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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Problem-based learning in advanced photonics manufacturing: bringing real-world applications to the classroom

Paper Abstract

As the applications of photonics technology continue to expand into an ever-growing number of advanced manufacturing applications including laser materials processing, additive manufacturing, 3D sensing, medical devices, photonic integrated circuits and consumer products, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs often struggle to prepare graduates with the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to keep pace with this rapidly changing technology. In this paper, we describe how Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AIM Photonics Academy, the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), and the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (RCNGM) are addressing this struggle through a three-year NSF-ATE project entitled “Problem-based Learning in Advanced Photonics Manufacturing (APM-PBL).” In this project, we are creating eight multimedia problem-based learning (PBL) “Challenges” focused on authentic real-world problems in advanced photonics manufacturing in collaboration with photonics industry and research university partners. Training in the use of these Challenges and ongoing support will be provided for 24 high school and college STEM educators from throughout New England. These PBL Challenges will be made available online at no cost to high school and college STEM educators and will add to a growing online library of 20+ PBL Challenges created in three previous NSF-ATE grants awarded to NEBHE.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 July 2019
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 11143, Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019, 111431J (2 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2523803
Show Author Affiliations
Nicholas M. Massa, Springfield Technical Community College (United States)
Judith F. Donnelly, New England Board of Higher Education (United States)
Gary J. Mullett, Springfield Technical Community College (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11143:
Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019
Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard; Joseph A. Shaw, Editor(s)

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