Infoscience

Conference paper

Optical engineering: Understanding optical system by experiments: 1

Students have to be educated in theoretical and practical matters. Only one of them does not allow attacking complex problems in research, development, and management. After their study, students should be able to design, construct and analyze technical problems at highest levels of complexity. Who never experienced the difficulty of setting up measurements will not be able to understand, plan and manage such complex tasks in her/his future career. At EPFL a course was developed for bachelor education and is based on three pillars: concrete actions (enactive) to be done by the students, a synthesis of their work by writing a report (considered as the iconic part) and inputs from the teacher to generalize the findings and link it to a possible complete abstract description (symbolic). Intensive tutoring allowed an intermodal transfer between these categories. This EIS method originally introduced by Jerome Bruner for small children is particular well adapted for engineer education for which theoretical understanding often is not enough. The symbiosis of ex-cathedra lecture and practical work in a classroom-like situation presents an innovative step towards integrated learning that complements perfectly more abstract course principles like online courses.

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