3D printers changing how students learn

Oct 21, 2013

 3D printers are changing the way many people do business.  As IPR’S Sean Powers reports, the machines that create toys, guns and even human bones are also changing the way students learn in the classroom.

Bryan Wilcox runs a company in Urbana that specializes in helping people create products from scratch. Just about everything he works on starts off as a prototype that’s not displayed as a graphic or drawing, but a physical object made using a 3D printer.

“If I’m interviewing for a new hire, and it’s someone from one of these technical design fields; if they do not have experience working with 3D printers and understanding that chain, I probably won’t hire them.”

The University of Illinois’ College of Business gets that. By next semester, it’s offering a 3D printing class to 21 students from engineering, art and design, and business.  They’ll come up with a product that they can show off using a 3D printer.

“So, they’ll do a needs assessment. They’ll do prototyping. Maybe do focus group interviews.”

Vishal Sachdev is the director of the College of Business’ new 3D printing lab, and he’s helping lead the class.

“They don’t even need to sell the product. They can sell the design now.”

…a design using technology that’s reshaping business, and now business education.