In this installment of the EDUCATORS CORNER, I will be talking with a former SWUG leader who now spends his extra time teaching at the post secondary level in Oregon. Let’s see what he has to say about using SolidWorks in Education!
Richard Hall (RH): Hi Adam. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Adam Scheible (AS). As a child, I had a fascination with engineering. More specifically, I liked process engineering and eventually took a drafting class in middle school. I continued this pursuit by attending Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland, Oregon, then started classes for mechanical engineering. In 1996 I started working full time for a local Medical/Dental manufacturer. I became active in the Portland Area SolidWorks User Group, and was elected as their leader for three years. Over the past three years I have taught at both Portland Community and Clackamas Community Colleges. Currently I teach one or two SolidWorks classes weekly at Portland Community College. You can follow me on Twitter at @adamiser.
RH: Do you have any industry experience? If so what and/or who with?
AS: I work full time for Beaverstate Dental, a Medical/Dental manufacturer in Newberg, Oregon. I have been there since 1996, and manage Sustaining Engineering and Quality Control. I also do various contracting/consulting jobs with local companies. This full time involvement in industry enables me to stay on the edge of the daily workings of the SolidWorks program, community, and processes.
RH: What led you to become a teacher?
AS: I have always enjoyed teaching and mentoring. When I made the case to purchase SolidWorks at Beaverstate Dental in 2002, I joined the local SolidWorks user group. I was an active participant and presenter, and became the user group leader in 2005. I held that position until December 2008 when I needed to give more time to my family and teaching. (Richard Doyle’s comments on Adam)
RH: Why do you teach CAD with SolidWorks?
AS: Why SolidWorks? That’s easy, it’s my professional tool of choice. I can have more done at the end of the day with SolidWorks.
RH: How long have you been teaching?
AS: I have taught at the college level for three years. I have been an active member of PASWUG for seven years, and continue to be supportive of the growing SolidWorks community through work, schools, and social media.
RH: Why do you teach CAD with SolidWorks?
AS: I teach SolidWorks because of the culture of both the SolidWorks/Dassault company and SolidWorks community. It’s what I use in industry and what I believe in. Basically it’s the best tool for my daily livelihood.
RH: What SolidWorks certifications if any do you currently hold?
AS: I don’t have any certifications, but am trying to get the nerve up to take my Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP) test before the summer break.
RH: What are your classes (age range and/or skill level)
AS: My student’s range from young adults to older, transitioning adults. Their skill level is across the board too. Most are working toward their BSME, but some are just trying to add to their skill set. Needless to say the classes are in high demand by everyone and we had to add another session this term. The popularity of SolidWorks is showing its relevance in all aspects of industry. This diversity is shown in each of my classes.
RH: What is a typical classroom day like for you?
AS: I work full time, and teach two nights per week. So, after a day at the office, I open the lab at 5:00pm to let my student’s work/learn/ask. I start teaching at 6:00pm and usually lecture for two hours. The next two hours are work time where I canvas the room helping students individually. I conclude my day at 10:00pm and then drive home to have dinner and kiss my sleeping kids goodnight. I repeat as necessary.
RH: What is your preferred teaching method? What method of teaching SolidWorks have you found to be successful?
AS: I have tried various textbooks and found strengths and weaknesses with all of them. Like Marc Nelson I used the SolidWorks Mountain Board project for a few terms. However, since I use SolidWorks professionally on a daily basis, I could not endorse some of the methods it presented. So, I wrote my own book and augment this with annotated video tutorials. Most importantly, I teach the “big picture” instead of button pushing. I’ve created my own version of the essentials course. I try to set up each lecture in three stages. 1) Key ideas outlined in a bulleted list. 2) Scripted example as a step by step lecture showing each button press. 3) Workflow example showing methodologies and thought process. 1, 2, 3 that’s it. Oh, I’m also a PowerPoint hater, and never use it.
RH: What curriculum and industry standards do you teach?
AS: Academically, I don’t have any curriculum standards. Likewise, I don’t have to teach to any industrial standard because I don’t just cater to drafting students. I’ve had students from mechanical engineering, industrial design, and manufacturing; so I try to focus on SolidWorks functionality instead of a specific industry or standard. That’s not to say they won’t learn drafting standards, but there is more to SolidWorks than drafting.
RH: How do you use the SolidWorks Educator resources and curriculum in teaching your class?
AS: For a long time the SolidWorks Educator resources were on the installation DVDs. However, the school IT department does the install before classes start. So, I never saw the materials offered. Then, there was a time that those resources were made available on the website and I was able to grab the mountain board project. However, this fall the SolidWorks website went through a major overhaul and the educator resources were not available. So, I don’t use the educator resources. Did I mention I tried the Mountain Board project two terms a while back? I could tell you more about it off the record. I just like to do things my own way. However, I see that content has been added to the SolidWorks Educators Blog, so I’ll have to check it out.
RH: Do you have any work from the students you are able to and would like to share? (pictures or models)
AS: I feel I should ask students permission before I share any of their intellectual property or projects, but I can tell you about our core classroom project. I build my class around a simple Lego set. Each piece we model illustrates various SolidWorks tools and functionality. We assemble the blocks to build various vehicles, and output drawings, renderings, and bills of materials like any company would expect.
RH: What industry do you teach for or what is the prevalent industry in your area that would eventually hire a SolidWorks trained person?
AS: Oregon still has a large high tech sector. We have the Intel headquarters, Nike, and a lot of bio-tech upstarts. Everyone is using SolidWorks at one level or another.
RH: What universities or community colleges are nearby that your students would attend and pursue a course of study with SolidWorks application?
AS: Just about all technical colleges and schools in the area use SolidWorks. Most post secondary schools are transitioning away from ProE and moving to SolidWorks. A partial list includes: Portland Community, Clackamas Community, Oregon State University (Beavers), University of Oregon (Ducks), University of Washington (Huskies), Clark College.
RH: Have you attended SolidWorks World? If so, what was beneficial from a teaching standpoint?
AS: I attended SolidWorks World 2006. Everything I attended and everyone I met was beneficial. However, I did not see an educator presence there at all. I plan on attending next year and hope to do a presentation as an educator. (PS: Don’t steal my ideas.)
RH: Will your school board or current school be willing to fund a trip for you to SolidWorks World?
AS: I will probably be funding the trip to SolidWorks World 2010 on my own. Oregon seems to “spend” money very well, just not on anything anyone wants. I could go through the channels, but remember, I like to do things my own way.
RH: Knowing that most school systems are in desperate financial situations, do you feel that there will be continued support for teaching SolidWorks and CAD drafting skills? If so, is it short term or long term support?
AS: This is a very hot topic for me because I both work in industry and am a member of the school faculty.
<edit: remove inflammatory, political monologue. (AS)>
A restructuring is badly needed. I try to live my life with this simple idea. I can’t discredit something if I haven’t made a real attempt to fix it. Therefore, I joined the curriculum advisory board at Clackamas Community College. One of the options on the table is restructuring the program from a two-year associates degree to a one-year certificate; something Portland Community College did some years ago. However, this is erosion of the highly-prized education model and may eventually lead to erosion of other degree programs. So I don’t have an answer right now, but I am at least taking an active part in the evaluation/solution process.
RH: How important do you feel that teaching SolidWorks/CAD/drafting skills is for the future of engineering and industry in general?
AS: CAD is an integral part of engineering today. At an increasing level engineers are doing their own detailing work. As companies further combine MRP/PDM data and personnel resources, the data shared needs to be current and complete. SolidWorks data is a huge benefit in this collaboration.
RH: What are the biggest challenges you face in teaching SolidWorks/drafting?
AS: My largest hurdle while teaching SolidWorks is un-teaching AutoCAD. When will the world stop teaching this as a current tool??!! To be fair, legacy data exists, but only needs to be maintained for the short term. Getting the students out of the 2D dungeon is the hardest part. Getting them to the wow-factor of SolidWorks is always a great day in the classroom.
RH: What are some goals for your future and do you always plan on teaching?
AS: This country needs engineers. I think our schools have produced too many liberal arts majors in the last 10 years. My goal is to reach younger, middle school age students. I recently talked with Saturday Academy, a local group dedicated to mentoring and offering classes to school kids. I would like to start teaching SolidWorks classes at this level, but the hurdle now is hardware. We need to get new enough computers to run the next releases of SolidWorks.
Thanks for taking the time to interview me and other SolidWorks educators out there. Your outreach through the blog, just like our teaching, helps the engineering community as a whole. Your time and contribution is appreciated by all. Was that the tardy bell? Well, I guess it’s time to get to class.
You are very welcome Adam. I am very interested in your curriculum compared to other post secondary teachers. If you are teaching SolidWorks at any level, give me a shout and let’s talk. See you next time,
CAD, Educators Corner featuring SolidWorks, SWUGN, SolidWorks