I rather enjoyed my Fall Semester at the local Tech school. Machining class proved to be more challenging and more satisfying than I predicted. And the Solidworks class was quite fun. I am sufficiently the master of assorted low level tricks in this software now to allow me to teach kids on the FIRST team. One of our students in particular has taken to it quickly and was generating designs for 3D printed parts after about an hour of practice. I think I shall Proclaim him our Official Widgeteer.
Recognizing that the robotics season and spring travels would cut into class time I am scaling it back this time around. I am only taking Basic Pneumatics. And in an "Open Lab" format.
It's a different way to study. All the information is available on line in an interesting interactive format. You can just click into existence the cylinders, valves and regulators needed to complete a circuit. Later of course you go into the lab and do it for real.
This year's FIRST robot will not - barring a late emergency redesign - have any pneumatics on it, so this is just for my own interest and for future smartsies.
I can do much of my school work in pajamas at 5am. I can make my annual trip overseas in May and for all I know continue my class via smart phone while sitting in ancient Roman ruins.
It's rather nice and I think a sensible adaptation to the reality that many Tech students are also working and raising a family concurrently.
My previous classes have also been more hands on than lecture based but this goes further.
Good so far, but with everything automated where am I going to get hand graded papers to stick on the refrigerator?