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SPIE launches online courses in optics and photonics

11 August 2009

BELLLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE has launched a series of online courses on photonics topics to offer flexibility and more opportunities for ongoing professional education.

SPIE Education Services staff worked with several instructors who teach established courses at SPIE meetings to develop and film the new online, on-demand serices. The coures contain the same material as those offered at SPIE meetings.

SPIE courses are developed primarily for working engineers and scientists who need to fulfill requirements for ongoing professional education, who are interested in learning about emerging approaches and tools, or who want a refresher on fundamental optics topics.

"Students are typically juggling work and family schedules while trying to benefit themselves and their organizations with higher education. Distance learning courses offer this to students," said Alfred Ducharme, Assistant Dean of Distance and Distributed Learning at the Univ. of Central Florida (UCF).

The SPIE courses are presented in full-screen video with PowerPoint slides, and students can earn continuing education credits and certificates just as in the courses offered at SPIE meetings. SPIE is authorized by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training to provide continuing education units (CEUs). One unit is awarded for every 10 hours of participation in qualified continuing education.

Providing the SPIE conference-based short courses online also serves constituents who cannot travel to SPIE meetings because of time or fiscal restrictions.

"It is not always viable to wait until a course is presented at a meeting that might be a year away," said SPIE Past President Kevin Harding, senior researcher at GE Global Research and an SPIE instructor. "Engineers today rely much more on the internet for fast, timely information. Online courses help fill that role."

The first online offerings are:
Basic Optics for Engineers, taught by Alfred Ducharme, Univ. of Central Florida
• Basic Optics for Non-Optics Personnel, taught by Kevin Harding, GE Global Research
• Fundamentals of Medical Imaging Processing and Analysis, taught by Thomas Deserno, RWTH Aachen
Principles and Advancements in X-Ray Computed Tomography, taught by Jiang Hsieh, GE Healthcare.

The online format gives students control over when they may view a course. While short courses at conferences can sometimes last all day, the online courses are broken up into 30-minute segments that can be viewed over multiple days when the student can fit it in. There is a quiz after each section, to emphasize key learning objectives and to allow students to view each topic at their leisure or review one subject at a time.

For more information on the multiple formats that SPIE offers continuing education in optics, visit spie.org/courses.

SPIE is the International Society for Optics and Photonics, founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 188,000 constituents from 138 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. In 2008, the Society provided more than $1.9 million in support of scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world. For more information, visit SPIE.org.

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Media contact:
Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
Phone: +1 360 685 5478
Twitter: Twitter.com/SPIEtweets
amy@spie.org