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Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran
Swanson Engineering Simulation Program in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering -Cornell University


Democratization of Simulation through Creation of a New Paradigm in Engineering Education by Combining Hands-on Simulations and Online Learning


Despite commercial tools becoming easier to use and offering the ability to create customised apps for non-experts, simulation is still far from being a push-button technology. Effective use of this technology requires engineering judgement and a deep understanding of the big ideas regarding what’s under the hood, which are teachable skills. In my free “massive open online course” or MOOC at, I demonstrate how to seamlessly integrate the teaching of these skills with the hands-on use of a commercial tool (ANSYS®).  This has helped thousands of learners around the world to move beyond mere button pushing and start thinking like an expert. 

My MOOC draws case studies from five engineering courses at Cornell University and presents a common approach across solid mechanics, fluid dynamics and heat transfer. It also uses a common approach to finite-element analysis and computational fluid dynamics. A unifying framework is employed to keep the discussion coherent while moving across traditional course boundaries. Online mini-lectures are woven into hands-on problem solving in the tool. This is done by using a just-in-time approach that focuses on the relevant big ideas that the user needs to know while omitting nitty-gritty details that are automated. I’ll make the case that my MOOC opens a pathway for the democratisation of simulation by re-imagining engineering education through combining two disruptive technologies: hands-on simulations and online learning. 

Biography: Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran

2018 NAFEMS UK Keynote Speaker: Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran

Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran leads the Swanson Engineering Simulation Program in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. This program supports the incorporation of simulation tools into engineering courses to better prepare students for the modern workplace. Dr. Bhaskaran has helped introduce ANSYS®-based simulations into Cornell courses covering fluid dynamics, heat transfer, solid mechanics and numerical analysis. He has led the development of as an online portal for learning and teaching finite-element analysis and computational fluid dynamics simulations. His educational videos have garnered close to 3 million views on YouTube. Over 70,000 people have enrolled in his MOOC on engineering simulations at  He is the recipient of the 2017 Dennis G. Shepherd teaching prize from Cornell University and was a finalist for the 2017 edX prize. He was selected to take part in National Academy of Engineering's prestigious Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium in 2011. He was the lead organizer of two university-industry workshops on the Integration of Simulation Technology into Engineering Curricula (ISTEC) in 2008 and 2011.

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