CAD Education Curricula in Product Design: The Case of De Montfort University, UK

Sung, Kyungeun
Rowan, N.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
CAD Solutions, LLC
Peer reviewed
Computer Aided Design (CAD) has become one of the essential parts of design education (especially product design) in higher education (HE). Although CAD can be defined broadly as the use of computer systems (i.e. hardware and software to perform specialized design functions) to assist in the creation, modification, analysis or optimization of a design, it is often used to refer to the process in which mathematically precise geometrical descriptions of physical objects can be created. CAD education in HE, therefore, typically entails teaching parametric modelling software programmes such as SolidWorks, SolidEdge, TFlex or BricsCAD. Such software programmes enable (product) design students and practitioners to translate sketches into precise CAD models that can be refined, developed and tested in a virtual environment and generate fully-defined technical drawings for global manufacture. As the use of CAD reduces the amount of physical model making (e.g. in order to produce a working representation of a semi-final product) for decision making in industrial design process, CAD increases production efficiency (by reducing resources and therefore cost) from the industrial and market-driven standpoint. Proficiency in CAD, therefore, is required especially for product design graduates to be employable (by meeting industry-level design expectations that emphasise production). British Industrial Design Association’s (BIDA) student employability survey in 2017 also emphasised that CAD abilities is one of the key aspects that recruiters are looking for (along with good design process, sketching, strong sensitivity for user experience, CMF – colour, material and finishing – and latest trends and technologies). Despite such importance, research on CAD education in HE in the context of product development is still in its infant stage. The existing research has focused predominantly on theoretical discussions and high-level suggestions for CAD education in HE (e.g. from CAD education towards CAx education, frameworks for general support, role of CAD in training engineers, strategies for the transition to CAD-based education). Relatively little attention has been paid to practical implementation of CAD education. Even when practical implementation experiences in actual courses were described, the studies were based mostly on mechanical engineering. Reports on the implemented CAD education curricula from product design perspectives are largely missing. This paper, therefore, aims to provide one such case in order to provide the status quo of CAD education curricula in product design in the UK.
CAD, curriculum development, product design, education, SolidWorks, KeyShot, higher education
Sung, K. and Rowan, N. (2018) CAD Education Curricula in Product Design: The Case of De Montfort University, UK, Proceedings of CAD'18, Paris, France, pp. 81-85
Research Institute
Institute of Art and Design