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Proceedings Paper

From educational theory to improved praxis and student retention in the coordinated teaching and examination of optical, optoelectronic, and control aspects of Irish and Scottish third level courses
Author(s): Norman D. McMillan; D. G. E. McMillan; D. Polley
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Paper Abstract

The development of optical engineering, photonics, optical telecommunications and networking courses in the Carlow Institute of Technology are briefly outlined in its national and local historic context. The experience of running various pioneering technician and degree courses in Carlow using assessment procedures designed to test specified learning outcomes is described. A critical review of the use of these educational methods for optical engineering is then made based on the personal experience of one of the author's postgraduate experience in studying in both the Glasgow universities. A differential study is presented of the Scottish and Irish experience, made from the point of view of best practice in educational methodology, as it applies specifically to teaching the high level skills required for engineering design in optical engineering programmes. Details on technology teacher training are presented and some discussion is given on relevant educational initiatives for this area. Possibly the first ever quantitative taxonometric analysis of the 2003-4 examination papers from a leading Institute of Technology in Ireland is undertaken to provide an insight into the present practice of the lecturers and educational managers running this programme. This analysis reveals the coordinated teamwork involved in the course implementation and identifies that various roles that are taken by individual courses in the context of balancing appropriately the whole educational programme. Critical observations on some of the programmes for technician, technologist and degree programmes should enable the delivery to be improved. The statistical analysis of results should also deliver improvements in retention rates of the students. The paper ends with a observations on some useful lessons to be drawn from this wide-ranging review of world, Scottish and Irish experience.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 June 2005
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 5827, Opto-Ireland 2005: Photonic Engineering, (8 June 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.605959
Show Author Affiliations
Norman D. McMillan, Institute of Technology Carlow (Ireland)
D. G. E. McMillan, Univ. of Glasgow (United Kingdom)
D. Polley, Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5827:
Opto-Ireland 2005: Photonic Engineering
Thomas J. Glynn; Gerard M. O'Connor; Aidan J.H. Flanagan; Gerald Byrne; Jonathan Magee; John T. Sheridan; Ronan F. O'Dowd; Gerard D. O'Sullivan; Brian W. Bowe, Editor(s)

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