Curriculum design and simulation courses are bridges to connect specialty theories, engineering practice and experimental skills. In order to help students to have the computer aided optical system design ability adapting to developments of the times, a professional optical software--Advanced System of Analysis Program (ASAP) was used in the research teaching of curriculum design and simulation courses. The ASAP tutorials conducting, exercises both complementing and supplementing the lectures, hands-on practice in class, autonomous learning and independent design after class were bridged organically, to guide students "learning while doing, learning by doing", paying more attention to the process instead of the results. Several years of teaching practice of curriculum design and simulation courses shows that, project-based learning meets society needs of training personnel with knowledge, ability and quality. Students have obtained not only skills of using professional software, but also skills of finding and proposing questions in engineering practice, the scientific method of analyzing and solving questions with specialty knowledge, in addition, autonomous learning ability, teamwork spirit and innovation consciousness, still scientific attitude of facing failure and scientific spirit of admitting deficiency in the process of independent design and exploration.