school students successfully completing the cybersecurity camp and will ensure industry participation in curriculum and program development. The program emphasizes study and soft skills using a human-centered design approach that focuses on the individual needs of each student and emphasizes interpersonal skills, critical thinking, and customer service.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 650.00K | Year: 2017
Whatcom Community Colleges project, STEM Excellence through Engagement in Collaboration, Research, and Scholarship (SEECRS), will provide scholarships for 36 low-income, academically talented scholarship awardees pursuing associate degrees in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, and physics. The projects leaders will deploy strategies that promote success in STEM, help students complete associate degrees, and promote transfer and completion at four-year institutions. Project activities will include STEM degree planning, faculty mentoring, and research and internship opportunities all united using a guided pathways approach. The program will help meet a national need to attract and provide access to students who do not typically pursue, persist in, or earn STEM degrees. It will serve as a model for other community colleges.
The SEECRS project aims to: (1) Improve students STEM self-identity through a STEM Scholars Academy and course-based undergraduate research experiences; (2) Increase STEM recruitment and retention; (3) Increase the rate of STEM degree completion for WCC students; (4) Increase the transfer rate of STEM students to four-year universities; and (5) Develop an adaptable model for implementing a STEM guided pathways approach. Project goals are an 85% one-year retention rate, a 60% three-year graduation rate, and 75% three-year graduation or transfer rate. The project will address a knowledge gap by examining the extent to which a guided pathways approach provides a coordinated and supported STEM experience that increases student success and positively shifts students STEM self-identity.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCED TECH EDUCATION PROG | Award Amount: 72.31K | Year: 2016
The significance of this study is that it seeks to use a Maker space to improve success rate of a gatekeeper course in community college, Precalculus II, which is required course for most STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students. This project aims to drastically improve completion rates for this make-or-break course for most community colleges. The researcher will investigate whether 3d printing, infused at this critical juncture, can save students from falling off the STEM pathway and instead use 3d printing to help unlock STEM potential and passion in students who would not otherwise stay in, or gravitate toward STEM.
The intellectual merit of the research is that it builds off of Maker movement momentum and the institutions recent acquisition of its first 3d printer. The research piece of the project hypothesizes that by flipping the Colleges Precalculus II class with 3d curriculum and adding an optional hands-on lab component, success rate can be improved. The potential impact 3d printing has on retaining STEM students and students long-term memory of key math concepts will also be explored. One of the significant broader impacts is that faculty will be better equipped to teach concepts that are tough for most to visualize, let alone grasp. With the efforts described, students will literally be able to grasp the desired concepts as 3d printing offers a vast array of tools not previously available to faculty or students. This project is a part of NSFs Maker Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) portfolio (NSF 15-086), a collaborative investment of Directorates for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR) and Engineering (ENG).
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 499.84K | Year: 2012
This project is a collaborative effort involving Whatcom Community College, Western Washington University, and the University of Washington. The investigators are taking a comprehensive approach to growing an educated and skilled workforce in a field critical to the U.S. economy and national security. The approach includes the development of new information assurance/cybersecurity degree pathways that are replicable statewide, coupled with outreach to recruit students (including underserved populations) into the pathways. Forty faculty are participating in the project over a three-year period, and the project is likely to reach over 500 students during that time.
Project goals and activities include:
* increasing the capacity for educating information technology professionals in cybersecurity-related disciplines by creating new two-year and four-year degrees in information assurance/cybersecurity at the three partnering institutions of higher education;
* increasing the number of professionals in cybersecurity-related jobs by offering opportunities for students (traditional students, nontraditional students, veterans, and career-changers) to complete new, streamlined educational pathways;
* increasing interest in information assurance/cybersecurity careers and education among K-12 and college students by hosting information sessions and workshops for secondary students, and industry tours and guest speakers for college students and college mentors;
* strengthening partnerships between institutions of higher education through collaboration on curriculum development and articulation agreements;
* strengthening partnerships with local industry and employers by convening advisory committees, arranging student tours and internships at industry sites, and inviting industry speakers into the classroom;
* developing new teaching expertise in information assurance/cybersecurity, especially in high schools; and
* increasing the diversity of the cybersecurity workforce by recruiting women, veterans, Native American students, and economically disadvantaged students.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 45.77K | Year: 2013
This project develops methods to assess and promote student metacognition in physics. In particular, the project is: (1) developing and validating a suite of assessment tasks to probe the ability of students to monitor their own learning during physics instruction, (2) developing and testing a suite of activities to foster this self - monitoring, and (3) documenting specific strategies, practices, and deficits that students exhibit as they review and direct the development of their own physics understanding. The project is motivated by a variety of common student behaviors, many of which have been documented through research and are familiar to experienced instructors. These include the tendency of students to: (1) focus on memorized algorithms without developing an awareness of how they know what they know, (2) apply concepts inconsistently in different but related contexts, and (3) struggle in identifying appropriate reasoning approaches when confronted with novel situations. These findings and others suggest that student learning of the content and practice of physics may be improved through systematic efforts to enhance the ability of students to think methodically and productively about their own thinking (i.e., metacognition). The activities and assessments are being developed concurrently and tested at four different institutions, in labs (both introductory and upper - division) and interactive lecture environments.
Intellectual merit: The project is developing a suite of research - validated activities to evoke and improve students metacognitive skills and investigate the resources that students utilize and the specific difficulties they face when engaged in metacognition. Furthermore, the project is examining the connections between specific lines of metacognitive thinking and gains in conceptual understanding and reasoning ability in physics. Despite substantial prior research and widespread agreement on its crucial role in learning, metacognition remains a fuzzy concept that is difficult to integrate into instruction. A major contribution of this project is to develop instructional strategies to support different forms of student metacognition; from backward - looking reflection, in which the learner articulates what she knows about a concept and how she came to know it, to forward - looking strategies that support the learner in selecting approaches best suited to new situations. A novel aspect of the activities is systematic student reflection on and evaluation of the role of specific instructional tasks and exercises in promoting learning.
Broader impact: The metacognitive activities differ substantively from existing materials. They do not require the wholesale adoption of entirely new curricula or pedagogies, and may therefore be flexibly incorporated into physics courses as a supplement to existing instruction. The flexibility of the approach allows instructors to adopt teaching innovations incrementally. In addition, as the quality of student metacognition is linked to academic success, the activities may not only increase student learning in physics courses, but may also strengthen ongoing efforts to: (1) promote equity in the classroom by closing the gap between higher - and lower - achieving students, and (2) retain at risk students in STEM disciplines.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCED TECH EDUCATION PROG | Award Amount: 2.10M | Year: 2013
Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) and five educational partners [California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California State Universities at Dominguez Hills and San Bernardino, and Whatcom Community College (WA)] are establishing an ATE regional center for cybersecurity, CyberWatch West, serving California, Washington, and Oregon. There are, at present, three other ATE regional centers for cybersecurity education: CyberWatch at Prince George CC in Washington, DC, metropolitan area; CSSIA based at Moraine Valley CC, near Chicago; and CSEC based at the University of Tulsa, in Oklahoma.
The overarching goal of CyberWatch West is to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce in California and the Pacific Northwest. To accomplish this goal, CyberWatch West is concentrating on the following four major areas: (1) student activities, including meaningful internships and a cyber-defense league with weekly virtual exercises; (2) assistance in curriculum development based on recognized standards and creation of cybersecurity pathways from community colleges to four-year institutions; (3) a faculty development and mentor program to help infuse cybersecurity concepts into coursework; (4) outreach and partnership with regional community colleges, universities, high schools, and industry to determine and assist with regional needs in cybersecurity education.
Each of the core partners has large minority student enrollments and the project is targeting these underrepresented groups in cybersecurity. In addition, the consortium includes 16 other postsecondary institutions throughout the western United States and its outreach program is reaching a large number of high schools. The dissemination efforts include a web portal, presentations at national conferences, and an active participation in the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 4.16M | Year: 2015
Given the imbalance between supply and demand of cybersecurity workforce and its impact on national security and the economy, a team of academic institutions, led by Whatcom Community College, will dramatically increase the contribution of two-year colleges in this critical area. This project has two major goals:
(1) in three years, double the number of community colleges holding the National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance 2-Year Education (CAE2Y) designation sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and
(2) create and disseminate CSP-Cyber, a cybersecurity-themed version of the AP course Computer Science Principles (CSP), which is being finalized by a team of computer science educators organized by the College Board and NSF.
To support the first goal, the project will grow and strengthen a strong national network of experienced, effective faculty mentors who have successfully completed the NSAs Knowledge Units (KU) mapping and the CAE2Y application process. These mentors will work with faculty at other colleges to complete the CAE2Y application and will leverage the resources offered by NSFs ATE centers for cybersecurity education, such as the National CyberWatch Center, CyberWatch West, and the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA). To support the second goal, the project will engage faculty at CAE2Y-designated colleges (as well as those seeking the designation) and other computer science educators, including those who have been involved in the development of the CSP course nationally, to develop and pilot the planned cybersecurity-themed CSP course, train community college faculty to teach the new course, and disseminate it nationally.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 51.92K | Year: 2016
This Exploration and Design project in the Engaged Student Learning track in the Improving Undergraduate Science Education program seeks to address the intractable concept of transfer of learning to new settings. A central assumption in most systems of education is that students will be able to apply knowledge and skills beyond the context in which they are originally learned and hence transfer their learning. Existing research studies indicate, however, that successful transfer is exceedingly rare. In this project, transfer will be examined within an existing series of undergraduate science courses intended to promote coherent understanding of energy in physics, chemistry, Earth science, and biology. Energy, a unifying concept important in most science disciplines, is central to scientific literacy and is an idea students should be able to apply to a variety of situations. The integrated curriculum presents energy coherently across disciplines, was designed on the basis of cognitive research, and has been extensively classroom tested at multiple institutions. The course sequence thus serves as a natural laboratory to investigate how much transfer is possible under highly favorable, yet still realizable, conditions. Unifying Science for Students will measure and describe transfer, as well as document the specific components of instruction that promote transfer. Special attention will be paid to understanding how to support transfer among students from traditionally underrepresented groups. Findings will contribute to the knowledge base of what works in supporting application of energy concepts across contexts, for all students. This project may also help to establish the integrated course sequence as a national model for coherent, cross-disciplinary undergraduate science education.
The integrated curriculum spans four courses: The Flow of Matter and Energy in Physical Systems, Earth Systems, Life Systems, and Chemical Systems. Unifying Science for Students will bring together expertise in physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and cognitive science at two institutions to add to the research base on transfer, using this course series. It will do so by: (1) evaluating the extent to which students successfully transfer understanding of energy in a coherent, constructivist-based sequence of science courses; (2) documenting the productive and problematic reasoning approaches that arise when students transfer ideas about energy to new contexts; (3) identifying instructional cues that facilitate transfer; and (4) investigating the impact of explicit instruction in metacognition on the understanding, retention, and transfer of energy concepts across disciplines. Quantitative and qualitative methods will be employed to address these goals. A longitudinal study will generate quantitative measures of the transfer of energy concepts from the original learning context, physics, to a target domain, chemistry. Interviews, classroom observations, and analysis of written work will be used to describe what transfer looks like by developing a taxonomy of discipline-specific transfer attempts. Finally, a quasi-experimental study will investigate the impact of metacognitive writing assignments on transfer. The general and discipline-specific knowledge generated through this project will be situated to inform curriculum design so that transfer can become a more realizable goal in higher education. The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program is providing co-funding for this project in recognition of its alignment with the broader teacher preparation goals of the Noyce effort.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCED TECH EDUCATION PROG | Award Amount: 200.00K | Year: 2011
This project is increasing the awareness and interest of high school students in the exciting and emerging field of information security and promoting their involvement in the next steps towards an educational career pathway. Activities focus primarily on program development and improvement, and curriculum and educational materials development. The project builds on activities of Cyber Watch.
Intellectual Merit: The project is developing and implementing the following strategies: (a) providing outreach and resources to local high schools, (b) offering high school students Cybersecurity Camps at the college, (c) providing and supporting College CIS Program mentors for students, and (d) sponsoring culminating Cyberdefense Competitions. High school students are being exposed to information security scenarios through hands-on activities and cybersecurity camps and competitions at the college. Bringing high school students and educators into the information security arena is broadening participation and promoting understanding of this critical field. It is strengthening relationships between local county high schools and the college. Student participation is an integral component to this project, and peer mentoring is foundational to activities in the Cybersecurity Camps and Cyberdefense Competitions.
Broader Impacts: This project is increasing the depth of understanding and skill level among students preparing for information security jobs or other jobs in information technology that need knowledge of information security. This project is advocating for females and underrepresented populations to be involved in the camps and competitions and to consider information security as a possible career. Materials and developed for the high school cybersecurity camps and competitions are being made available to other institutions. Information is being disseminated both state-wide and nationally. This project is helping to support national security by cultivating an interest in high-school students who can further their education in information security and become part of the pipeline to a well-equipped workforce.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 2.20M | Year: 2015
Keeping computers and information systems secure is a major challenge. Business, industry, and government need well-prepared technicians who can prevent, detect, and investigate cybersecurity breaches, and the growth of cyber-threats has created a need for many more workers who have appropriate, specific knowledge and skills. To address these needs, CyberWatch West (CWW; http://cyberwatchwest.org), an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) regional center, will continue its activities that are strengthening and expanding cybersecurity education in the Western region of the United States. This area is home to many high-tech companies, utilities, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, which need a healthy supply of employees with cybersecurity knowledge and skills at all levels. CWWs cybersecurity education programs, hands-on cyber competitions and training workshops, approaches to faculty and student development, and industry engagement initiatives are proven models that should be shared broadly across the West and the nation. In cooperation with industry and government partners, CWW will educate students to fill thousands of job openings in cybersecurity and will thereby address national needs for the security of critical infrastructure, defense, healthcare, and commerce.
CWW was previously funded through NSF Awards DUE-1104278 and DUE-1361636. The centers mission is to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce in the Western United States by providing solutions to address the limited resources at community colleges through innovative curriculum development; building an online community for faculty professional growth and mentoring; creating a developmental pathway of competitions that facilitate growth of students cybersecurity skills; and supporting other efforts at the state, regional, and national levels to develop and disseminate cybersecurity programs. The center will disseminate its model cybersecurity education programs throughout a 14-state region; expand curriculum development, faculty professional development, and student development opportunities; and strengthen and sustain industry partnerships to ensure up-to-date curricula as well as student internships and employment. In particular, CWW will support institutions seeking the National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance 2-Year Education (CAE2Y) designation. The center will develop model curricula that meet CAE2Y Knowledge Unit (KU) criteria and National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) criteria addressing workforce readiness. Expanding CWWs past work on 2 + 2 + 2 educational pathways, the center will develop a cybersecurity Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC) to facilitate automatic transfer for California community college students to universities in the California State University system. CWW will further serve college faculty in the region by addressing new topics and content in cybersecurity via webinars, workshops, the CWW website, and an innovative faculty mentoring program.