Asa Bradley

Physics Instructor, Spokane Falls Community College

Asa Bradley has been a physics instructor at Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC) since 2004. Prior to her post there, she worked in the San Francisco Bay Area software industry as a physicist, quality assurance engineer, technical writer, and web developer. She holds an MS in Medical Physics from the University of Colorado and an MFA in creative writing from Eastern Washington University. Ms. Bradley’s academic interests outside of teaching includes physics education research and science outreach. As a trained workshop leader in the national Math Across the Curriculum program she teaches community college faculty across the US how to incorporate math and science into all disciplines. She is a past board member of the Pacific Northwest Association of College Physics (PNACP) and active in the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). She’s received several teaching awards including a 2015 YWCA Woman of Achievement Award.


Blog: Changing Focus Mid-Project

Posted on September 30, 2015 by  in Blog ()

Physics Instructor, Spokane Falls Community College

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Along with co-PIs Michelle Moore and Max Josquin, I am a recent recipient of an NSF ATE grant aimed at increasing female enrollment and retention in my college’s Information Systems (IS) program. Our year one activities included creating a daylong Information Technology (IT) camp for incoming eighth and ninth grade young women.

LogoCamp

In our original plan, we had set aside money for five IS college students to help us for eight hours during the summer camp. We decided to meet weekly with the students during the months leading up to our event to stay on task and schedule.

1st surprise: Nine students showed up to the initial meeting, and eight of those remained with us for the project’s duration.

2nd surprise: Instead of waiting for our guidance, the students went off and did their own research and then presented a day-long curriculum that would teach hardware, software, and networking by installing and configuring the popular game Minecraft on Raspberry Pi microcomputers.

MineCraft

3rd surprise: When asked to think about marketing, the students showed us a logo and a flyer that they had already designed. They wanted T-shirts with the new logo for each of the campers. And they wanted each camper to be able to take home their Raspberry Pi.

ConfiguringRaspberryPi

At this point, it was very clear to my colleagues and I that we should take a step back and let the students run the show. We helped them create lesson plans to achieve the outcomes they wanted, but they took ownership of everything else. We had to set up registration and advertising, but on the day of the camp, the students were the ones in the classroom teaching the middle-graders. My colleagues and I were the gofers who collected permission slips, got snacks ready, and picked up pizza for lunch.

Perhaps our biggest surprise came when our external evaluator, Terryll Bailey, showed us the IS college student survey results:

“96.8% of the volunteers indicated that participating as a Student Instructor increased their confidence in teamwork and leadership in the following areas:

  • Taking a leadership role.
  • Drive a project to completion.
  • Express your point of view taking into account the complexities of a situation.
  • Synthesize others’ points of view with your ideas.
  • Ability to come up with creative ideas that take into account the complexities of the situation.
  •  Help a team move forward by articulating the merits of alternative ideas or proposals.
  • Engage team members in ways that acknowledge their contributions by building on or synthesizing the contributions of others.
  • Provide assistance or encouragement to team members.

All eight (100%) indicated that their confidence increased in providing assistance or encouragement to team members.”

For year two of our grant, we’re moving resources around in order to pay more students for more hours. We are partnering with community centers and middle schools to use our IS college students as mentors. We hope to formalize this such that our students can receive internship credits, which are required for their degree.

Our lessons learned during this first year of the grant include being open to change and being willing to relinquish control. We are also happy that we decided to work with an external evaluator, even though our grant is a small grant for institutions new to ATE. Because of the questions our evaluator asked, we have the data to justify moving resources around in our budget.

If you want to know more about how Terryll and I collaborated on the evaluation plan and project proposal, check out this webinar in which we discuss how to find the right external evaluator for your project: Your ATE Proposal: Got Evaluation?.

You may contact the author of this blog entry at: asa.bradley@sfcc.spokane.edu

Webinar: Your ATE Proposal: Got Evaluation? (8/26/14)

Posted on August 26, 2014 by , , , , in Webinars ()

Presenter(s): Asa Bradley, Gerhard Salinger, Krystin Martens, Lori Wingate, Terryll Bailey
Date(s): August 26, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
Recording: http://youtu.be/kpn1XtvVQ_A

A strong evaluation plan that is well integrated into your grant proposal will strengthen your submission and maybe even give you a competitive edge. In this webinar, long-time members of the ATE community will provide insights on ways to enhance your proposal and avoid common pitfalls with regard to evaluation. We’ll walk through EvaluATE’s Evaluation Planning Checklist for ATE Proposals, which provides detailed guidance on how to address evaluation throughout a proposal—from the project summary to the budget justification. We’ll share examples of how to incorporate results from previous evaluations in the Results of Prior NSF Support section, present a coherent evaluation plan linked to project activities and goals, and budget for an external evaluation (among other things). We’ll have plenty of time for questions and discussion with our knowledgeable and experienced panel.

Resources:
Slide PDF
Evaluation Planning Checklist for ATE Proposals
Tools to Prepare a Data Management Plan for NSF
ATE Central Video

Webinar: Your ATE Proposal: Got Evaluation? (8/20/14)

Posted on August 20, 2014 by , , , , in Webinars ()

Presenter(s): Asa Bradley, Gerhard Salinger, Krystin Martens, Lori Wingate, Terryll Bailey
Date(s): August 20, 2014
Time: 1:00 PM
Recording: http://youtu.be/aGU9fgIOfYk

A strong evaluation plan that is well integrated into your grant proposal will strengthen your submission and maybe even give you a competitive edge. In this webinar, long-time members of the ATE community will provide insights on ways to enhance your proposal and avoid common pitfalls with regard to evaluation. We’ll walk through EvaluATE’s Evaluation Planning Checklist for ATE Proposals, which provides detailed guidance on how to address evaluation throughout a proposal—from the project summary to the budget justification. We’ll share examples of how to incorporate results from previous evaluations in the Results of Prior NSF Support section, present a coherent evaluation plan linked to project activities and goals, and budget for an external evaluation (among other things). We’ll have plenty of time for questions and discussion with our knowledgeable and experienced panel.

Resources:
Slide PDF
Evaluation Planning Checklist for ATE Proposals
Tools to Prepare a Data Management Plan for NSF
ATE Central Video