This PDF file contains the front matter associated with SPIE Proceedings Volume 8481 including the Title Page, Copyright information, Table of Contents, Introduction (if any), and the Conference Committee listing.
Professional associations can play an important role in the optics and photonics education landscape, enhancing the work done at traditional institutions like colleges and universities. In what way can they best contribute? Should they
concentrate on school-children, on working scientists/engineers, or on undergraduate and graduate students? How does one measure the success of their programs? We will present an overview of some programs available, with an eye on their place in the continuum of optics and photonics education and training; we will place a particular emphasis on the need to measure the impact and outcomes of these learning tools, and will drill down on SPIE's case.
New teaching methods reach geographically dispersed students with advances in Distance Education. Capabilities
include a new "Hybrid" teaching method with an instructor in a classroom and a live WebEx simulcast for remote
students. Our Distance Education Geometric and Physical Optics courses include Hands-On Optics experiments. Low
cost laboratory kits have been developed and YouTube type video recordings of the instructor using these tools guide the
students through their labs. A weekly "Office Hour" has been developed using WebEx and a Live Webcam the instructor
uses to display his live writings from his notebook for answering students' questions.
U.S. photonics organizations need about 800 new photonics technicians each year. Thirty-one community and technical
colleges have approximately 700 students enrolled in photonics related programs; about 275 of them complete their
coursework and enter the workforce each year. A disparity exists between the demand and supply of qualified photonics
technicians in the U.S. OP-TEC, the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education is a consortium of seven
colleges, under the leadership of the University of Central Florida, and sponsored by NSF. OP-TEC’s mission is to
increase the quantity and quality of photonics technicians prepared at two-year colleges. OP-TEC maintains the National
Photonics Skill Standards for Technicians, provides curriculum models, teaching materials, faculty training/professional
development and planning services to strengthen existing college photonics programs and to attract and support new
ones. OP-TEC is converting its text materials to E-Books to support students in technical programs. Through OP-TEC’s
recruitment efforts 84 additional colleges are interested in initiating new photonics programs. The OP-TEC Photonics
College Network (OPCN) consists of 28 colleges that are currently providing photonics education. This fall OPCN will
lead an additional national effort to further educate employed photonics technicians through on-line courses,
complemented by lab experiences at nearby colleges. OP-TEC is expanding its outreach to photonics employers and
colleges by regionalizing its approach to offering its services. OP-TEC is also planning to develop new curricula and
instructional materials for AAS programs to prepare Precision Optics Technicians. This paper will detail OP-TEC’s
work with particular emphases on its materials and services.
Students in photonics technology associate degree programs have two short years to prepare for employment as technicians. Recognizing that there is little in the traditional lecture/lab format of instruction that allows students to practice real-world project planning, time management and technical problem-solving skills, the authors have collaborated to provide students with authentic “real-world” industry problems in a final one or two semester capstone course. In this paper we present several student projects, describe barriers to successful project completion and strategies to improve outcomes.
The growth and influence of optical and photonics engineering as a discipline warrants increased recognition within both academia and industry. In 2006, SPIE leadership made a strategic decision to pursue membership in ABET, Inc. to lead the profession in the establishment of ABET program criteria for optical and photonics engineering. In 2010, SPIE became a member society of ABET and in 2011 SPIE, in collaboration with our co-lead society IEEE, developed the program criteria for optical and photonics engineering. In this invited presentation we will review the rationale for pursuing ABET accreditation and the benefits of ABET accreditation, discuss the historical context leading to the current state, provide an overview of the process of developing the program specific criteria, and finally describe the way ahead.
The rapid evolution of technology places great challenges on educators and employers to train and certify personnel in these technologies in a timely way. A cooperative effort between international standards organizations and the
Electronics Technicians Association, International (ETA) is pioneering a new approach to meet the challenges of
evolving technology education in the areas of photonics and optics. ETA recently introduced two optics certifications
and two photonics certifications. Each of these certifications contains multiple knowledge and hands-on examinations
that were developed specifically to meet the needs of industry.
In the Spring Semester of 2011, Univ. of Central Florida's CREOL introduced an elective course in Optomechanical Design. In addition to homework assignments and exams, one component of the course grade was a design project. Rather than the traditional "assigned" project, the instructor experimented with a novel research-centric approach. Specifically,
students were asked to select a project directly applicable to their graduate research. While challenging for the instructor to grade, student motivation and performance remained exceptionally high throughout the semester. This paper summarizes the background, projects, and pedagogical benefits of such a research-centric approach to project-based learning.
Over the past several years there has been a rapid advancement in solid state lighting applications brought on by the
development of high efficiency light emitting diodes. Development of lighting devices, systems and products that meet
the demands of the future lighting marketplace requires workers from many disciplines including engineers, scientists,
designers and architects. The National Science Foundation has recognized this fact and established the Smart Lighting
Engineering Research Center that promotes research leading to smart lighting systems, partners with industry to enhance
innovation and educates a diverse, world-class workforce. The lead institution is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with
core partners Boston University and The University of New Mexico. Outreach partners include Howard University,
Morgan State University, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of
advanced smart lighting systems workers often have little or no formal education in basic optics, lighting and
illumination. This paper describes the initial stages of the development of self-contained and universally applicable
educational modules that target essential optics topics needed for lighting applications. The modules are intended to be
easily incorporated into new and existing courses by a variety of educators and/or to be used in a series of stand-alone,
asynchronous training exercises by new graduate students. The ultimate goal of this effort is to produce resources such
as video lectures, video presentations of students-teaching-students, classroom activities, assessment tools, student
research projects and laboratories integrated into learning modules. Sample modules and resources will be highlighted.
Other outreach activities such as plans for coursework, undergraduate research, design projects, and high school
enrichment programs will be discussed.
Astronomy is an observational science. The data astronomers collect is primarily in the form of light emitted by astronomical objects across the electromagnetic spectrum. The Education and Public Outreach Group at the National
Optical Astronomy Observatory has developed a low-cost kit for teaching about light and color in the context of
astronomy. We will present an outline of the activities and materials included in the kit as well as the pedagogical justification for the scope and sequence. We will present the initial feedback we have received on the activities as well as future plans for dissemination.
Diffraction is an important phenomenon introduced to Physics university students in a subject of Fundamentals of
Optics. In addition, in the Physics Degree syllabus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, there is an elective subject
in Applied Optics. In this subject, diverse diffraction concepts are discussed in-depth from different points of view:
theory, experiments in the laboratory and computing exercises. In this work, we have focused on the process of teaching
Fraunhofer diffraction through laboratory training. Our approach involves students working in small groups. They visualize and acquire some important diffraction patterns with a CCD camera, such as those produced by a slit, a circular aperture or a grating. First, each group calibrates the CCD camera, that is to say, they obtain the relation between the distances in the diffraction plane in millimeters and in the computer screen in pixels. Afterwards, they measure the significant distances in the diffraction patterns and using the appropriate diffraction formalism, they calculate the size of the analyzed apertures. Concomitantly, students grasp the convolution theorem in the Fourier domain by analyzing the diffraction of 2-D gratings of elemental apertures. Finally, the learners use a specific software to simulate diffraction patterns of different apertures. They can control several parameters: shape, size and number of apertures, 1-D or 2-D gratings, wavelength, focal lens or pixel size.Therefore, the program allows them to reproduce the images obtained experimentally, and generate others by changingcertain parameters. This software has been created in our research group, and it is freely distributed to the students in order to help their learning of diffraction. We have observed that these hands on experiments help students to consolidate their theoretical knowledge of diffraction in a pedagogical and stimulating learning process.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory's Education and Public Outreach Group has created pedagogically-sound science enrichment programs for grades 3-12 that embed both active and problem-based learning in the areas of eco-photonics and illumination engineering. As launching points into activities and fodder for later discussion, film clips are incorporated from The City Dark, an award-winning, feature documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night sky. The goal is to solve this global eco-photonics challenge with responsible illumination engineering. An outline of the usage of the film clips is presented with activities, kit materials and pedagogical justification for the scope and sequence.
The National Optical Astronomy Observatory, in collaboration with Science Foundation Arizona and the Arizona public schools, has initiated a program of optics education that has been implemented in the Arizona cities of Flagstaff, Yuma, and Safford. A program is planned for Globe, Arizona and several other locations. The program is aimed at 5th grade teachers and students. It relies on NOAO-developed optics teaching kits designed around the Galileoscope student telescope kits. The program is designed to reach every 5th grade teacher and every 5th grade student in each city. Professional development is provided for the teachers using the NOAO-developed “Teaching with Telescopes” optics teaching kits which are given to each teacher. Each 5th grade student is part of a team building a Galileoscope and receives additional training on how to use the Galileoscope during the day or night. At the end of the training period a large star party is held for all of the students, their families, and their friends. The program is evaluated through the University of Arizona. This model has been successfully implemented during the past two years and we are exploring national replication. This program provides a cost-effective way to inject optics into the schools in an attractive, citywide program model. The talk will discuss the model in detail and some of the mistakes we have made as we have tested the model.
The Turning Eyes to the Big Sky project offered schools in southwestern Montana a unique opportunity to strengthen
science instruction. The project implemented, in a formal setting, a nationally established informal science curriculum on
light and optics, the Hands-on Optics Terrific Telescopes curriculum. Terrific Telescopes was implemented in 8 middle school
classrooms, reaching 166 students during the 2010-11 school year. As part of the project, we conducted a teacher
workshop and assessed student learning outcomes and teachers' experiences with the curriculum. The goals of our
assessments were to improve our understanding of how students learn key optics-related principles, provide evidence of
the learning outcomes of Terrific Telescopes, and find out how teachers adapt it for use in formal settings. Our research
established that students in every classroom learned optics concepts and identified ways to support and supplement the
curriculum for use in classrooms.
The ‘Photonics Explorer’ is a unique intra-curricular optics kit designed to engage, excite and educate secondary school students about the fascination of working with light – hands-on, in their own classrooms. Developed with a pan European collaboration of experts, the kit equips teachers with class sets of experimental material provided within a supporting didactic framework, distributed in conjunction with teacher training courses. The material has been specifically designed to integrate into European science curricula. Each kit contains robust and versatile components sufficient for a class of 25-30 students to work in groups of 2-3. The didactic content is based on guided inquiry-based learning (IBL) techniques with a strong emphasis on hands-on experiments, team work and relating abstract concepts to real world applications. The content has been developed in conjunction with over 30 teachers and experts in pedagogy to ensure high quality and ease of integration. It is currently available in 7 European languages. The Photonics Explorer allows students not only to hone their essential scientific skills but also to really work as scientists and engineers in the
classroom. Thus, it aims to encourage more young people to pursue scientific careers and avert the imminent lack of scientific workforce in Europe. 50 Photonics Explorer kits have been successfully tested in 7 European countries with over 1500 secondary school students. The positive impact of the kit in the classroom has been qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated. A non-profit organisation, EYESTvzw [Excite Youth for Engineering Science and Technology], is responsible for the large scale distribution of the Photonics Explorer.
Though light and vision has been included in the Connecticut science standards for several years, teachers continue to
look for new ways of teaching these concepts effectively. The students from the Three Rivers Community College SPIE
and OSA student chapters have partnered with EASTCONN, a regional education service center, to bring optics lessons
to the classroom. In this paper, the lessons that were demonstrated including spectroscopy, refraction, and reflection will be explained. With anecdotes from the student chapter members, fifth grade students and their teachers, the
effectiveness of these lessons and steps to improve them will be presented.
Ibn al-Haytham (Latinized as Alhazen or Alhacen) wrote nearly one hundred works on topics as diverse as poetry and politics. With his landmark seven-volume Kitāb al-Manāzir [Book of Optics], published sometime between 1028 [418 A.H.] and 1038 [429 A.H.], he made intellectual contributions that subsequently were incorporated throughout the core of post-Medieval Western culture, including its optics and art. We have used material from both the writings of Ibn al-Haytham and the paintings of Jan van Eyck in a workshop teaching modern optical principles to a variety of audiences.
The Rochester Section of the Optical Society of America (ROSA) developed a youth outreach program in 1999 to be
presented in middle schools by scientists, engineers and engineering students. The objective was to kindle interest in
technology careers, especially those related to optics, photonics, and optical engineering. Three in-class experiments
using individual take-home theme packets that explore color in white light were devised early in the program, and these
have proven to be the key to its success. Over the past 13 years, with financial support from a variety of organizations
and individuals, ROSA has manufactured and delivered over 450 Optics Suitcases to groups in 34 US states and 54
countries. The presentation guide is now available in 4 languages besides English. In this paper, the elements of an
Optics Suitcase presentation are reviewed, and examples of outreach events are used to document its success.
Many resources are available for groups that are interested in doing outreach activities with high school students. Most
of these resources are dedicated to the experimentation of optical phenomena but do not include information about
careers in optics and photonics. Created in 2010 for the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations (CIPI), the
Canadian Photonic Kit was distributed throughout Canada. Using this kit as a starting point, Université Laval’s OSA
and SPIE student chapters, helped by the CIPI-Student network, will create a multi-platform resource addressing three
subjects: (1) optical phenomena, (2) research in optics and photonics, and (3) related careers. This paper presents a
timeline of the project and its main parts: the Canadian Photonic Kit and an expansion pack related to careers, a
demonstration laboratory located within a research center and its virtual tour, and printable material for teachers and
Worldwide, volunteers from student associations and non-profit organizations carry out outreach activities with high
school students in their classrooms. Most of the time, these activities highlight optical phenomena but do not provide
information about the reality of researchers in companies and universities. To address this issue, Université Laval’s OSA
and SPIE student chapters set up a demonstration laboratory dedicated to outreach, located in a research center. In this
paper, we list the advantages of this type of facility as well as the steps leading to the creation of the laboratory, and we
give an overview of the demonstration laboratory.
The original initiative or this program was from the Science Council of the State of Guanajuato, and it was extended thanks to the support of the SPIE grant. The outreach coordination supported the idea of visiting elementary schools that belong to remote municipalities or rural schools of the region; we have worked with communities from 30 to 300 miles apart from the city of León. The workshops to be given were chosen, taking into consideration that they needed to be really representative, creative, and demonstrative, useful and at the same time neither expensive nor delicate. The school were reached and in several occasions. At the moment, at least one request of workshops for communities is served every week, where approximately 5000 children had been attended in the last two years.
As a way to extend the reach of optics education to a larger and more diverse audience, the Boston University student
chapter of OSA/SPIE held a 'family optics day'. The outreach event was organized in a manner similar to a science fair,
with participates being free to roam between a dozen demonstration stations, each focused on a different area of optics. We highlight the methods of publicity used to attract an attendance close to 300 people, and demonstrate that an event such as this is an excellent way to maximize outreach impact for a given level of organizational effort.
The SPIE/OSA Student Chapter at Michigan Technological University have developed demonstrations
and workshops for science and engineering outreach. The practical approach to holography promotes the
study of photonic related sciences in high school and college-aged students. An introduction to laser
safety, optical laboratory practices, and basic laser coherence theory is given in order to first introduce the
participants to the science behind the holograms. The students are then able to create a hologram of an
item of their choice, personalizing the experience. By engaging directly, the students are able to see how
the theory is applied and also enforces a higher level of attention from them so no mistakes are made in
their hologram. Throughout the course participants gain an appreciation for photonics by learning how
holograms operate and are constructed through hands on creation of their own holograms. This paper
reviews the procedures and methods used in the demonstrations and workshop while examining the
overall student experience.
A set of low-cost, compact multispectral imaging systems have been developed for deployment on tethered balloons for education and outreach based on basic principles of optical remote sensing. The imagers use tiny CMOS cameras with low-cost optical filters to obtain images in red and near-infrared bands, and a more recent version include a blue band. The red and near-infrared bands are used primarily for identifying and monitoring vegetation through the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), while the blue band is used for studying water turbidity, identifying water and ice, and so forth. The imagers are designed to be carried by tethered balloons at altitudes up to approximately 50 m. Engineering and physics students at Montana State University-Bozeman gained hands-on experience during the early stages of designing and building the imagers, and a wide variety of university and college students are using the imagers for a broad range of applications to learn about multispectral imaging, remote sensing, and applications typically involving some aspect of environmental science.
The history of optics is a very rich field of science and it is possible to find many simple and significant examples of the
application and success of the experimental method and therefore is a very good tool to transmit to the student the way science proceeds and to introduce the right spirit of critical analysis, building and testing of models, etc. Optical phenomena are specially well suited for this because in fact optical observations and experiments have made science advance in a crucial way in many different periods of history, because they are in many cases quite visual, quite simple in concept and it is very easy to produce experimental setups in classrooms. Also, the intrinsic multidisciplinary character of Optics, which is a subject that has historically influenced in a notorious way fields as art, philosophy, religion and cultural and social studies in general, provide a very wide frame that permits to apply these examples to many different auditories. We present here some reflections about the role that history of optics can play in teaching and show some real examples of its application during the many years that we have been employing it in the context of the Optics School of the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.
By learning about the principles of optics, Connecticut high school students will be able to produce high quality
photographs using pinhole cameras. In this project, a class of photography students has partnered with a class of physics students to learn about optics, build pinhole cameras, use commercially available pinhole cameras and produce quality photographs. In this paper, the results of this student partnership under the guidance of the Laser and Fiber Optic Technology program at Three Rivers Community College and EASTCONN, a regional education service center will be explained.
One of the key challenges in the teaching of Optics is that students need to know not only the math of the optical design, but also, and more important, to grasp and understand the optics in a three-dimensional space. Having a clear image of the problem to solve is the first step in order to begin to solve that problem. Therefore to achieve that the students not only must know the equation of refraction law but they have also to understand how the main parameters of this law are interacting among them. This should be a major goal in the teaching course. Optical graphic methods are a valuable tool in this way since they have the advantage of visual information and the accuracy of a computer calculation.
India has a population of more than 770 million mobile subscribers with number increasing at a swift rate. Most of the
service providers have shifted to optical technologies based on fiber optics. Though, we have subscribers to various
telecom services starting from the school level but they have little idea about the fiber optic technology used. The
present development is an attempt to design a “Low cost optical fiber kit” which will explain the basics in a simpler and
uncomplicated way. Some of the experiments which are planned to be developed and demonstrated include that on
determination of numerical aperture, bending loss, fiber to fiber alignment losses, wavelength division multiplexing,
process of optical communication etc. These kits have been developed under University of Delhi at ANDC SPIE student
chapter’s optics outreach program. The kits will be demonstrated by the chapter student members at various schools in
Delhi and distributed free.
A solar spectrograph is an instrument that takes incoming sunlight over a specified portion of the sun's emitted electromagnetic spectrum and separates the light into its constituent frequency components, or spectrum. The components are then sent to a detector that measures intensity, which reveals the location of spectral properties of the light such as absorption and emission lines. The National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC) is a Montana Space Grant Consortium sponsored competition where undergraduate student teams from across the country design, build, and implement a ground-based solar spectrograph to perform any solar related task and demonstrate their spectrographs for the competition in May 2012 in Bozeman, MT. Each team is given a 2,000-dollar budget to build their spectrograph, which cannot be exceeded, and all spectrographs must follow regulations in the NSSSC guidelines. This team designed a spectrograph to be capable of imaging the sun across the visible spectrum using spatial filters and a standard photo detector rather than a traditional charge-coupled device due to budget limitations. The spectrograph analyzes the spectrum of small sections of the sun to determine how the spectrum varies across solar features such as the corona, active regions, and quiet regions. In addition to solar imaging, the spectrograph will also analyze atmospheric absorption of the solar spectrum by comparing the measured spectrum to the theoretical spectrum calculated from the blackbody equation.
The yearly National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC) is Montana Space Grant Consortium's Education
and Public Outreach (EP/O) Program for NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission. The NSSSC is
designed to give schools with less aerospace activity such as Minority Serving Institutions and Community Colleges an
opportunity for hands on real world research experience. The NSSSC provides students from across the country the
opportunity to work as part of an undergraduate interdisciplinary team to design, build and test a ground based solar
spectrograph. Over the course of nine months, teams come up with their own science goals and then build an instrument
to collect data in support of their goals. Teams then travel to Bozeman, MT to demonstrate their instruments and present
their results in a competitive science fair environment. This paper and poster will discuss the 2011-2012 competition
along with results as well as provide information on the 2012 -2013 competition opportunities.