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csu-logo3D printing is many things, and one of them, much like the Internet, is a generational marker. Today’s kids are growing up with 3D printing in their classrooms, and by the time they reach the workforce, I imagine it’ll be second nature to them – again, much like the Internet. However, 3D printing is becoming ubiquitous in the workforce now, and many of the current generation of professionals are faced with learning a brand new skill, one they may just have heard of for the first time a year ago. It can be a bit daunting to say the least, but thankfully that learning doesn’t have to be on the job, under pressure – there are plenty of 3D printing courses out there that are open to anyone.

Colorado State University is offering an online Foundations of 3D Printing course open to students and non-students of the school alike. A collaboration between CSU Online and the Idea-2-Product 3D Printing Laboratory, the course is being led by Dr. David Prawel, a mechanical engineering professor and the founder of the Idea-2-Product lab. Dr. Prawel has been working with 3D technology for 36 years and has taught several 3D printing courses at CSU. He believes that the online course can help companies to learn how to implement the technology to its full potential.

David Prawel, director of the 3D lab in CSU’s Idea-2-Product 3D printing lab works with Kent Mackenzie to design, engineer and print a helmet liner. The liner, created for the Walk Again project, fits between the electrode cap and a protective helmet. The liner’s purpose is two-fold – ensure the EEG cap does not move and help protect the head, May 8, 2014.

Dr. David Prawel works with a student to create a 3D design for a protective helmet liner. [Image: Colorado State University]

“We think we can reach so many more people and help so many more people get up to speed on this technology by making it available in a much easier-to-consume format…It’s not hands-on, of course, but it offers a lot of detail about what it takes to do 3D printing, the software tools required, and the major types of machines out there,” Dr. Prawel said.

badgeThe course is offered as four modules: Basic Principles I, Basic Principles II, Additive Processing I, and Additive Processing II. For each course completed, participants will earn a digital badge that can be added to résumés or LinkedIn profiles; completion of all four modules will result in a Mastery Badge, which is intended to show employers that the participant possesses full competency in the technology.

As 3D printing becomes more of a presence in many industries, proof of fluency in the technology can be a significant advantage in the workforce. Each module is a week long and can be taken at your convenience; tuition for Basic Principles I and II is $165 each. Additive Processing I and II cost $185 each. For the entire “Mastery Bundle,” the cost is $650.

“Rather than being thrown a whole full-semester class, you meander through all the different modules and assemble your own class, and your own expertise level according to the types of technology that best fit your organization,” said Dr. Prawel.

You can learn more about the course and how to enroll here. Registration is open until May 31. Are you thinking about enrolling? Discuss in the CSU 3D Printing Online Course forum over at 3DPB.com.

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