The Online Materials Education Symposium

Thursday, Sept 3, 2020 | 3 p.m.–5 p.m. BST, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. EDT, 7 a.m.–9 a.m. PDT

The Online Materials Education Symposium is a free event, designed to inspire and create discussion around online materials-related undergraduate teaching and to share best-practices.

Join us online to learn best-practices for remote teaching from our inspirational speakers. Ask questions and engage with these experts during the Q&A panel session.

Explore how computational techniques can be used to aid remote project work, including how to successfully support team-based projects remotely.

Topics include:

  • Online teaching pedagogy
  • Computational materials science and engineering
  • Team-based projects – preparing students to work in industry

Who should attend:

This event is relevant for academics in the following engineering fields:

  • Materials science and engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Aerospace engineering


Hosted and moderated by Ansys, the Online Materials Education Symposium will be joined by leading academics in materials education.

Host & Moderator: Marc Fry — Director of Education, Ansys Granta
Host: Dr. Kaitlin Tyler — Education Content Developer, Ansys Granta

  • Prof. Elizabeth Holm

    Prof. Elizabeth Holm

    Elizabeth A. Holm is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining CMU in 2012, she spent 20 years as a research scientist at Sandia National Laboratories. Her research areas include computational materials science at the atomic and mesoscale and the intersection between computer science and materials science. Dr. Holm obtained her B.S.E in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, S.M in Ceramics from MIT, and dual Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering and Scientific Computing from the University of Michigan. Dr. Holm has received several honors and awards, is a Fellow of ASM International and the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS), 2013 President of TMS, an organizer of numerous international conferences, and has been a member of the National Materials Advisory Board. Dr. Holm has authored or co-authored over 150 publications.

    Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    Carnegie Mellon University

  • Prof. Diran Apelian

    ANSYS Event Speaker 

    Diran Apelian is Distinguished Professor of MSE at the University of California, Irvine, Chief Strategy officer for the Samueli School of Engineering, and Director of the Advanced Casting Research Center. He is also Provost Emeritus and Founding Director of the Metal Processing Institute at WPI, Worcester, Mass. He received his B.S. degree in metallurgical engineering from Drexel University in 1968 and his doctorate in materials science and engineering from MIT in 1972. Apelian is a Fellow of TMS, ASM, and APMI; he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the European Academy of Sciences, and the Armenian Academy of Sciences. The 2016 Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering Education was awarded to WPI (Recipients: D. Apelian, K. Wobbe, A. Heinricher and R. Vaz). With his colleagues and students, he has founded 6 companies: Materials Strategies; Battery Resourcers; Melt Cognition; Kinetic Batteries, Solvus Ventures, and Solvus Global.

    Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    University of California, Irvine

  • Dr. Prith Banerjee

    Dr. Prith Banerjee

    Prith Banerjee is the Chief Technology Officer of Ansys where he is responsible for leading the evolution of Ansys’ Technology strategy and champion the company’s next phase of innovation and growth. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Cray, Inc. and Cubic Corporation. Previously he used to be Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry where he was responsible for IOT and Digital Transformation in the Global Industrial Practice. Formerly, he was Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer of Schneider Electric. Previously, he was Managing Director of Global Technology Research and Development at Accenture. Formerly, he was Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of ABB. Earlier, he was Senior Vice President of Research at HP and Director of HP Labs. Formerly, he was Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Formerly, he was the Walter P. Murphy Professor and Chairman of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northwestern University. Prior to that, he was Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2000, he founded AccelChip, a developer of products for electronic design automation, which was acquired by Xilinx Inc. in 2006. During 2005-2011, he was Founder, Chairman and Chief Scientist of BINACHIP Inc., a developer of products in electronic design automation. He was listed in the FastCompany list of 100 top business leaders in 2009. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM and IEEE, and a recipient of the 1996 ASEE Terman Award and the 1987 NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award. He received a B.Tech. in electronics engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana.

    Chief Technology Officer


  • Prof. Steve Yalisove

    Prof. Steve Yalisove

    Steve Yalisove obtained a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. After a post doc at Bell Laboratories, he joined the Michigan faculty in 1989. In 1996 he was a Fulbright scholar at the FOM institute in the Netherlands. He is currently the Associate Director of the Materials Laboratory at the Center for Ultrafast Optical Sciences at the University of Michigan. Yalisove’s current research focuses on understanding the relationships between atomic structure and materials properties at surfaces and interfaces in a wide variety of material systems. He has made important contributions to the fields of surface science, thin film growth, evolution of thin film morphology, and most recently, the interaction of high intensity femtosecond laser pulses and materials. Ultrafast laser/ material interaction is being studied in his group to understand the fundamental mechanisms which drive ablation and collateral damage. His work focuses on the modification and material removal processes in metals, semiconductors and ceramics as well as organic materials including graphene and carbon nanotubes. Yalisove uses a variety of characterization techniques including pump-probe ultrafast microscopy, femtosecond Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (fsLIBS), dual pulse LIBS, optical and scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and a variety of in-situ probes. Recently his group discovered a novel approach to nano and micro fluidic channel manufacturing using ultrafast lasers. Additionally, his group has been investigating the role that fs lasers can play in modification of interfaces for joining materials. A recent discovery of non-thermal point defect injection mechanisms (well below the melt threshold) offer a novel approach for doping materials and fabrication of unique sensors. His group is also studying how short intense pulses of light can alter the electronic structure of a material where long lived events can be generated. His group is also using still higher fluence to induce shock waves and push materials into extreme states for creating materials that would not exist otherwise. He is also very interested in revolutionizing engineering education.

    Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    University of Michigan

  • Prof. Gillian Saunders

    Prof. Gillian Saunders

    Gillian Saunders-Smits is an Associate Professor in Aerospace Structures and Materials at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands specializing in Engineering Education. She has been teaching Research Methodologies to Aerospace Engineers MSc students for more than 10 years as well as the edX MOOC Introduction to Aerospace Structures and Materials. She has taught many mechanics courses and design projects and served as project education coordinator, MSc track coordinator for Aerospace Structures and Materials as well as online education coordinator for aerospace. She is also a member of the SEFI Board of Directors. She received her MSc and PhD from Delft University of Technology in 1998 and 2008, respectively. Her current research focus is on competencies and skills in engineering education.

    Aerospace Engineering

    TU Delft


3:00 p.m.

Welcome (Marc Fry and Kaitlin Tyler, Ansys)Welcome and Introduction (Kaitlin Tyler, Ansys and Symposia Academic Adivsory Chairs)

3:10 p.m.

Virtual computational materials science team projects: A case study

Prof. Elizabeth Holm, Carnegie Mellon

Computational materials science seems ideally suited for online learning. The same computer that delivers the content is also the communication channel, learning resource, and research laboratory instrument. That said, computational projects entail the same challenges for engaging and managing virtual teams as conventional, lab-based projects. At CMU, a summer undergraduate research program in computational materials science has been offered under the NextGen Fellowship program, supported by NSF grant CMMI-1826218. In the NextGen model, a team of four or five undergraduate students address a materials research problem using the tools of data science and machine learning. Educational opportunities are a significant facet of the program, incorporating classroom lectures, hands-on tutorials, and research seminars. The students also practice team-building skills with each other, and communication skills with external collaborators. Our experience with transitioning this program to online delivery will be presented, along with program aspects that the students found especially effective.

3:25 p.m.

A New Paradigm for Graduate Education in MSE

Prof. Diran Apelian, University of California, Irvine

The facts speak for themselves. More and more of our engineering graduates (about 70-74%) are placed in industry, and yet the educational experience that most engineering students receive, particularly at the graduate level, is often abstracted from real life and isolated from industrial problems. Engineering as taught today is not multidisciplinary in nature; students do not benefit from industrial exposure and many of the faculty members who teach and mentor our students have not had industrial experience. Moreover, we, as a pivotal engineering profession (MSE) are losing an opportunity by not attracting talent from sectors of our society not typically well represented in engineering, such as women and underrepresented minorities. To work effectively in the 21st century, engineers must understand the rudiments of business and be able to navigate and speak the language of the business world. They must have hands-on experience and be educated within the framework of theory and practice. Toward that end, student projects should be rooted in relevant and real industrial problems rather than esoteric theoretical topics. Finally, they must have a global emotional intelligence and excel in both oral and written communications. Thoughts on the development and implementation of such a paradigm in MSE graduate education will be presented and discussed.

3:40 p.m.

Grand Challenge: Providing Access To High Quality Engineering Education And Simulation Tools To 10 Million Stem Students On The Planet

Dr. Prith Banerjee, Ansys

Digital transformation is impacting every industry - automotive, agriculture, logistics, healthcare and manufacturing, to name a few. Concurrently, digital technologies are increasingly being used in high schools, colleges and universities for in-person and remote learning. While, in the past, STEM education coupled classroom lectures with experiments in physical laboratories, in the future, lectures will be a blend of brick and mortar classroom teaching augmented by online courses from sites like Coursera, and EduX. Laboratory experiments, workshop projects and physical prototyping will be complemented by simulation and software based experiential learning. While engineering simulation tools such as ANSYS Mechanical or ANSYS Fluent are extremely accurate and capable of detailed modeling, they are not as easy to use, particularly for undergraduate or high school students. Hence, ANSYS has developed a simulation tool called ANSYS Discovery that introduces designers and undergraduate students to the art of simulation and allows them to create concepts leading to designs, as well as perform design space exploration of complex designs. Ansys Discovery provides a level of usability and accessibility to early learners similar to what the Materials Science community has been used to with the Granta EduPack teaching software. While the simulation tools in the past were generally restricted to run on engineering workstations, on powerful personal computers, or on university servers, in the future, these tools will run on the Cloud. We are enabling Discovery on the ANSYS Cloud, powered by Microsoft Azure, allowing access to a much broader community than in the past. While high quality engineering education has typically been restricted to a few select universities or colleges able to afford to the best faculty and engineering laboratories, the future digital learning system (online courses with simulation tools provided on the cloud) will allow students around the world to be trained in the most complex engineering disciplines. Online instruction and pervasive access to simulation tools will be augmented with access to content and resources. In this talk, we will describe this future and give you a glimpse of how the ANSYS Academic Program is planning to meet the evolving needs of the many millions of engineering and STEM students on the planet by providing educators and students with high quality education assets and simulation tools accessible to everyone.

3:55 p.m.


4:00 p.m.

Moving the camera:  COVID-19:  A rare chance to revolutionize education

Prof. Steve Yalisove, University of Michigan

We are all facing multiple crises with COVID-19.  Besides concern of the virus itself, we are being asked to deliver, or be prepared to deliver our curriculum in a remote delivery mode, with only one summer of preparation.  What makes this even harder is that the vast majority of educators believe that online education is significantly poorer than in-person education.  In fact, the tools and approach of most of the current online education is to emulate the lecture, but do it online.  This talk will discuss the opportunity in this abyss.  It will begin with rejecting the notion that online education should emulate the lecture.  Instead, we need to tap into the most significant resource that our education system has largely ignored - the students.  If we instead adopt an online team based/project based approach by rejecting the lecture we may be able to educate our educators in the methods of crowd sourced learning.  This is not unlike what happened in Hollywood 30 years after the invention of movies.  It took that long to realize that the genre was much more than setting up the camera in front of a stage and filming a play.  You could actually move the camera and get results that were impossible in the past.  This is what we need to do with online education.  We need to move the camera and take advantage of the technology as well as our students as we navigate our current crisis.  Examples will be presented to show what might be possible with tools like Zoom, CATME, Perusall, Learning Catalytics, and other technology tools that enable collaborative learning at a distance and de-emphasize our traditional stand and deliver methods.

4:15 p.m

Online Teaching can be more than Talking Heads – Materials Experiments in a MOOC

Prof. Gillian Saunders, TU Delft

When Covid-19 forced many lecturers to switch to online teaching, many of us were forced due to time-constraints to simply record their lectures from their own home even though their in-class teaching would be much more active. As online teaching is likely to remain as a feature of Higher Education for now, we must look at making online teaching more active.
This talk will highlight best practices in active learning from the edX MOOC Introduction to Aerospace Structures and Materials as delivered by TU Delft. A virtual lecturer - Mrs Hannah Hypothesis - was introduced who talked learners through easily repeatable material and structures experiments, using materials from in and around their own home. In addition, learners were asked to create their own basic aerospace structures and materials designs in their weekly assignments. And, if she can be so persuaded, Mrs. Hannah Hypothesis may even make a special appearance!

4:30 p.m.

Panel Discussion

Elizabeth, Diran, Gillian, Prith, Steve

4:55 p.m.

Wrap up (Kaitlin Tyler, Ansys)