The practical optics workshop: educating the optical engineers of tomorrow

Jaren N. Ashcraft, Trenton Brendel, Simran Agarwal, Joel Berkson, Alexander D. Hedglen, Hyukmo Kang, Yanqi Zhang, Heejoo Choi, Daewook Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


A comprehensive education of optical engineers is of paramount importance to the development of the industry. While optical sciences and engineering curricula are set up to teach theoretical concepts comprehensively, there appears to be a lack of required coursework that teaches students how to use industry-standard software that they will inevitably use in their careers. The Practical Optics Workshop (POW) is an initiative at the University of Arizona's Wyant College of Optical Sciences to support the education of students that use optical design software. POW's aim is to bridge the gap between the theory of optical system design and the problems the optical engineers of the future will face daily. POW has principally engaged students through short workshop sessions and optical design problems through inquiry-based learning activities. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic new activities have been designed to support self-paced and virtual learning to ensure the accessibility of Optical Design software education. We present the status of POW's current initiatives and how they have impacted student learning, as well as the design of future initiatives that POW is developing for a self-paced curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptics Education and Outreach VII
EditorsG. Groot Gregory, Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard
ISBN (Electronic)9781510654105
StatePublished - 2022
EventOptics Education and Outreach VII 2022 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 22 2022 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOptics Education and Outreach VII 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Period8/22/22 → …

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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