Using YouTube to boost classroom lessons

Beginning in the 1970’s, ACC’s Department of Drafting and Design taught future drafters, designers, architects and engineers how to use traditional drafting boards and drawing tools to create complex technical drawings. Then, in the mid-1980’s, AutoCAD, a computer aided design (CAD) software that could run on personal computers began to revolutionize the drafting field.

Enter Doug Smith, professor and program chair of the Architectural and Engineering Computer Aided Design (A&E CAD) department. Smith began working for ACC and helped lead the program through the adoption of CAD technology. By 1989, ACC was named Austin’s first Authorized AutoCAD Training Center by Autodesk, the publisher of the software.

Today, he continues to follow the latest trends in technology to help every student succeed.

Smith created a Youtube channel named Technical Drawing 101 with AutoCAD. It features more than 100 “how-to” videos and lessons reflecting the assignments in the class textbook. Since the channel’s debut in 2012, it has received more than 566,140 views and 1,621,000 minutes watched worldwide.

“I feel that in our role as educators, we should share this knowledge,” says Smith. While the majority of viewers of the YouTube channel are from the U.S., fourteen percent of views have come from India. Videos receive comments from people in developing countries saying “thank you” for making the information accessible and informative. Today, more than 2,300 users subscribe to the channel.

The channel helps students stay on pace with coursework and supports student success by allowing students to access expert instruction and commentary whether they’re in a classroom or working from home.

“It connects students directly with the material. They get one-on-one instruction in a virtual world. It means more students who need individualized help can get it,” says Smith. “Students love it, and watch videos outside of class. We constantly make new videos based on changing technology.”

Graduates of ACC’s A&E CAD program are highly sought after in part because ACC is one of the few community colleges in the nation that offers integrated circuit design and other complex CAD-related training.

“Someone created technical drawings or graphics for every chip in your cell phone, every road you drive on, and every new building you see under construction. Our graduates play an essential role in the local and national economy,” says Smith.

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