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Conquering a Grand Challenge: Provide STEM Students with a High-Quality Engineering Education and Next-Gen Simulation Tools

As many of the world’s students return to school now, more than 100 countries have kept the doors of high schools, colleges and universities shut to contain the global pandemic, instead pivoting to remote learning.

STEM student using engineering simulation tools

For engineering students, this move marked a striking departure from the previous status quo, in which STEM education coupled brick and mortar classroom learning with physical laboratory experiments.

How will physics education pivot after COVID-19? Many engineering students will return to physical classroom instruction, augmented by online courses. Physical lab experiments will be replaced with software-based experiential learning and online simulations that mirror reality.

Alternatively, millions of other STEM students — from big cities in America to remote villages in India — who cannot physically attend an academic institution will solely rely on remote learning and engineering simulation. This creates a grand challenge for obtaining a high-quality engineering education.

Another key challenge — STEM students must become proficient engineering simulation users, enabling them to immediately contribute to future workplaces where simulation is pervasive.

The Ansys Academic Program solves these issues and meets STEM students’ evolving needs by providing high-quality education assets such as Ansys Innovation Courses, an on-demand, physics-based curricula that reinforces physics concepts with cutting-edge Ansys simulations. The program also provides easily accessible simulation tools including Ansys Discovery, a next-generation user-friendly product design simulation solution.

Ansys Discovery user interface

Using Simulation Software to Educate STEM Students

Immediately upon graduation, many engineers are unable to apply the theoretical physics knowledge they gained in college to solve real-world physics-based problems. Engineers require simplified and focused training that enables them to hit the ground running with their new employer, rapidly develop innovative products and be adept in their roles.

This high-quality engineering education has typically been restricted to a few select universities and colleges that are equipped with world-renowned faculty and laboratories. Only through digital learning can this training be scaled and accessible to everyone.

Ansys Innovation Courses, a free, online, cloud-based on-demand program, reimagines how anyone — from high school students to early-career engineers — learns physics principles. Providing a comprehensive and cutting-edge educational experience, the curricula incorporates real-world high-fidelity simulation case studies within physics theory short courses, empowering students to visualize and master complicated physics concepts.

Ansys Innovation Courses homepage

Featuring dozens of courses that span multiple physics topics — including fluids, structures, electromagnetics, electronics, STEM and more — students learn from Ansys engineering simulation experts that possess years of practical experience solving the toughest engineering problems for numerous industries including automotive, health care, aerospace and many others. And the learning doesn’t stop with the online lectures — students can download informative handouts and complete homework, tutorials and quizzes to reinforce key concepts.

In addition to substantial Ansys content, Ansys Innovation Courses also integrate several courses from Ansys’ academic partners, including Cornell University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC).

Learning Simulation Launches Engineering Careers

Engineering simulation tools such as Ansys Mechanical and Ansys Fluent are extremely accurate and capable of detailed modeling. However, the software is very advanced — particularly for undergraduate and high school students — requiring users to select from 1,000 different parameter settings to run the software most effectively. What if this complex task could be simplified?

Introducing early learners and undergraduate students to the art of simulation, Ansys Discovery radically shrinks the simulation learning curve by delivering a highly accessible and intuitive experience, empowering users to create design concepts and perform real-time, rapid iterative design exploration. 

And while large simulation tools could previously only run on powerful engineering workstations or on university servers, soon, Discovery will run on Ansys Cloud, powered by Microsoft Azure. This will level the playing field, equipping a much broader community with simulation access — even to students based in remote villages around the world.

To learn more about the topics discussed here, check out the on-demand replay of Ansys’ Online Materials Education Symposium.