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Optica Publishing Group
  • Seventeenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2023
  • Technical Digest Series (Optica Publishing Group, 2023),
  • paper 127230W
  • https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2670245

The PBL Projects: Genesis and Evolution

Open Access Open Access


In 1995, the PHOTON Projects began developing curriculum materials and providing teacher/faculty professional development for the "new" field of fiber optics. After three successful projects advancing photonics education, something was still missing– students could solve end-of-chapter problems and pass written tests, but companies reported graduates had poor problem solving and critical thinking skills and were missing the "soft skills" needed for the workplace. In 2006 we were funded by NSF-ATE for the first of four projects to address industry’s concerns - the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Projects. We developed a comprehensive series of multimedia instructional modules, the PBL "Challenges", to teach problem-solving at the same time as content, requiring students to master the subject matter and also use critical thinking, communications, time management and other workplace skills. In this paper we present a retrospective of our more than 25 years advancing optics/photonics education, especially for technicians.

© 2023 SPIE

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