AllyCAD Showcase

AllyCAD & Civil Designer at CUT

Central University of Technology
Free State

The Central University of Technology (CUT), in the Free State, has seen many successful graduates land top positions in the Civil Engineering Industry.

According to Nico Grobbelaar, lecturer in Civil Engineering, the incorporation of AllyCAD and Civil Designer into the current academic curriculum, has made a big difference in the way that students are approaching the course.

The software is supplied at a heavily subsidised rate by local software developer, Knowledge Base. In addition, the company is responsible for annual prize sponsorships to top achievers. "They offer certificates, trophies and cash incentives to the best design student. For the previous academic year, the top student was my wife, Elmine Grobbelaar," says Nico proudly.

"The University offers B.Tech courses in the Urban, Transport and Water Engineering fields. Generally, courses consist of the usual engineering subjects such as Water Engineering, Surveying, Structural Engineering, Transportation, Geotechnical and Management disciplines," explains Nico as he summarises the course structure.

"Students work mainly in AllyCAD, the drawing module of the program and designs are done at second year level as part of the Drawing II syllabus, a subject which is also a prerequisite for the course, Surveying - Civil II.

The reaction of students to AllyCAD and Civil Designer as part of their course curriculum has been very positive. "Most of them enjoy the program and only a small percentage struggle initially. Students receive good pass marks for their theory portion in Transportation II and they thoroughly enjoy the practical element found in Drawing II, where Civil Designer is incorporated in the Survey - Civil II course offered at third level."
  Nico himself is a long-standing user of both packages and is able to assist many of his students with useful shortcuts in the program.

"During the first two academic years, students mostly learn the theoretical aspects of the course, while experiential training becomes a compulsory element in the third year. The University updates each student's progress by means of a written report that has to be submitted each semester," says Nico as he illustrates the University's method of assessment.

"Jurie Vermaak, a civil engineering lecturer at CUT, conducts periodic checks on students at least once a year. He evaluates the company or contractor from where the student receives his practical tuition, in order to determine the organisation's suitability for co-operative training. This is done in order to protect students from being exploited in the trade."

Due to his extensive experience in both AllyCAD and Civil Designer, Nico finds himself fulfilling the role of mentor to fellow lecturers. "I have used the program extensively for a major part of my working career, and have found it especially useful in my Masters degree: "A comparison between solids-free and conventional sewerage systems". Thanks to this incredible program, I will be completing my qualification before the end of 2004 and will continue my role as a mentor on the product," says Nico.

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