The @MATEC Archives

Volume 1, Number 2 One Week in the Life of a MATEC Curriculum Developer
F. Kenneth Grover
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"Be a curriculum developer," the fax said. "Participate in an important national effort…receive training in competency based curriculum development…work with esteemed colleagues…get paid!" Wow, where do I sign up? What the fax didn’t promise was a tour of research labs, attendance at a presentation given by a noted researcher who is developing the next generation of Gigabit memory chips, or simulated flying of an Air Force F-16 in a dog fight.

We arrived at MATEC’s offices in Tempe, Arizona, one Tuesday morning for a Wednesday through Saturday workshop on curriculum development. We had been promised some exciting activities if we arrived early. After lunch, we proceeded to Arizona State University where we toured Dr. Sandwip K. Dey’s labs and listened to his research presentation. Next, it was on to the Armstrong Laboratory at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler. Here, after another presentation, everyone had the opportunity to crawl into the cockpit of an F-16 simulator, which had to be the world’s most sophisticated video game and an opportunity few will ever experience.

Wednesday, we began four days of intensive training on competency based curriculum development. Terri Johnson worked wonders training us on competency based curriculum as well as in the use of the Wisconsin Instructional Design System (WIDS) software, which was used as the design tool. Evenings were spent at great restaurants eating delicious food while enjoying the company of a group of exceptional people. Saturday, we all left Arizona with a partially completed module and went home to complete our assigned curriculum.

After completing my initial assignments, would I do this again? You bet I would, and I encourage anyone interested in the semiconductor industry and curriculum development to do the same. Just remember it’s a lot of work, so don’t get involved unless you intend to follow through on your obligations. However, if you do choose to get involved you will work with a wonderful group of MATEC people and have a very rewarding experience.

Ken Grover (John Tyler CC) is author of "Process Overview" and "Fundamentals of the Transistor" modules for MATEC and member of the Curriculum Design Advisory Committee.