Today we are introducing Onshape Education Enterprise, a new premium edition of Onshape designed for schools and universities with unique administrative needs that come from managing student usage across classes, departments, and school organizations. Onshape Education Enterprise helps these institutions easily scale access, manage permissions, and gain insight into student design activity through exclusive administrative and analytics features.
You are likely aware of the Onshape Education Standard plan (formerly known as the Onshape Education plan), that has been an invaluable resource for the modern classroom since its launch in 2016. This zero-cost Education Standard plan, which recently helped thousands of schools save their STEM classes during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not going anywhere. But as schools and universities scale up their adoption of cloud CAD and collaboration tools for the upcoming school year, their software and administrative needs have become more complex. With those administrative and IT challenges in mind, we developed the Onshape Education Enterprise plan.
Quick Recap: The Fundamentals of Onshape for Education
Before we discuss the institutional advantages of the Onshape Education Enterprise plan, it’s worth revisiting why Onshape has made such a profound impact in the classroom. No longer confined to computer labs or restricted by software licensing, students and educators can access their professional-grade CAD system from any computer (PC, Mac, Chromebook), tablet or phone using a web browser or mobile app (iOS or Android).
Onshape’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model means zero downloads, zero installation, and zero licensing. New users just open a browser, create an account, and they’re in. Students can collaborate in real time, just as they are accustomed to with online document editors such as Google Docs. (Not surprisingly, Onshape is often referred to informally as the “Google Docs of CAD.”)
What Makes Education Enterprise Unique?
So what’s new and different about the Onshape Education Enterprise plan? It’s all about scale - it’s CAD for the education enterprise. It’s a plan built specifically for schools and universities that wish to give large groups of their students access to CAD in the same way that a product development company would want an enterprise account for multiple users across its entire organization.
In fact, the Education Enterprise plan is based on Onshape Enterprise – Onshape’s highest level commercial offering. It is easily scaled across large classes, departments, and institutions; platform analytics provide visibility into student usage and activity; and administrative features allow for easy management of permissions and sharing within your institution's private domain.
“We created the Onshape Education Enterprise plan because we wanted to give faculty and instructors the ability to manage their CAD courses and CAD activities like they have never been able to do before,” says Dr. Jordan Cox, SVP of PTC Academic. “The administrative features, built-in class management capabilities and platform analytics unique to the Education Enterprise plan make it possible for faculty to focus on teaching design rather than spending their time troubleshooting technical and administrative issues.”
Easily Scalable Access
Giving large groups of students quick access to traditional installed CAD software is both challenging and time-consuming. In this scenario, students can access the software through an on-campus computer lab (which is not always an option), but this has its own limitations even when campus labs are open. As an alternative, students can download the software on their own computers. However, given the variety of devices used by students, and the fact that most traditional CAD software requires a Windows operating system, the need to give all students equal access to the same version of the same software is an ongoing obstacle for institutions using CAD.
Using fully cloud-based Onshape, students and educators can instantly create accounts online and ensure that everyone in the class will always be using the same version of CAD software – the latest version with automatic updates released every three weeks. The Education Enterprise plan takes it a step further by allowing instructors and administrators to quickly grant Onshape access to as many as 500 students with a couple of different options: single sign-on (SSO) and bulk upload.
Onshape Education Enterprise is designed to be able to integrate with existing SSO systems, which means your IT administrator can enable students to use their existing school accounts to access Onshape. If your institution doesn't employ an SSO system, you can simply add your students to your Education Enterprise account via a bulk upload.
Instead of asking students to individually register for their own accounts, you can invite your students to Onshape directly so they can sign in with their school credentials and focus on learning CAD instead of worrying about access or IT issues. And with fewer barriers between students and Onshape, their productivity can only increase.
Data-driven Insights Through Exclusive Platform Analytics
Let's say your class is halfway through the semester and group projects are due in a couple of weeks. As an educator using the new plan, you can go into each design’s Document and see how much time each team member has spent in it. Or you can look at the average completion time from a particular assignment and consider if it requires a more in-depth lecture, or if the assignment should be scaled down.
It’s also possible to identify if a student is struggling in a certain area, or to track the number of active users and Documents. When necessary, you can also determine if a student is cheating by viewing his or or her revision history and activity. The Onshape Education Enterprise plan is the only CAD platform that gives you this kind of insight and real-time analytics.
Brendan Martin, an engineering educator in Charlottesville, Virginia, teaches a curriculum that focuses on utilizing advanced manufacturing technologies to reconstruct, rethink, and reinvent historical inventions that shaped the modern world. He recently implemented Onshape Education Enterprise across multiple classes in his school when COVID-19 forced them to move all instruction online. He is also relying on Onshape for part of his school’s summer programs.
“The transition to Onshape has truly been phenomenal – in fact, we are going to be transitioning to Onshape full-time regardless of our school reopening plan,” Martin says. “The Education Enterprise version has exceeded our expectations. As an instructor, there are so many benefits: being able to comment directly within a design project, using the analytics features to monitor modeling time and progress, releasing certain Documents to specific teams, and using the Document sharing features to allow families to engage with their child's work. Our students have particularly loved being able to design at any time and anywhere.”
Additional Administrative & Customization Features
The unique collaborative features of Onshape prepare students for working and designing in the real world. These same features are part of the Education Enterprise plan, but with Education Enterprise, your designated account administrator can manage permissions and sharing to further optimize team collaboration within your private custom domain.
Onshape Documents are ultimately owned by administrators, who have both control and visibility. Additionally, account instructors/administrators can assign roles and grant access to view, edit, or share Documents based on those roles. Colleagues can have complete access to platform analytics, teaching assistants can edit and share Documents, and permissions for all students can be granted or revoked instantly.
In addition to managing permissions there, your private domain also includes a custom URL (i.e. “yourschool.onshape.com”) and can be branded with your school logo.
Onshape Education Enterprise allows educators and course administrators to manage roles and permissions within their institution’s private domain.
Modern CAD for Modern Education
As Onshape helps businesses modernize their product development process, schools and universities can similarly modernize their product design instruction, whether their courses are taught online or on campus. Universities and K12 schools have already begun taking advantage of the Education Enterprise plan and its unique features designed for large organizations.