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

This presentation was made at NAFEMS UK Conference 2018, Taking Engineering Analysis and Simulation to the Next Level".

The NAFEMS UK Conference 2018 brought together all those involved in analysis and simulation from every corner of industry and academia, giving them an opportunity to advance their knowledge, give their organisations a competitive advantage, and a chance to be part of improving the technology itself.

Resource Abstract

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.

Document Details

AuthorBhaskaran. R
Date 17th July 2018
OrganisationCornell University


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