As 3D printing becomes an increasingly popular technology, the ability to use that technology will have to be taught to learners worldwide. And, now, Ultimaker, University of Illinois, and Coursera are attempting to do just that with a series of online 3D printing courses.
Together, these three partners are launching a series of free, online 3D printing classes open to learners worldwide through Coursera’s online education platform. With four courses and a hands-on capstone, anyone will be able to obtain online specialization in 3D printing from Coursera. The courses include all of the following:
- “An overview of 3D Printing and its revolutionary potential
- An examination of 3D Printing’s applications across a variety of industries
- An in-depth exploration of 3D design software
- An investigation of how 3D printers are made and how they operate”
Siert Wijnia, CTO and founder of Ultimaker, says of the program, “Ultimaker’s vision is to make 3D printing accessible to all and has been reflected in our open source printers and community inspired collaborations. With Coursera and the Illinois MakerLab, we are helping to optimize 3D printing courses that are available to everyone interested in digital making with our hands-on knowledge of 3D printing.”
In addition to the online courses, Ultimaker is also equipping University of Illinois with 17 new Ultimaker 3D printers for the Illinois MakerLab. The MakerLab, in turn, has introduced “Free Print Wednesdays,” sponsored by Ultimaker, in which students will be able to 3D print objects on campus. Aric Rindfleisch, executive director of the Illinois MakerLab, comments, “The University of Illinois and the Illinois MakerLab are delighted to be partnering with Ultimaker on this innovative new online program on 3D printing. Ultimaker is one of the world’s leading providers of desktop 3D printers. Thus, our learners will have the privilege of learning from not only leading academics but also leading practitioners in the 3D printing space.”
While Coursera typically charges a small fee for its classes, the program is definitely helping to increase access to education around the globe. edX and similar initiatives have completely revolutionized the way we think of higher education so that access to quality education may not be hindered by outrageous tuition costs or even location. With established universities like Harvard and MIT offering free online courses, just about anyone with internet access can begin participating in classes that they would not otherwise have access to.