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CUNY Games Network Members Win NSF Grant!

The CUNY Games Network is delighted to share the news that Steering Committee members Kathleen Offenholley (Math) and Frank Crocco (English), as well as Ching Song Wei (Computer Information Systems), all faculty at BMCC, have won a major grant from the National Science Foundation. The $875,794 grant will fund the development of a game-based developmental math course for aspiring STEM majors. The full abstract is below.

Congratulations all! We can’t wait to hear all about the project as it develops.

Project Abstract:
Success in basic algebra is a major stumbling block for students seeking technical careers. Although it is often assumed that STEM majors start with calculus as their first college math course, this is not the case for many urban and minority community college students. This project addresses the national problem of mathematics remediation for STEM majors by creating a game- and simulation-based algebra and trigonometry curriculum. The curriculum will be used in a summer immersion program for in-coming Geographic Information Science (GIS) majors at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). The project will impact STEM education at a national level by providing all materials free and open-source to secondary and post-secondary institutions via a project website with downloadable curricula, game software, video tutorials, training materials for faculty and staff, and support forums.

Developed in conjunction with award-winning educational game companies, the curriculum will feature three to five video games that place math content within real-world GIS scenarios. The games will be part of a new summer immersion program that will pair MAT 056, the most common remedial math course for BMCC STEM majors, with GEO 100, the first course in the GIS sequence. It builds upon a previous NSF grant award to develop a GIS major at BMCC and a Department of Education Title V grant for Hispanic-serving institutions to enhance e-learning initiatives at BMCC, including game-based learning. Overall, this project will enhance the likelihood of success in math remediation and accelerate advancement toward a degree in GIS.

Students will be recruited from NYC high school graduates participating in BMCC’s Science Technology Entry Program, who will enter the immersion program the summer before their freshman year. After completing the program, students will receive special support services and internships in GIS to advance them into an articulating baccalaureate program at CUNY or in related industries. The project will serve the mission of the NSF by addressing the common problem of mathematics remediation, a major barrier toward completion of a STEM major, and by enlarging the workforce for GIS, a rapidly expanding industry. Additionally, since this project will target BMCC’s large population of minority students (over 90%) and women students (nearly 60%), it aligns with the NSF’s mission to diversify the population of STEM graduates.