Computer Aided Optical System Design is an engineering practice course for undergraduate students in College of Optical Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University. When the students have just completed Applied Optics course in spring-summer semester, they will take the practice course in a short semester in summer vocation. This is a projectbased practice course, including optical software developing and lens design. The teaching idea is not only to improve the students’ engineering skills but also to connect different knowledge they have studied, to build a comprehensive knowledge structure, and to develop the team spirit, organizational capability, leadership and communication skills. This course is designed as an engineering project with a contract between the teacher group and every design group of 3 students. In this paper we describe the course program and how to provide a chance to combine different knowledge into a project. In every student group, developing ray trace software of good reliability is the teamwork, and each student will design a photographic lens independently. The lens with the best optical performance will be selected as the team’s result, and be drawn into a system diagram and part drawings. The whole process is both competitive and cooperative, and gives the students the experiences of programmers and lens designers. Most of the students appreciated the practice course and named it as “the most memorable short semester”.
In the teaching of design courses, the process of students to complete the designs is considered more important than the final results, and usually there are no standard answers for these designs. Thus, the research on the process evaluation method in design courses is of great significance. Taking the assessments of two design courses in optical discipline as examples, the psychophysical experimental methods are introduced into the process evaluation of the design courses, i.e. the process evaluation given by each student to others in forms of classification, sorting or grading are adopted as one trial of a psychophysical experiment, which generate many experimental data of mutual evaluation. Based on these data, evaluation results are measured scientifically using the statistical method. Furthermore, through correlation analysis and regression analysis of these data, the relationship among various aspects of different process can be studied. It is easier for students to understand and accept their assessment results, and more helpful for teachers to analyze the influencing factors in their teaching process.