Thriving in the Academic Year with Autodesk’s Educator Resources

Simon Leigh
Simon Leigh October 19, 2022 3 min read
Instructor at front of classroom in front of Fusion 360 students at the Nihon Kogakuin College of Hachioji in Tokyo, Japan.
Fusion 360 students at the Nihon Kogakuin College of Hachioji in Tokyo, Japan.

With the academic year well underway, there are some universal concerns for educators, whether you’re teaching a term, a semester, or a session at a university, community college, high school or secondary school: Making sure that lessons are planned and organized, checking that all classroom technology and software is installed and working, keeping your learning management system up-to-date, and finally, hoping that your students engage with your learning material and enjoy your classes. That’s a lot to deal with and still only a fraction of what you need to think about before you even get to the actual teaching.

I want to give educators a quick reminder about all the things Autodesk can help with at this crucial period on the academic calendar, so that both you and your students don’t just survive, but thrive this year. Gaining access to Autodesk’s full software catalog couldn’t be easier; visit our education software page to get started on accessing the software for yourself and your students for free.

I recently joined Autodesk’s Education team to oversee Education Strategy and work with educators to understand how to better support them in delivering their classes and courses. Before joining Autodesk, I lectured in Engineering at the University of Warwick in the UK. I taught at all levels of the four-year Mechanical Engineering program, as well as on the Electromechanical Degree Apprenticeship. I think it’s fair to say that I equally looked forward to and worried about the start of a new academic year. Above all, I wanted to make sure everything went well, and that my students enjoyed their classes.

Future-compatible design and manufacturing: Fusion 360

Whether you teach a four-year Mechanical Engineering program, a two-year vocational program, career technical education, or secondary education, Fusion 360 is a powerful end-to-end industrial CAD, CAM, and CAE tool that—like our other software—is completely free for all eligible educators and students. In Fusion 360 you can take students from the fundamentals of 2D and 3D design to design validation with extensive simulation tools; communication with 3D rendering, animations, and 2D drawings; and finishing with manufacturing by 3D printing, 2D cutting, and 3D CAM/machining capabilities. There are also lots of advanced but approachable tools like generative design, injection molding simulation, and CNC machine simulation—all for free to eligible educators and students. Every year I really looked forward to teaching 300+ new students engineering design fundamentals using Fusion 360, as well as using it with students on project-based learning.

Fusion 360 works on both Windows and macOS computers, and its data is cloud-based; all your students’ files are available on any device. Extensive collaboration capabilities in Fusion also mean that students can work together on projects easily. As an educator you can jump right into their project from your own device and assist them if they get stuck—something I found really useful, especially when working remotely. When students can’t access a Windows or macOS computer, the Fusion app for mobile devices, or the Fusion web app that runs in a browser on Chromebooks can fill in.

Free Fusion 360 software and resources

To help you start using Fusion in your courses, we offer extensive, free-to-use learning pathways and courses for your programs. I recommend checking out “Learn Fusion 360 in 90 Minutes” as a great place to start for both you and your students.

And if you’d like inspirational projects to try with your students, I recommend checking out Instructables and the fun cross-curricular Fusion 360 projects made by teachers like you!

Another great resource, the Fusion 360 Educator Forum, lets you see how other educators use the software and check out additional support posts. Autodesk staff regularly peruse this forum and often jump in to help educators and offer advice. Our Student Group Hub hosts students talking to each other for peer-to-peer support, learning about the latest industry trends, and showcasing their work.

Finally, if you’re new to Autodesk software, sign up for a fully-funded training session with one of our Learning Partners. They can help deliver learning experiences on campus or in the classroom, help you to develop student and educator curriculum, and assist you in adopting Autodesk products at your educational institution.