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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Applying the principles of augmented learning to photonics laboratory work
Author(s): U. H. P. Fischer; Matthias Haupt; Christian Reinboth; Jens-Uwe Just

Paper Abstract

Most modern communication systems are based on opto-electrical methods, wavelength division multiplex (WDM) being the most widespread. Likewise, the use of polymeric fibres (POF) as an optical transmission medium is expanding rapidly. Therefore, enabling students to understand how WDM and/or POF systems are designed and maintained is an important task of universities and vocational schools that offer education in photonics. In the current academic setting, theory is mostly being taught in the classroom, while students gain practical knowledge by performing lab experiments utilizing specialized teaching systems. In an ideal setting, students should perform such experiments with a high degree of autonomy. By applying the principles of augmented learning to photonics training, contemporary lab work can be brought closer to these ideal conditions. This paper introduces „OPTOTEACH“, a new teaching system for photonics lab work, designed by Harz University and successfully released on the German market by HarzOptics. OPTOTEACH is the first POF-WDM teaching system, specifically designed to cover a multitude of lab experiments in the field of optical communication technology. It is illustrated, how this lab system is supplemented by a newly developed optical teaching software - „OPTOSOFT“ - and how the combination of system and software creates a unique augmented learning environment. The paper details, how the didactic concept for the software was conceptualised and introduces the latest beta version. OPTOSOFT is specifically designed not only as an attachment to OPTOTEACH, it also allows students to rehearse various aspects of theoretical optics and experience a fully interactive and feature-rich self-learning environment. The paper further details the first experiences educators at Harz University have made working with the lab system as well as the teaching software. So far, the augmented learning concept was received mostly positive, although there is some potential for further optimisation concerning integration and pacing of various interactive modules.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 June 2007
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9665, Tenth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, 96651O (3 June 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.2207925
Show Author Affiliations
U. H. P. Fischer, Harz Univ. (Germany)
Matthias Haupt, Harz Univ. (Germany)
Christian Reinboth, HarzOptics Photonics Research GmbH (Germany)
Jens-Uwe Just, HarzOptics Photonics Research GmbH (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9665:
Tenth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Marc Nantel, Editor(s)

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