Bringing Industry to Academia

By youheng.dong

After Covid-19, many habits like remote learning have been sustained. Most students and teachers prefer a hybrid course format for large engineering classes compared to the traditional, in-person setting.

How can students use modern-day software like NX to facilitate learning? How does a hybrid teaching style help students learn more efficiently than in a traditional format? What tools and resources can help educators improve their current teaching systems? What path is engineering veering toward in the next 5 years?

On this episode, our host Shannon O’Donnell sits down with our guest, Kathy Stevenson, a senior academic teaching specialist in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Michigan State University. 

Transition from Industry to Academia

Kathy has a  Bachelor’s in Product Design and Development from Eastern Michigan University. Her professional experience includes powertrain and senior chassis design, 3D rapid prototyping, and curriculum development. Currently, she teaches basic and advanced NX computer-aided design courses. 

As a young professional, Kathy entered a male-dominated field around the late 1980s. As the only woman on the design team, it was a challenging time to work in such a working environment. Fortunately, modern-day industry environments have changed, and Kathy has prepared new graduates for a smooth transition from academia to industry. 

Kathy transitioned to an opportunity to teach at a community college after having her daughters, her time off coincided with  the auto-crisis. Having worked in both industry and academia, Kathy believes it’s as essential for students to collaborate on projects as they would in the real world. 

MSU’s Academic Partnership with Siemens

Kathy works closely with the Siemens NX team to improve NX to work smarter and not harder. Kathy’s students can join the Siemens NX Student Days, hear from industry professionals, and learn about NX’s full capabilities. Students’ reflection essays share how attending the webinars might impact their careers. 

Quote: So, I’d like them to stay engaged with experts from the industry and what Siemens is doing. – Kathy Stevenson

Innovative Curriculum and Teaching Style

Kathy uses three things to help her students learn NX software:

  • A course management system.
  • An online course through Tata technologies.
  • A T-Drive where they can access and follow along with exercises or tutorials on their local servers.

Through those tools and techniques, Kathy can efficiently help students at all levels and learn at their own pace. Kathy believes students learn best in the hybrid style, making short tutorial-type learning materials easily accessible so students can watch independently. Pacing out projects and assessments, she is able to assess students’ incremental learning improvements and progress.

Innovation in the Classroom Podcast Podcast

Innovation in the Classroom Podcast

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/podcasts/innovation-in-the-classroom/bringing-industry-to-academia/