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How To: Structure a Digital Engineering Course

How To: Structure a Digital Engineering Course

Have you thought about taking a course in digital engineering? Perhaps you want to up-skill the knowledge of yourself or your colleagues? Or improve the course offerings of your institution?

Education around “digital engineering” is often too vague, or too overwhelming. Great courses strike a balance between technical understanding and practical, business applications, but with so much to cover, you may not know where to start. That’s why we’re sharing how we structured our Digital Engineering course at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

We believe educating emerging engineers on the practical, business applications of digital engineering within the industry is imperative to their success.

When organisations leverage their industry knowledge and network, they can empower the next generation of leaders in a way that can’t be achieved with theory alone.

In June this year, RedEye ran a course on Digital Engineering for final year engineering students at UNLV. The course was delivered by our Las Vegas team, and divided into three key areas:

  1. How We Got Here:
    • drawing and document standards, BIM processes, case studies on digital twins
  2. Digital Engineering Standards:
    • workflow management, the importance of operations & maintenance, field management  
  3. The Future:
    • project management and digital engineering, software platforms to use professionally, process design using digital engineering

You can read about the vision and origins of the course here, or get in touch at david.shaw@redeye.co for a complete course outline and other material.

Here’s what we covered:

 

Week One Outline:

  1. What Is Digital Engineering?
    • History of engineering processes – from paper, mainframes, internet, cloud, to BIM 
  1. BIM Overview
    • 6 dimensions of BIM
    • 4 maturity levels of BIM
  1. Digital Twin Case Studies
    • Group work: review a case study, prepare a short presentation, deliver it to the class (3min presentation)
    • Case studies around Digital Twin rollouts and lessons learned globally
  1. Drawing and Document Standards
    • Deep-dive into standards and best practice
    • Lessons learned through RedEye
  1. BIM Software Packages
    • Review into the 10 genre’s / types of BIM software solutions
    • Videos, case studies, or worked examples for one solution in each genre

 

Week Two Outline:

  1. RedEyeDMS
    • Bucket administrator training for all students
  1. Digital Engineering Standards: Case Studies
    • Similar to #3 Digital Twin case studies
    • Focus on more technical frameworks and standards 
    • Providing context for Assessment #3
  1. Workflow & Business Process Design
    • Explain the business process aka workflow, and its importance 
    • How digital engineering is revolutionizing this process 
  1. Project Management & Digital Engineering
    • How will project management be impacted by digital engineering?

 

Week Two Assessment
  • Assessment One: Essay on BIM in the USA
    • Whilst BIM is being adopted globally, its use is more sporadic in the USA
    • This essay was designed to encourage the students to become more familiar with BIM ‘in their own backyard’
  • Assessment Two: Report on the Practical Use of BIM Software
    • The end of week one, and the start of week two, involved examples of, and hands-on use of, software tools.
    • Students are provided a fictional scenario with a business problem to solve, similar to what engineers encounter in the real world and based on RedEye’s knowledge of common industry problems. Students then have to download and explore several freely available tools, and then justify which would be the most appropriate to purchase as a solution.

 

Week Three Outline:

  1. Case Study: WaterStart Guest Lecture 
    • Guest Lecturer – Kevin Fisher
    • Providing insight from 30+ years in the industry
    • Focus on applications for IoT and Big Data in the water sector
    • Connected a number of previous teaching points from the course: workflow, business process, AMI, IoT, etc. 
  1. Case Study: Southern Nevada Water Authority Guest Lecture 
    • Guest Lecturer – Greg Kodweis
    • Providing local insight, LVVWD/SNWA over 30+ years in the utility sector
    • Focus on the history of engineering, and where it is going into the future
    • Cyber-security and impact of change management
  1. Digital Transformation & Change Management
    • Why is change management important?
    • How can engineers effectively communication in the modern workplace?
    • Digital considerations: User Acceptance Testing (UAT), Training, CS
    • Worked activity: simulate the rollout of new enterprise software
  1. Digital Engineering Tools
    • GIS
    • Commissioning
    • Point Cloud Data
    • Mobile Work Management (including WFM worked demo)
  1. Review and Final Quiz
    • Review of all the content that had been covered
    • Supply contact details for guest lecturers and RedEye staff
    • Final quiz – one hour, 22 questions 

 

Week Three Assessment:
  • Assessment #3: Digital Engineering Framework
    • Designed to encapsulate all work completed in course thus far, drawing on the students’ newfound knowledge. 
    • The task simulated working for the City of Las Vegas, where the students had to produce a framework for the city’s digital transformation. 
    • This required the students to apply the knowledge and techniques learned, and building a coherent deployment schedule for a real-world municipality. 
    • Included risk assessment, change management considerations, and recommendations on hardware, software, and focus areas. 
  • Assessment #4: Final Quiz
    • The majority of questions were short-response, testing the student’s ability to practically apply knowledge, or demonstrate comprehensive understanding. 
    • One hour, completed on paper (we even talked about how paper was the preferred option to ensure security, and how digital wasn’t a solution in this scenario). 

 

Key Lessons:

  • Don’t assume students have a detailed appreciation of any software packages – whilst they use some of the basics (AutoCAD, Revit, SolidWorks)

 

If you’re interested in collaborating with RedEye or if you have a question for one of our digital engineering experts, get in touch! Start the conversation with Dave Shaw at david.shaw@redeye.co

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