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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Piloting a fiber optics and electronic theory curriculum with high school students
Author(s): Pamela Olivia Gilchrist; Eric D. Carpenter; Asia Gray-Battle

Paper Abstract

Previous participants from a multi-year blended learning intervention focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content knowledge, technical, college, and career preparatory skills were recruited to pilot a new module designed by the project staff. Participants met for a total of 22 contact hours receiving lectures from staff and two guest speakers from industries relevant to photonics, fiber optics hands-on experimentation, and practice with documenting progress. Activities included constructing a fiber optics communication system, troubleshooting breadboard circuits and diagrammed circuits as well as hypothesis testing to discover various aspects of fiber optic cables. Participants documented their activities, wrote reflections on the content and learning endeavor and gave talks about their research experiences to staff, peers, and relatives during the last session. Overall, it was found that a significant gain in content knowledge occurred between the time of pre-testing (Mean=0.54) and post-testing time points for the fiber optics portion of the curriculum via the use of a paired samples t-test (Mean=0.71), t=-2.72, p<.05. Additionally, the electronic theory test results were not a normal distribution and for this reason non-parametric testing was used, specifically a Wilcoxon signed-ranks test. Results indicated a significant increase in content knowledge occurred over time between the pre- (Mdn=0.35) and post-testing time points (Mdn=0.80) z=-2.49, p<,05, r=-0.59 for the electronic theory portion of the curriculum. An equivalent control group was recruited from the remaining participant pool, allowing for comparison between groups. The program design, findings, and lessons learned will be reported in this paper.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 July 2014
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 9289, 12th Education and Training in Optics and Photonics Conference, 92890P (17 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2070742
Show Author Affiliations
Pamela Olivia Gilchrist, The Science House, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)
Eric D. Carpenter, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)
Asia Gray-Battle, The Science House, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9289:
12th Education and Training in Optics and Photonics Conference
Manuel F. P. C. Martins Costa; Mourad Zghal, Editor(s)

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