Joan Horvath is working on narrowing the gap.

Which gap, you may rightly ask? The widening gap she sees between students who lack the hands-on technical ability to step into roles as the additive manufacturers of the future and the skills they have the opportunity to develop via current instruction and teaching methods.

Horvath, the Vice President of Business Development at Deezmaker, and a National University Community Research Institute Fellow, is also member of the Core Adjunct Faculty at National University. She spent 16 years of her career in various roles at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Caltech/NASA working on technology transfer, flight operations, and research projects, so her understanding of the issues involved is particularly acute.

To that end, Horvath is helping National University, one of the largest preparers of teachers in California, to start offering professional development courses in 3D printing. Deezmaker will be providing printing and some support services for those planned courses.

"For me, the issue is how to teach teachers to encourage their students to actually make things," Horvath said. "People have a little factory on their desks and they want to know how to use it."

As a result of that perceived need for education, National University will be offering two online options to introduce 3D Printing to the Maker community. One is a quick, 10-day mini course, and the other, a 4-week-long, more in-depth course.

And the beauty of it for people with busy schedules is both courses will be held entirely online.

The 10-day course is intended for students who simply wish to understand the end-to-end process of using a Rep-Rap style printer, and that introductory course doesn't include remote printing of individual projects.

The more intensive month-long offering is for those who have purchased, or might soon purchase a 3D printer. Horvath says that course is designed specifically for students who want to know how to use their printer effectively.

"The idea that you can just 'hit print' does a disservice to the community. So the question becomes, do you teach a student how to use a traditional milling machine or a 3D printer?" Horvath said. "While CAD/CAM technology didn't really develop to a standard, there's a shared common framework behind 3D printing, and that's nice for students."

An aerial panoramic shot of the Deezmaker hackerspaceThe shorter course doesn't grant CEU credit, but the long course is a first in the planned certificate 3D Printing for Educators and is a prerequisite for the subsequent courses to complete that cycle. According to Horvath, that course goes into depth on the history of 3D printing, its application in various fields, and includes remote printing of students' projects.

Horvath said if an instructor is planning to develop a 3D printing curriculum for a particular institution or evaluating whether their institution can support the technology, the more in-depth course is the way to go. She added that the long form course is good for a total of up to 5.0 continuing education credits, and that the class projects will be printed at Deezmaker remotely.

Registration for the first two classes is now open, and you can sign up at http://nucri.nu.edu/pdxonline/.

  • Oct. 14 – PDX 1860X Intro to 3-D Printing – 4 weeks online
    ($395, plus $100 materials fee)
  • Nov. 11 – PDX 1960X Basics of Using a 3-D Printer – 10 days online
    ($95, Intended for 3-D Printer owners)
  • Jan. 6 – PDX 1861X Making Science History – 4 weeks online
    ($395, part of certificate program)
  • Feb. 3 – PDX 1960X Basics of Using a 3-D Printer – 10 days online
    ($95, Intended for 3-D Printer owners)