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Supplying UCSD Students with Valuable Skills Through Hands-on Classes

Mar 8 2017

“To be able to teach to students, at their pace, is the most valuable part of SolidProfessor.” – Karcher Morris


Karcher Morris is a teaching assistant (TA) and graduate student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, Electrical Engineering department, and Masters Medical Device program at UC San Diego.

Versatile teaching

“One of my favorite things about SolidProfessor is that it can teach to a wide variety of students. For example, in the Medical Device Engineering Masters program, we have students coming from the purely mechanical and electrical engineering fields with thousands of hours of SOLIDWORKS experience, and then we also have some students from the biology and chemistry fields who are trying to figure it out for the first time. So to be able to teach them, at their pace, is the most valuable part of SolidProfessor.” Explaining the importance of a combination of theory and practical experience, Karcher explains why he focuses on hands-on application: “When students are trying to get internships or work in the industry, they need to feel prepared for that environment. With SolidProfessor, I’m able to introduce a little bit of it in class but get straight into the application and how we apply theory, like finite element analysis. I can get into the harder subjects while leaving the functionality and the tools for students to learn at home.”

Instant set up

In his Introduction to Electrical Engineering (ECE5) course, for example, Karcher introduces students to a variety of concepts and skills. “With SolidProfessor, they’re able to expand on MATLAB, SOLIDWORKS, and other tools in their free time at home.” While the students are all excited to grow their skillsets, Karcher says they don’t always have time in class to cover everything. “Students end up continuing to learn on their own because SolidProfessor makes it so easy.” Karcher used SolidProfessor first as a student, so when he became a TA, he knew it would be a valuable resource in his classroom. “It was easy to get started. One of the things I really like about SolidProfessor is that the interface is set up really well for classes. So when you’re trying to get a class going, you just click a few buttons and you can assign lessons really easily.”

Valuable hands-on practice

Keeping students engaged is important to Karcher. He finds the quality of the SolidProfessor lessons to be one of the biggest benefits. “SolidProfessor’s quality is amazing. The lessons are clear, concise, and effective. When students tap into it, they don’t get bored quickly. For students to be able to pause when they need to, or stop and actually try it on their own, that’s really valuable for students and how they learn at different paces.” With changes in education in recent years, many university mindsets have evolved to offer more real-world learning opportunities for students. “At UCSD, our dean has a big initiative to have a lot more hands-on classes, giving students skills they can use at companies. Some of those skills are CAD, 3D Printing, and using MATLAB. What’s nice about SolidProfessor is that it aids in all of those initiatives.”

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John Farmer
John Farmer

About the Author

John Farmer

SolidProfessor Digital Marketing Manager and keeper of Rahn, the office dog.