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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Using lecture demonstrations and on-line discussion groups to enhance learning in a photonics and fiber optics unit
Author(s): Alexander Mazzolini

Paper Abstract

A second year Photonics and Fiber Optics unit in our B. Sc. (Photonics) course at Swinburne University is delivered via power-point lectures, problem-solving tutorials and laboratory sessions. Student interest and participation in lectures is enhanced by the use of 'interactive learning' methods such as 'live' lecture demonstrations, 'virtual demonstration' video clips, computer simulations and on-line discussion groups. Hands-on lecture demonstrations add variety and excitement to lectures, and if used as part of the 'predict, observe, explain' sequence can illicit student interaction, critical thinking and peer dialog. Lecture demonstrations are also used to introduce or reinforce particular 'key concepts,' which assists comprehension for many students. Video clips are used to show lecture demonstrations that are too difficult to set up in a normal lecture. Similarly, interactive ray-tracing simulations greatly extend what can be taught with words and diagrams alone. Finally the cooperative learning style (developed in tutorial sessions) can be extended with properly structured (and assessed) on-line discussion groups, in which all students are expected to participate.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 2002
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 4588, Seventh International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, (28 May 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.468707
Show Author Affiliations
Alexander Mazzolini, Swinburne Univ. of Technology (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4588:
Seventh International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Tuan-Kay Lim; Robert P. Breault; Arthur H. Guenther; Arthur H. Guenther, Editor(s)

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