OPTICS AND PHOTONICS INNOVATIVE EDUCATION NETWORKING: SYNERGIES BETWEEN UNIVERSITIES AROUND LEARNING

P. Garcia-Martinez1, C.J. Zapata-Rodríguez1, C. Ferreira1, I. Fernandez1, M. Naserpour1, I. Moreno2, M.M. Sánchez-López2, J. Espinosa3, D. Mas3, J.J. Miret3

1University of Valencia (SPAIN)
2University Miguel Hernandez of Elche (SPAIN)
3University of Alicante (SPAIN)
Spanish Higher Education has transformed teaching methods and structures by Bologna process in the last seven years. The academic methodology focused now on the student’s autonomous learning rather than in the role of mere information receptor. In that sense, students need many new tools and teaching material to accomplish such autonomous learning process. Networking means to interconnect people sharing an interest in the success of a particular enterprise. Photonics educators can benefit from being better connected to each other, not just to information. In that sense, the department of Policy Training and Educational Quality of the University of Valencia, has bet on innovative education networking. The requirements to apply for that kind of innovative project is to be minimum ten teachers and three universities from Spanish territory. The aim of our network is to develop b-learning tools for Optics and Photonics and the network is composed by University of Alicante, the University of Miguel Hernández in Elche and the University of Valencia. The academic networking staff is expert in Optics teaching and more specifically in Geometrical Optics. Such subject studies the basics of light phenomena like reflection and refraction and the use of simple optical elements such as mirrors, prisms, lenses, and fibers. The mathematical treatment is simple and the equations are not too complicated. But from our experience in teaching to undergraduate students, we realize that important concepts are confused by these students because they practice ray tracing as they should do. Moreover, Geometrical Optics laboratory is essential by providing many short Optics experiments and thus stimulating students interest in the study of such a topic. Other student demands are multimedia applications. We are developing several on-line materials based on video-tutorials of laboratory experiences and of ray tracing exercises, and computer assisted geometrical optics exercises. That will result in interesting educational synergies between universities and promote student autonomy for learning Optics.