Feb 25, 2016 | By Kira

3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker, the University of Illinois, and Coursera, an online education platform, have formed a wide-reaching, strategic partnership to further 3D printing education for learners around the world. The first aspect of this partnership is a series of free online classes about 3D printing, wich will be open and accessible to learners located practically anywhere via the Coursera platform. In addition, Ultimaker has agreed to equip the Illinois MakerLab with 17 new Ultimaker 3D printers, and it is sponsoring “Free Print Wednesdays,” an initiative at the MakerLab that will give Illinois students the opportunity to experience 3D printing hands-on.

A growing number of prestigious universities from around the world are partnering with online educational platforms, breaking down the barriers of access to education by providing lectures, talks, and even group projects to learners who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them or travel to the university itself. These Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) embrace the spirit of universal open access, interactive learning, and are often entirely free (though most charge for specializations or accredited certification.)

Coursera is one of the most recognized of these online educational platforms, and has partnerships with such distinguished universities as Stanford, Princeton, the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, offering classes in everything from physics, engineering, medicine, business and computer science.

Now, thanks to a strategic partnership between Ultimaker and the University of Illinois, Coursera members from around the world will be now be able to earn an online specialization in 3D printing, one of the most in-demand areas of knowledge right now, and one that will likely soon be essential for the next generation of scientists, engineers, manufacturers, doctors and designers.

The online specialization consists of four cohesive courses that cover a wide scope of 3D printing fundamentals. These include:

  • 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

At the end of the course, learners will be able to complete a hands-on capstone project, combining everything they’ve learned to date to solve a real-world problem. Though Coursera does provide the option to pay a fee to join the “signature track” or to receive certificates at the end, all courses are at least accessible free of charge.

Illinois MakerLab co-founder Aric Rindsfleich teaches an existing Coursera lesson called : "Digital Concept: 3D Printing"

The educational collaboration with Coursera is just one aspect of a wider, strategic partnership between Ultimaker and the University of Illinois. In addition to announcing this new course, Ultimaker has also equipped the Illinois MakerLab with 17 new Ultimaker 3D printers, to add to its collection of 16+ MakerBot Replicator 2 desktop 3D printers, 3D design software, and 3D scanning devices. The Illinois MakerLab, co-founded in 2013 by Dr. Aric Rindfleisch and Dr. Vishal Sachdev, is the world’s first 3D printing lab inside a business school, and strives to provide faculty and students with the knowledge and resources to be at the forefront of the emerging maker movement. This is done through hands-on courses and workshops, and will now be furthered thanks to the Ultimaker-sponsered “Free Print Wednesdays” initiative, launched as a celebration of this new partnership.

Nora Benson, a junior from Chicago majoring in engineering, displays a prosthetic hand created at the Illinois MakerLab.

“The University of Illinois and the Illinois MakerLab are delighted to be partnering with Ultimaker on this innovative new online program on 3D printing,” said Aric Rindfleisch, executive director of the Illinois MakerLab. “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.”

“Ultimaker’s vision is to make 3D printing accessible to all and has been reflected in our open source printers and community inspired collaborations,” added Siert Wijnia, CTO and founder of Ultimaker. “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.”

This exciting pedagogic partnership highlights two of the biggest trends in education right now: MOOC-learning and open access education (popularly expressed by the motto “if it’s free, get the degree!”), and the huge push towards furthering education in STEM-related fields, including 3D printing and digital manufacturing, from K-12 right on up to University levels. By breaking down the barriers to access, these initiatives are providing students today with the skills they’ll need for tomorrow, and forming the next generation of scientists, engineers, and big-thinkers that will shape our world.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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