New Ship Design Courses for U.S. Shipbuilding

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 26, 2009

The National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) Modern Shipbuilding Design project team has completed and delivered five continuing education marine design courses: Basics of Electrical System Design, Basics of HVAC Design, Basics of Pipe System Modeling, Basics of Structural Modeling, and Design for Production.

Funded by the Navy and industry through the NSRP collaboration, the project was planned and facilitated by a 17-member team led by Bender Shipbuilding and Repair with significant support from the University of South Alabama and the University of Wisconsin—Marinette.  Designed for on-line or in-class presentation as part of the continuing education programs at those universities now, with the potential for future adoption by other learning institutions, the new courses help fill an industry-identified gap in the availability of trained and experienced ship designers.

These courses are a direct follow-on to an introductory course, Applications of Modern Shipbuilding Design, successfully developed through an earlier NSRP project involving the same shipyards, design agents educational institutions, and software developer.  Applications of Modern Shipbuilding Design is fast-track training in marine design that brings together the basics of shipbuilding design training utilizing ShipConstructor, a 3D ship design software package.

A key strategy in developing the new Modern Shipbuilding Design courses was to tap the expertise of the multidisciplinary team created during the development of the initial course.  By effectively leveraging the capabilities of design subject matter experts, curriculum design professionals, university course development professionals, software developers and the final shipyard users, the original course offering was successfully expanded on to build the five new follow-on courses. The team engaged an instructional designer from Worldwide Instructional Design System (WIDS) to gather, develop and validate the course outcomes and performance expectations within all courses. Each outcome then translated into a single learning experience with activities that linked to over 400 resources, creating a streamlined and engaging face-to-face or on-line learning experience.

The Applications of Modern Shipbuilding Design course was first offered by both universities in the fall of 2008. In the following year, 39 students were enrolled in the course through the University of Wisconsin—Marinette, and 15 students were enrolled through the University of South Alabama.  Beginning in the fall of 2009, both universities will offer the five new Modern Shipbuilding Design courses in a combination of face-to-face and on-line formats.

Over the past 20 years, the shipbuilding industry has moved towards a more sophisticated technological approach to design. Lofting shops and hours spent drafting are things of the past, with 3D models now creating production-ready drawings in minutes, identifying cross discipline design interferences and almost instantaneously updating as the model changes.  The Modern Shipbuilding Design courses provide shipyard-driven design curricula that prepare potential and current employees for employment in an industry that has traditionally required at least 15 years hand-on experience as an entry prerequisite.  The courses help standardize instruction in the field, and will increase the pool of trained designers available to the U.S. shipbuilding industry.

NSRP is a collaboration of 12 U.S. shipyards working with government, industry, and academia to achieve the continuous product and process improvements necessary for the U.S. shipbuilding industry to reduce the cost of ship construction and repair.  NSRP’s mission is to manage and focus national shipbuilding and ship repair research and development funding on technologies that will reduce the cost of warships to the U.S. Navy by leveraging commercial practices and improving the efficiency of the U.S. shipbuilding and ship repair industry.  NSRP also provides a collaborative forum to improve business and acquisition processes.  NSRP is sponsored by the U.S. Navy and managed through the Naval Sea Systems Command.

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