ERC Team Pivots to Virtual Model for 2020 RET Program

Achievement date: 

The Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at Arizona State University (ASU), administered a completely virtual version of its 2020 Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program due to COVID-19 restrictions on in-person programming.


The Center developed a new five-week course using the online platforms Canvas and Zoom that it delivered in the summer of 2020. Other programs used the remote format as a model, and the 2021 RET Program will include some components of the online program, even if held in person.


Each summer, the CBBG’s RET Program invites K-12 teachers and community college faculty that teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to campus to participate in research. Participants also develop a related lesson plan to use in their own classrooms in the coming academic year.

The RET Program was modified and delivered in a completely virtual format in 2020 due to restrictions on in-person activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating teachers were supported by researchers from ASU, Georgia Tech, and Lafayette College in adapting STEM-focused and lab-based engineering lessons for online and remote delivery during the academic year.