RRCC Awarded CCCS Innovation Grant For $193,000 To Support STEM Projects

May 10, 2017 – Two Red Rocks Community College programs were selected for funding by the Colorado Community College System’s Innovation Challenge Awards. The 2017-2018 Innovation Grants will build programming for RRCC’s IDEA Institute and WeBWorK Math Instruction.

According to Liz Cox, Director of the IDEA Institute, her department’s grant of $99,500 will further the IDEA Institute’s mission of launching problem-solvers of the future by expanding interdisciplinary, project-based learning through authentic experiences and industry/community connections. IDEA Lab projects encourage both faculty and students to engage in design-thinking, hands-on STEM, and purposeful experiences while creating an ecosystem of collaboration and makerspaces to support innovative learning. The project funded by the grant will also create connections to career pathways by developing an Innovation Advisory Board and badges or other evidence-based learning that demonstrate 21st century and professional skills.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Red Rocks Community College to play a leading role in preparing students for the future of work,” says Cox. “The time is right to ramp up activities in the IDEA Lab and expand self-directed, experiential and interdisciplinary learning.”

In addition, RRCC, Community College of Denver, and Colorado Community Colleges Online were awarded $93,500 for their “WeBWorK Pilot” – a free, open source online assessment platform for mathematics and science that provides instant feedback for students and flexibility for the instructor to create customized questions and instructional resources. RRCC’s project lead/math faculty Brenda Forland was recognized with a Wartgow award last year for her work on this pilot project.

“Our team plans to integrate WeBWorK into the college algebra curriculum by creating new content on the platform, specifically tailored to the students of the Colorado Community College System, making courses more effective and less expensive in the process,” said Forland. “The three campuses will be piloting content in courses during the 2017/2018 academic year, integrating WeBWorK into our online learning system, with hopes to expand use of the platform to all of CCCS the following year. All content created will also be put in the Open Problem Library of WeBWorK, sharing the content with math instructors and students around the globe.”

The State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education created the Innovation Grant program to encourage and support efforts across the college system to move the needle on student success through the design and implementation of new initiatives or scaling-up of best practices that transform the student experience.