The K-Gray Engineering Pathway (EP) serves as the engineering "wing" of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and provides resources and services to users and collection developers from a broad spectrum of engineering constituencies. During the last several years EP substantially grew its user base and number of catalog records in both content and functionality. This two-year NSDL Pathway II project focuses on the following goals: 1) Stewardship - Continue to provide stewardship over the Engineering Pathway metadata, search, library services, currency of resources, and evaluation; 2) Economic Sustainability - Realize a sustainable income stream by offering value-added educational digital library services, with increased linkages to the NSDL, to professional societies, publishers, companies, government agencies and new collection developers; 3) Workshops, Outreach and Dissemination - Offer a portfolio of in-person workshops and webinars using a "train the trainer" model and NSDL Resource Center (RC) services; 4) Evaluation and Improved Evaluation Metadata and Tracking - Provide improved mechanisms for documenting student and teacher usage of EP's top tier of resources; and 5) Move to Open Source Platform and Services - Convert from proprietary digital library services to open source platforms with support and tools provided by the Technical Network Services (TNS) team of the NSDL, thereby increasing accessibility and reducing future operation costs of EP. Intellectual Merit: This Pathways II project is enhancing knowledge and understanding within and across all disciplines of engineering by capitalizing on educational components of cutting-edge engineering research including for example, biotechnology, energy, sustainability, security, nanotechnology, water resources, and new modes of communication with a new focus on the National Academy's Grand Challenges. These resources are being reviewed and linked to educational scholarship. EP continues to offer its prestigious "Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware" and its new "Premier Curriculum Award for K-12 Engineering" in a way that provides in-depth understanding of learning outcomes and impact. All relevant resources continue to be tagged with K-12 and ABET standards and pedagogical innovations (e.g., inquiry-driven, projects-based, active, engaging, learning-outcomes driven, gender/culturally-sensitive) in the cataloguing and metadata fields. Broader Impacts: Many important studies continue to stress the importance of increasing the number and quality of engineering graduates to meet the demands of the future and to stimulate the innovation needed to improve U.S. competitiveness and address key engineering challenges. EP provides educational resources for K-12, undergraduate, graduate, professional and general public education. The EP community focuses considerable attention to issues of diversity in higher education and inclusion of underserved communities. Several collections in EP are specifically targeted to K-12 and broadening participation.

Project Report

Educating the K-Gray engineering community in today’s digital world requires straightforward yet flexible access to high-quality educational resources. The goal of this project was to maintain stewardship and achieve sustainability of the K-Gray Engineering Pathway (EP), the premier portal to comprehensive engineering and computing education resources. Key stewardship goals of the K-Gray Engineering Pathway were to significantly and sustainably grow the K-Gray Engineering Pathway, to align EP's curricula with appropriate undergraduate or K-12 educational standards, to increase the number of EP content providers and users, to develop and implement interoperable quality control and review protocols for all EP content, and to implement nonprofit strategies and partnerships for sustaining the K-Gray Engineering Pathway. The K-Gray Engineering Pathway has served as an educational resource for content developers and users from a broad spectrum of constituencies: elementary, middle and high schools; two/four-year undergraduate programs; graduate and professional schools; and lifelong learners. To date, EP has over 9,000 registered users, 16 collections, and over 16,000 catalog records. Collectively, all of the EP collections average over 1 million page views a month. Over 60% of our records have at least one comment or review. All TeachEngineering K-12 resources are aligned with science standards and all higher education resources are aligned with ABET accreditation standards, where appropriate. We continued to offer our annual competition for the Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware with industry sponsorship. The award luncheon at the ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference is our most highly attended event, averaging from 450-550 attendees per year. The Premier Award jury met every year of the grant and the Premier Awards were announced and presented at the Frontiers in Education conferences. The Premier Award reviews for the winner, finalists as well as the non-winner nominations were added to EP. The 2012 winner was JDSP: A Mobile Signal Analysis Educational App for iOS Smartphones and Tablets, by Andreas Spanias of Arizona State University. iJDSP is a mobile app that enables simulation and visualization of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) concepts and algorithms. It provides an intuitive multi-touch user interface; DSP simulations can be established as a block diagram using a simple touch-n-drop procedure. iJDSP has a rich suite of signal processing functions including signal generators, digital filters, pole-zero and frequency response computation, FIR and IIR filter design algorithms, FFT, plot functions, a sound recorder/player, and many others. Through ready access on mobile devices, students can readily solve "what-if" problems in-class or in their study environment. Inherent access to mobile device I/O mechanisms like microphones and speakers allows students to tie mathematical concepts to physical phenomenon. During the process of selecting the winners of the Premier Award the judges start off by reviewing the criteria for excellence and adjusting these criteria based on new engineering education research as well as new innovations in the enabling technologies. Updated criteria for excellence are published on the EP site as part of the Premier Award pages. Additionally, at the Premier Awards luncheon the criteria are reviewed as part of the award presentation ceremony. All attendees are made aware of the criteria and how they can be used to guide the development of new courseware materials by prospective courseware creators in the audience. This discussion is far reaching and seems to be influencing the courseware developer community as evidenced by references made to the criteria in articles found in searching the web. All of our project goals have been met or were exceeded: We provided stewardship over the Engineering Pathway metadata, search, library services, currency of resources, and evaluation. We implemented "Train the trainer" in-person workshops and webinars to encourage general faculty and K-12 teachers, to use EP resources, and to develop collections, and communities as appropriate. We continuously improved our quality metrics. We offered in-person workshops targeted at getting CCLI investigators, and Engineering Research Centers to use EP and develop collections and communities as appropriate. We identified groups of resources for more in-depth tracking: Premier Awardees and "most downloaded". We developed and implemented evaluation protocols and metrics. We worked on collaborative projects with the NSDL Technical Services team. In the last year, we operated our technical infrastructure with majority funding from outside sources. However, with the downturn in the economy our industry sponsorship has diminished and we do have concerns for future years.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Lee L. Zia
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University of California Berkeley
United States
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