CIAN - Super Course Program

Equal access to education is a guiding ideal of our programs. Vertically-integrated online courses, called super-courses are uniquely designed to provide learners the ability to customize content based on their prior education and to reinforce their fundamental understanding of photonic concepts. This will allow dissemination of photonics knowledge to persons from diverse disciplines and a range of preparation levels. CIAN faculty will supply course content that is infused, and easily updated, with CIAN research findings. Super-courses are based on modular, unit instruction topics, and, as such, may be utilized in a highly-flexible fashion. The courses will offer the opportunity for web-based, instructor-lead course implementation within a traditional course structure at all levels, from pre-college to undergraduate to graduate. In addition, modular course materials may also be applied as reference materials to augment existing lecture-style classes and will form the basis of a scientifically deep and technologically current reference source that will provide a freely-available introduction to optical communication for independent learners.


Dr. Alan Kost Teaching Super Course


How can you teach an advanced truly interdisciplinary course, or design an interdisciplinary program?

  1. Identify the component traditional disciplines.
  2. Ask students to spend 1-3 years satisfying minimum prerequisite courses in each discipline.
  3. Or wait until new books/courses are developed that integrate the component traditional disciplines.

Super-courses will build the necessary components by providing the pre-requisite material in hyperlinked modules to allow students from different disciplines to make up missing prerequisite knowledge on an individual need basis, at the time that the information or knowledge is needed.

Super-courses scenario


  • Top level covers the topics of the course at an advanced graduate level and gives rigorous equations and graphs.
  • Hyperlinked modules provide the background knowledge required to advance in the course.
  • Hyperlinked modules provide explanatory material which enable the courses to be taught at undergraduate level or which may be accessed on an as-needed basis at the student's option.
  • Additional hyperlinked modules bring the level of the material and the degree of explanation to the 6th grade with automated graphs, simple conceptual explanations, Web applets and appropriate videos.

Interdisciplinary "super-courses" composed of coordinated learning modules will be developed that are:

  • Vertically integrated.
  • Designed to be delivered by Web, by classroom, and by laboratory experience, and that will...
  • ...Provide a complete set of pre-requisite knowledge for students coming from varied science and engineering backgrounds.

The super-courses will cover:

  • Optics
  • Optical Materials
  • Optical Electronics
  • Optical Communications and Information Technology

The modules will cover topics at various levels to include conceptual, mathematical, diagrammatic, and laboratory experimental approaches. Often the topics will be covered using different combinations of modules to appeal to student with different learning needs or preferences.


Super Course


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Sample Super Course Module