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ASCENT’s New Courseware Materials

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Twenty or so years ago, software programs were developing as the manuals were being written, and often the latest updates in the software didn’t make their way into the final manual. This opened the door for magazines providing software training, and physical classes. Since then, the internet, YouTube and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have increased the opportunity for technology education several fold. Training guides are still valuable learning resources, however, and ASCENT now offers videos inside the guides of various exercises.

Jennifer MacMillan, ASCENT, Instructional Design Projects Manager, talked about the trends and latest instructional curriculum offered by ASCENT. As the traditional instructor-led training is definitely in decline, the need for other types of learning opportunities abound.

“At ASCENT, we definitely feel there is room for both types of learning,” said MacMillan. “The instructor-led side of things absolutely has to occur to set the foundation for learning. As you start to develop the skills you need, you can rely on YouTube and on your peers to learn more. Understanding of high-level strategies is much easier once you’ve learned the basics. Definitely that self-paced learning is what you’re seeing.”

The biggest focus for ASCENT right now is around Autodesk Fusion 360’s curriculum.

“Many are not given the opportunity to go off and take a five-day training class,” said MacMillan. “They’re expected to hit the ground running with new projects all the time. Even if they run into a new software, they still have to get that project done. There’s no room to let that slip.”

In terms of ASCENT’s latest software offering with the Fusion 360 training guide, Fusion 360 is new within the last few years.

“What we found when we started to investigate this software product was there was tons of learning online, such as YouTube,” said MacMillan. “Even Autodesk released tons of learning that was video based, but everything was not at that foundational basic level. It assumed you had those skills. So, we asked, where do users get that skill? We wanted to fill that void with our training guides, because we felt that foundation was absolutely missing in terms of what was available online.”

Considering the fact that students can’t get away from the office for very long, ASCENT developed the Fusion 360 Guide. Fusion 360 is an easy-to-use software product from Autodesk. The book is self-paced so the student can purchase the book, and the training guide and work at their own pace. There is a lot of video content included inside the online training guide so students can learn from that.

“We’ve also found in our most recent training guide, often times the exercises we go through in the book are very focused on this or that task,” said MacMillan. “We felt there was a need to bring all the tasks and requirements together in project-based projects. We did that in the latest training guide, the Sculpting Training guide, where we also included videos. That’s the first time we’ve done that, including videos of the exercises. In the past, videos were always of the learning content and then you used those skills to do the exercises on your own. If you got lost, the only reference you had was going back to the learning content again. But with this latest training guide, it was complex enough that for these projects that we actually embedded some videos so that if a student got lost, they could watch these videos to figure out what was going on.”

Each chapter starts with objectives and what you will learn in each chapter, and then there’s a set of review questions, to be sure students have learned the objectives and content for the chapter.

Students can go to the e-store or go to Amazon and buy it. In ASCENT’s online learning portal, there would be a certification of completion at the end of that course.

The content is designed for people with different learning styles. Some people want it shown to them in video, some people want to read content. Some people want to go straight to the exercise and by trial and error try to figure it out themselves, or go back to resources as they make mistakes or as they need to. “Everyone’s style is completely different and that book has something for everyone,” said MacMillan.

The Autodesk Fusion 360: Introduction to Parametric Modeling book is a foundation book, including the interface and basics of working with parametric modeling. The one introduced prior to AU is one step up above the fundamentals. However, if someone is only working in that environment, that book is standalone as well. It would provide them with foundations if they were doing freeform organic modeling.

ASCENT is very much involved with Autodesk so they have access to their beta programs and beta software prior to release. By working with Autodesk’s developers and product teams they can learn the software and get a head start on building the books and materials before the software is actually released.

Courseware materials in the works include manufacturing and Inventor HSM. On the architectural side, the Autodesk Advance Steel 2018: Fundamentals book is due to release in early February, dealing with the Advance Steel product that Autodesk released.

Everything is in print. Purchases can be made through ASCENT’s e-store, Amazon or through ASCENT. You can purchase an online license to get into the learning portal, you can also purchase everything as an e-book, which gives you an access on your computer, not a PDF, but through a proprietary e-book provider.

Make a Difference with BIM: Interview with IMAGINiT

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

In an interview with Joe Eichenseer, Building Solutions Team Manager of IMAGINiT, he talked about current trends in BIM and what people want from the technology these days.

Apple building in Cupertino

JE: From our perspective, we’re seeing more people moving toward trying to do more with the model, whether through information and analytics or taking it into fabrication. There is a large acceptance of BIM in the design and engineering community, and to some extent in the construction side. The question is, how can we get more, because the cost of software and business isn’t going to go away. People want to know what can we do to become that much more efficient and stand out from the crowd in our use and application of BIM philosophies in the design, engineering and construction world.

AECCafe Voice: Have you seen or implemented any really groundbreaking application of that among your clients?

JE: What we’re really focusing on is the incremental improvements. In some cases, it might be taking someone a couple of steps beyond where they were before. With the application or use of BIM with residential home construction, single family homes, we’re working with various home builders to make that transition so they can get into the whole VR side of things. They can show prospective buyers what that home is really like with whatever materials and finishes they have inside the rooms. We want to bring that industry forward, which is traditionally the last to come through because of the nature of the design and construction market.

We’re taking the analytics we can extract from the Revit project or collection of Revit projects using our CLARITY software. We’re getting people to understand where the true technological bottlenecks are inside the company. And if you are a BIM manager or a BIM coordinator, how can we better guide your vision to those things that actually make a difference in your business?
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AECCafe Predictions for 2018

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Happy New Year!

Approaching a new year, the technologies that we saw growing during 2017 may unfold into 2018 to become realized with deeper understanding.

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AECCafe Technology Gift Guide 2017

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Gift Guides abound this time of year, but gifts are only as good as their on-the-job usefulness. What would make your job easier, provide more accuracy and save time and money?

From hardware to services to gadgetry, the AECCafe Technology Gift Guide includes items and services you may want to buy for yourself, plus a couple of gadgets loved ones may be able to buy for you, plus some you may just envision in your wildest dreams!

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AECCafe Editorial Calendar 2018

Friday, November 24th, 2017

AECCafe

Editorial Calendar 2018*

The Philharmonic Hall of Szczecin by Barozzi / Veiga. Photo © Simon Menges.

 January:

Editorial topics:

  • Trends and Predictions for 2018
  • Are We Getting Closer to Compatibility?

February:

2/4-2/7 Solidworks 2018

Editorial topics:

  • Solidworks for AEC
  • Current Events

BLK360

March:

Editorial topics:

  • Reality capture
  • The Changing Face of BIM

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A Case for Residential BIM

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

In an interview this week with director, Cadsoft Corporation, Chantale Pitts, AECCafe Voice asked about the new Envisioneer version 13 that is focused on the residential architectural market. Envisioneer is Building Information Modeling (BIM) software for the residential and light commercial construction industry.

Framing Model

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“Going Digital” at Bentley 2017 “Year in Infrastructure” in Singapore

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Partnerships make the world go round.

Or so it would seem from the recent announcements made by Bentley Systems at their 2017 Year in Infrastructure Conference held in Singapore this past week. The event drew record numbers, primarily from Southeast Asia, China and India. 130 journalists also were in attendance.

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Coming Soon: AECCafe Special Report on Interoperabiiity for BIM

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

When everyone on a team uses a different BIM software, it can be painful to maintain accurate model versions, control user access, compare versions and analyze different models. On big projects, there are many teams coming together, all using whatever BIM technologies they have been tasked with and making all those interoperate, multiplying the challenge severalfold.

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HP Z Workstations Address Security Challenges of Today’s World

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Xavier Garcia, vice president and general manager, global head Workstations, HP Inc. and Josh Peterson, vice president product management, Workstations, HP Inc. recently presented a webinar on the new HP Desktop Z workstation family.

HP Z8 Workstation with dual HP Z27x Displays (2)

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Workflow Enhancements and Braceworks Define Vectorworks 2018

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar spoke with AECCafe Voice about today’s release of its 2018 Vectorworks software. The release includes Vectorworks ® Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Designer and Fundamentals, as well as Vision. As part of the release, Braceworks™ is a new structural load analysis add-on module aimed for designers and riggers working on temporary entertainment structures.

Editable Section Viewports

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Canon: oce crystalPoint
Kenesto: 30 day trial
Bentley: RealityModeling
CADalog.com - Countless CAD add-ons, plug-ins and more.



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