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Web Based Design: STEM Educators Adapt for Distance Learning

By Marshall Williams 21 April 2021

CAD/CAE Browser Based Design Tools for Students,

What Teachers Say Is Next

“Through these past 12-16 months through COVID, you’ve got to find solutions to how you can implement your teaching strategies. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with OnShape and OnScale, I would not have been successful with the students I’ve had.” – Cory Cooper 

These words come from Cory Cooper, a teacher at May River High School in South Carolina with a dual degree in education and engineering. He does something special, he uses OnScale Solve and Onshape for design and FEA everyday in his classroom. Mr. Cooper goes above and beyond the school system’s usual offering in COVID-19, and brought FEA to his highschoolers through the global pandemic with Solve. OnScale continues to redefine his training of tomorrow’s innovators, and connectivity and sharing problems were blasted into the past for his “engineering team.” 

Now a year down the road, after teaching himself OnScale Solve and Onshape without training, or being shanghaied into purchasing professional licenses by legacy CAD vendors, he’s created a full FEA simulation course of his own. 

It’s worth noting before we get started, that it’s now even easier to incorporate Simulation Fundamentals into your lessons, with help from the OnScale Solve Simulation Fundamentals course, available now in the Onshape Learning Centre.

Mr. Cooper’s Problem:

Computational requirements to design and simulate in-house continue to demand more and more from our workstations. Moreover, the barrage of new industry standard tools, hardware requirements and lengthy updates, not to mention galactic file sizes, rack up needless expenses and waste time. Instead, OnScale’s solution to Mr. Cooper application scales to firms of any size, and sheds light into financial blackholes. He expanded his offerings beyond “Project Lead The Way”’s foray into hosting services in the cloud as well, finding web based design easier. OnScale solved the problems that Mr. Cooper and engineering teams globally have run into with usual engineering design services, whether from TinkerCAD to Ansys, or CATIA to Rhino. 

Web Based Design “Usually, our contracts are with Autodesk, and using Inventor or Fusion 360. The problem that we have is that … every other day there is an update, and it is incompatible with some other program’s update. You can lose several days of educational opportunity because you can’t have access to the software. … Solve automatically takes care of the backend, from a teaching standpoint, there’s no downtime in design.”

OnScale Solve’s Solution: 

OnScale Solve always stays up to date and synchronizes seamlessly with any web browser. This facilitates web based design remotely and, when you have 10 minutes till launch and you need to change parameters, Solve has functionalities extending to any machine that has access to the internet. 

“Having a virtual program and being able to test it in real life, that’s how you go 360 and make the full circle of design. I’m teaching students what to do with that information once they have it.”

Orchestration Optimized:

Intimidating computers and programs make the bar for learning engineering extremely high. As engineers, we know that one of the greatest hurdles we overcome daily is communication, whether your marketing team does not “speak” engineering, or vice versa. Clearly, platforms that facilitate clear frameworks are priceless. Solve’s ease of access lowered this barrier of entry for Mr. Coopers students. Simply put, we always work with you and your vision, whether it’s your first time behind the wheel of web based design softwares, or your thousandth time. Solve tapped into their natural engineering intuition, without any previous engineering experience, to make better designs and push each other forward. 

The Inspiration:

“First, [students] saw me building a test prototype. Then, [students] started competing in class for who could get closer to the weight that the actual plant hook can hold. Synthesizing all that information (from testing and the manufacturers website), it was a friendly competition on optimizing the design. This wasn’t me, it was them.
Above all, once you have a problem, do you go back and re-test? Re-design? Is it what you thought it was? Now, how does that then help you increase the speed at which you design something without making a prototype? Then, that’s what [students] wanted to do next, [students] wanted to go ahead and build their own.”

When it comes to iterating, nothing is faster than web based design of mechanisms and FEA in the cloud. Whether wasting moments in the classroom, or checking parts back into the cloud when working from home, Solve frees up your time to focus on what really matters. 

“That’s why I get up everyday to go to work, there’s more excitement and energy in the room when they can see why things work the way they work, not just tell people about it.” 

New Tools For New Problems:

Mr. Cooper and his students are just a single testament to all that is possible with the seamless connection of web based design and unbounded creativity. 

“Now, they have these tools in their repertoire. Before, they didn’t have these tools. Now, they’re prepared to be asked to make their project something that when people come to look at them, they’ll be amazed that a high school student could produce it.”

The Facts, and What You Can Do Now:

Going big picture, it’s clear that when OnScale Solve and Onshape come together, sparks fly. Besides, you can build and test anything from rockets to wrenches without having to succumb to pricey software licenses and hefty equipment costs. Now, its time to coast from conception to construction without a second thought to the backend. And please, design something that can and will change the world, with Solve

Check out the Web Based FEA simulations you can do in web browsers right here, and stay posted for all you’ll be able to do


Pssst… Remember, it’s now even easier to incorporate FEA Simulation Fundamentals into your lessons, with help from the OnScale Solve Simulation Fundamentals course, available now in the Onshape Learning Centre.

Simulate for Free with OnScale Solve™

Marshall Williams
Marshall Williams

Marshall Williams is a Digital Marketing Intern for OnScale. He's a student of AeroSpace Engineering and Economics at Georgia Tech, with experience in growth focused copywriting, specializing in marketing for startups and nonprofits.

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