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Success in Simulation – Tufts University

By Marshall Williams 23 June 2022

Last week, our team at OnScale Zoomed into the Future Educational Technologies Lab at Tufts University to look at how quickly engineering students could pick up a basic simulation skillset. The Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) selects summer interns based on their commitment to improving engineering education, and includes highschool to college graduate students, mainly in engineering disciplines.

The students entered the session with no prior OnScale Solve experience and spent the first 20 minutes following a mechanical simulation analysis example of a bike pedal. By the end of the next hour, they had imported, meshed, restrained, and ran studies on their own Onshape models they had built in a previous hackathon design project: a full CAD playground.

The most amazing consequence of the event, however, did not come from their intuitive usage of OnScale Solve. Because of students’ varying CAD familiarity, they constantly refined their own understanding of FEA by teaching it to their peers. Through explaining meshing, simulation setup, result interpretation, and next steps to take in design, students drove their own learning!

The Problem

The Tufts students worked towards simulating a rider on the Bike Pedal design below.

After flying through the prepared example, they soon were off the ground with their own designs. They tested different materials and small design changes on their own models, some of which are shown below. 

Simulation in the Classroom

There is a big gap between coursework and design. Moving from trusses in statics to designing bridges, which may have beam, shell, and solid elements, is like taking a team to the bottom of Everest and saying “Hey! Scale the mountain and figure it out yourself.” We need a scaffolding that enables students to scale the mountain of engineering expertise, and simulation can fill the gaps. Simulation connects theory and application to enable just-in-time, problem-based learning.

Education is the greatest tool we can give the next generation. The Future Educational Technologies Lab is committed to finding the educational tools that open students minds and channel their skills.” – Chris Rogers, Tufts Professor  

For K-12 students drawn to STEM, enabling them to push themselves to previously unimaginable levels of expertise perfectly sums up the mission of colleges worldwide. With simulation, teachers and students alike experience the best way to design: design in the cloud. 

Take a Step Into the Cloud

To learn more about the work that Chris Rogers is doing at the Tufts CEEO with the help of Mohammed Tonkal, check out the CEEO and learn how to bring simulation into your classroom

Reach out to us if you are interested in preparing your students for the amazing future of iterative design with simulation! 

Lastly, if you are a student interested in bringing OnScale to your college, check out our Student Officer Program

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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