Online Digital Manufacturing Classes Coming Soon

Dec. 15, 2015
DMDII partners with Coursera to help train and expand the future manufacturing workforce.

For years now there has been lots of discussion—and action—around promoting STEM careers and generally boosting the idea of getting kids interested in an industrial career of one sort or another. Though major strides have been made in this area, few would say there isn’t much work that remains to be done. The reason: Technically oriented young people still tend to gravitate more toward consumer technology companies when thinking about careers.

To help boost the idea of a career in manufacturing’s digital future, the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) has announced the availability of up to $500,000 in project funding to solicit proposals for the creation of a Digital Manufacturing and Design “Specialization” via a suite of online courses that lead to a certificate upon completion. To make these courses widely available, DMDII has developed a partnership with Coursera, the largest provider of open online courses with over 16 million registered learners worldwide. Coursera will provide the platform for these specialization courses.

The target audience for these Digital Manufacturing and Design (DMD) courses are students and existing engineers. “This specialization will serve as the premier information tool for students and the current workforce looking to better understand digital manufacturing,” says Dr. Dean Bartles, chief manufacturing officer at UI Labs and executive director of DMDII.

This project call for the DMD courses is part of a workforce development strategy endorsed by DMDII’s Workforce Development Advisory Committee, comprised of industry, academic, and government experts, as well as the Boston Consulting Group, and is intended to recruit subject matter experts at top universities and manufacturing companies to develop courses for the Coursera platform.

As currently envisioned, the DMD Specialization will contain a targeted sequence of up to nine courses, and include 20 to 40 hours of lecture as well as student progress evaluation components. Bartles notes that course topics may include “Introduction to Digital Manufacturing & Design,” “Introduction to the Digital Thread,” and a focus on DMDII’s three research areas: Advanced Analysis, Intelligent Machining, and Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise.

DMDII will hold a project call workshop available on January 14, 2016, to address project applicant questions and begin formation of project teams. Once applications are submitted, selections will be reviewed and subject to approval, with course offerings slated to come online in late 2016 or early 2017. The project call is open to all applicants, with membership in both DMDII and Coursera required upon being selected.

Complete information about the call for proposals, submission requirements, and workshop logistics are available at

In related news, Dr. Dean Bartles will be one of the keynote speakers at The Automation Conference in Chicago, May 24-25. For more information and to register, please visit