by Jeff Verbeem
At ‘That’s so Library!’, we are always on the lookout for compelling examples of the Library’s role in supporting Teaching and Learning at BCIT. A couple weeks ago we caught up with Glen Hodgkinson (aka Mr. H) at the Aerospace Technology Campus in Richmond to hear about his 3D printing project. It is a fine example of how technology can enrich the student learning experience and overcome instructional challenges.
Glen teaches a course in aircraft systems, and for him, a recent change in curriculum meant that his incoming students would have less experience and knowledge than was previously the case. Setting these students loose on the delicate, hard-to-access air conditioning systems in the hangar seemed suboptimal. How could students demonstrate their learning in an authentic way? Let’s hear more about the instructional context:
Having initially considered on-screen simulation approach, Glen turned to 3D printing, thinking it would create an authentic experience with the equipment for students. Unfortunately, the design-sharing platform Thingiverse did not have the needed specialized components, so it was up to him to do the designs himself. For that he turned to FreeCAD, a free downloadable program. Let’s hear Glen talk about his skill development:
Once satisfied with his design in FreeCAD, Glen had to convert his designs into a readable format called an STL file in order to set up the job for the printer. There were lessons learned here too.
The whole process involved some trial and error, but in the end, Glen has created a number of components that he hopes to reproduce for his course. The final products are very impressive. Let’s see how he went from creating relatively simple parts to more complex ones.
As we write this post, the project is still in process, but it is obvious that Glen put in a lot of hard work to move it forward. He also points out that the library’s role did not stop at making the 3D printer available at ATC.
This is one example of innovative instruction that is happening across BCIT. Has it inspired you to take on your own 3D printing project? Be sure to talk to Amy, Scott or Rafey at MediaWorks to get you started. You can also check out some of the resources the Library has on LinkedIn Learning and O’Reilly Online Learning, to learn more about 3D printing and the part it can play in your learning and teaching.