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Dartmouth Engineering Expands Use of Design Software

The Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College is now using design software as part of its undergraduate core curriculum, as well as for graduate and doctoral research.

SolidWorks is 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software from Dassault Systèmes. Dartmouth's school of engineering, one of the oldest in the country, standardized on SolidWorks five years ago in part because it was easy to learn and use.

"It's important to provide an environment that is fun and exciting, and design tools that facilitate problem-based experiential learning," said Solomon G. Diamond, associate professor of engineering at Dartmouth, in a prepared statement. "SolidWorks is a vital part of our students' learning experience. Because of our approach, students don't have much time to be trained on design software, so the short learning curve of SolidWorks is critical for students to undergo an innovation process that's similar to industry."

With this expansion, Dartmouth is now teaching Solidworks as part of the core curriculum for all engineering majors and integrating it into more courses and research programs at all levels. Even non-engineering majors receive training in SolidWorks through the college's Introduction to Engineering course, which is open to all Dartmouth students.

According to information from the company, the students are taught engineering principles of analysis, experimentation and design, and then they use SolidWorks to solve real-world engineering problems by identifying and studying the problem in the field, proposing solutions, building prototypes, testing and refining their solution and presenting their recommendations to a panel of faculty members. Meanwhile, doctoral students and Dartmouth's Multimodal Neuroimaging Laboratory have used SolidWorks to create a magnetically shielded room to conduct noninvasive studies of human brain function.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at

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