The @MATEC Archives

Volume 1, Number3 E.P.S.S.
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As they start rolling out in this Fall, MATEC curriculum modules will provide a variety of resources to help faculty successfully deliver quality lectures, laboratories and supplementary learning activities. Because these modules contain the technical core of a rapidly evolving industry, MATEC is developing an equally nimble system for delivering them to the faculty. It is a hybrid Internet/CD-ROM package, based on state-of-the-art Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS).

Electronic Performance Support Systems are transforming the way business and industry share information among employees in the 90’s. The paper ’whiteouts’ of training updates and memos that were obsolete before they could be filed, are giving way to streamlined electronic delivery of information while it is still news. Barry Raybould, of Ariel Performance Centered Systems defines EPSS as, "a system that provides users with the information, advice and learning experiences they need to get up to speed as quickly as possible, with the minimum of support from other people". Basically, it is an electronic system designed to provide just-in-time training to a person who is actively working on a task, and in response to a "need-to-know" for task performance.

What does this have to do with MATEC’s curriculum modules?

Picture an instructor preparing for class on the photolithography process. Traditionally, this instructor would have pulled out a favorite textbook and started writing a lecture. While preparing the lecture, the instructor would probably be jotting down a reminder to prepare the demonstration that ‘worked so well last fall’.

Suppose instead that the instructor reaches for the MATEC Photolithography CD-ROM and logs on to the MATEC web site. Upon entering the EPSS web site, the instructor’s computer and MATEC create an interlinked workstation for curriculum development. The Photolithography Process module contains background information, lesson plans, and resource materials, including laboratory activities, student handouts, a performance assessment task and scoring guide. In addition, the module provides references, a glossary and hyperlinks to related Internet sites. All materials are downloadable by the instructor or accessible from the CD-ROM. This includes slide presentations with lecture notes for both the faculty and student, animations of photolithography processes, video clips, and stimulating activities for individuals and teams of students.

But the MATEC EPSS doesn’t quit with teaching materials. It is meant to provide just-in-time training to a person who is actively working on a task and in response to a "need-to-know" for task performance. Therefore, the system provides context sensitive faculty development opportunities embedded within the module content.

Faculty have two performance support options. For experienced instructors who have limited access to recent developments in industry, the Technical Advisor offers in-depth information from industry on recent developments in the science of semiconductor manufacturing. New knowledge is available just in time – while preparing for class. The second option is the Teaching Associate. Because many colleges need faculty for their SMT programs, industry is supplying content experts as adjunct faculty. While knowledgeable of the industry, these experts often lack teaching experience. The Teaching Associate offers advice on how to best teach the module in a college setting from fellow faculty at other colleges. It could be anything from how to jerry-rig a spinner using an electric drill, to developing teaming skills in group discussions. Together the Associate and the Advisor support faculty performance in the classroom, and will change the way educators "do business" in the 90’s.