From the beginning, the Onshape Education team has always focused on providing an affordable and accessible CAD platform for students and teachers.

Professional-Level CAD for Students & Educators

The launch of the free Education Standard plan in March 2017 reflected the importance our team places on education and making sure the next generation of engineers can access the highest quality tools.

Traditional CAD systems require expensive computers that are not available to many students, but Onshape’s cloud-native architecture means that education users from anywhere in the world can learn with a professional-grade CAD system from any device with an internet connection. 

As more schools adopt Onshape, our team continues to build tools and resources to make the learning experience even better.

Onshape in the Classroom

In August 2020, we released the Onshape Education Enterprise plan in order to allow schools to administer access in ways that better fit their needs. We have also developed free curricula and resources specifically for educators to help them succeed with Onshape in their classrooms.

Notwithstanding these efforts, we recognize that Onshape’s revolutionary Product Data Management (PDM) capabilities were designed for professional engineering teams collaborating through the product development process and educators weren’t able to take full advantage of them … until now.

Introducing Classes & Assignments

As of the December 2022 Onshape update, all Education Enterprises will have access to a brand new feature called Classes & Assignments specifically designed to meet the data management needs of educators. 

This feature is meant to streamline the way you administer and access student work in Onshape, but not meant to replace your learning management system. It makes it easy for you to create copies of documents for students, simplify finding students' work for each assignment, and enable students to submit and share assignments with you more easily.

The new functionality allows all administrators and members of the “Educators” team in an Education Enterprise to create a new object called a “Class” and add members with either “Student” or “Educator” user types. 

From there, you can create a new object called an “Assignment” that provides you with three options for administering assignments to the students:

  • Option 1: “Students begin with a new document”

  • Option 2: “Students begin with a copy of a starter document”

  • Option 3: “Students can choose what to submit”

In a “CAD 101” type course, the educator may use Option 2 for the first few assignments and add a public Document (like this one from the “Intro to CAD” curriculum) or a Document with their own starter parts and instructions uploaded as files (e.g., PDF or MP4) to a Document tab. 

screenshot of the new Onshape education feature

They can then use Option 1 for an assessment of their student’s skills or for more open-ended prompts like “design a phone stand.” 

For group assignments or optional projects, the educator might use Option 3 to allow one student from each group to submit the shared Document they’re working on to the assignment.

As soon as a student starts an assignment, the Document is shared with all educators in the Class and linked next to each student in the class along with their “In Progress” status. Students will now see a blue “Submit” button at the top of any Documents connected to an open assignment. When an assignment is submitted, they move to the “Submitted” status and a version is created in the Document. 

Educators can go into the student’s Document and leave feedback directly in the comments section. Students can resubmit new versions to an assignment until it is closed by the educator, at which point they can no longer view the assignment. Permission settings for all Documents created during the assignment will remain the same for all users, ensuring students can look back at their work after the class is over.

The Classes & Assignments feature also provides a new way of viewing analytics, enabling valuable insights into how students are progressing over the course of a semester or unit. Educators will be able to see information like how much time students are spending on their documents or which features are being used most in an assignment. This new interface should help you better assess what the students are learning and identify opportunities for just-in-time support.

What’s Next?

The R&D and UX teams at Onshape have spent months working closely with educators who tested and provided feedback to help ensure this new feature meets your needs. As with all Onshape features, we will continue to improve Classes & Assignments and add new functionality to subsequent releases as soon as they are ready. We have plans to add workflows for specific needs like group assignments and managing multiple sections of a class, but your feedback is key in helping us prioritize and develop these improvements.

Please feel free to ask any questions or share ideas about what you think could be improved in the Onshape Forum discussion, which is also a great place to engage with the amazing community of educators using Onshape in their classrooms. 

If you think there are bugs or issues with the current functionality, please submit a support ticket and our dedicated team of education technical services engineers will get back to you promptly.

Classes & Assignments Course

Our new video course on the Onshape Learning Center will help you use Classes & Assignments
in your classroom today!