535.627.81 - Computer-Aided Design

Mechanical Engineering
Spring 2024


This course provides a wide-ranging exploration of computer-aided design (CAD) using Creo Parametric (a PTC CAD software, previously called Pro/ENGINEER). Topics include sketching, solid modeling, assembly modeling, detail drafting, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, advanced modeling, sheet metal modeling, mechanism dynamics, and structural/thermal finite element analysis (FEA).


Profile photo of Michael Boyle.

Michael Boyle


Course Structure

The course materials are divided into modules. The Modules can be accessed by clicking Modules on the menu. A module will have several sections including the overview, content, discussions, and assignments. Students are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting. Most modules run for a period of seven (7) days but exceptions are noted on the Course Outline page. Students should regularly check the Calendar and Announcements for assignment due dates.

Course Topics

Course Goals

The goal of this online course is to empower you with enough computer-aided design experience to cite it as a legitimate expertise on your resume and to contribute comparably in workplace already populated with experienced CAD users. You will be able to open pre-existing files, interrogate them, understand their construction, and evolve them as necessary. Likewise, you will know enough to create your own designs (of remarkable complexity, if warranted), perform various analyses, generate detail drawings, and export files for manufacturing.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Not Required.

Required Software

This course requires Creo Parametric. Instructions for installing the software on your personal computer are included in the Module 1 videos. Creo runs exclusively on Windows. Only once have I ever seen Creo run on a Mac, however, that student was running dual operating systems.

The minimum hardware requirements for Creo Parametric include:

Downloading and subsequently running the software requires a connection to the University’s network through Pulse Secure to obtain a license.

I will not be able to assist in getting the software running on your computer. If you experience technical difficulties, I suggest reaching out to JHU Information Technology at https://johnshopkins.service-now.com/serviceportal.

In the absence of running the software on your own personal computer, it is possible to run the software through MyCloud, a virtual desktop available through my.jhu.edu.

Students sometimes try to circumvent connecting to the University’s network and license by using a version available directly from PTC: https://www.ptc.com/en/academic-program/products/free-software/creo-college-download. However, THIS VERSION DOES NOT INCLUDE ALL OF THE CAPABILITIES YOU NEED TO COMPLETE THE COURSE.

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that each of the ten instructional modules will take approximately 6 hours per week to complete. Here is an approximate breakdown: following along with the lectures step by step, stopping the videos as necessary (approximately 3 hours) and completing the exercises (approximately 3 hours).

This course consists of a two basic student requirements:

Module Exercises (50% of Final Grade Calculation)

Ten modules include exercises, each graded on a scale of 0 - 100. The exercises generally include creating a number of part, assembly, and drawing files. Grading is based upon completion and correctness of the submitted files with respect to the assignment instructions. Of the 100 points available for each exercise, participation in module discussions counts for 25 of those. Your grade for module discussion based upon your interaction (i.e., responding to classmate postings with thoughtful responses) with at least one classmate. Just posting your “Muddiest Point” to a discussion question is not sufficient; I want you to interact with your classmates. Be detailed in your postings and in your responses to your classmates' postings. Feel free to agree or disagree with your classmates. Please ensure that your postings are civil and constructive.

I will monitor module discussions and will respond to some of the discussions as discussions are posted.
Late submissions will be reduced by one letter grade for each week late (no exceptions without prior coordination with the instructors).

Qualitative, CAD modeling aspects of the exercises are evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Submission of all of the required files (20%).
  2. Geometric consistency with the desired model/drawing (35%).
  3. Having followed the required modeling methodology (20%).
  4. Submission of muddiest point to the discussion forum (10%).
  5. Response to fellow student’s muddiest point (15%).

Mid-Term and Final Projects (20% and 30% of Final Grade Calculation, respectively)

Both the mid-term and final require students to submit to me, via email, a proposal that includes an image of the subject matter. The subject of the projects remains entirely up to you, meaning what you choose to model to demonstrate your mastery of the topics covered in the first half and second halves of the semester, is entirely up to you, although subject to my approval.

At a minimum the midterm project must include part modeling, assembly modeling, and creating detail drawings of at least one part and one assembly. Your midterm does not need to be all encompassing of every part modeling technique covered so far. However, for instance, do not expect a proposal whose part modeling consists of nothing but rectangular extrusions to be approved.

The final project must incorporate a combination of any two topics covered since the midterm; for instance advanced modeling and structural analysis, or sheetmetal and mechanisms.

Two weeks are dedicated to completing both the midterm and final projects. Submit your proposals at least two days before the start of what would be Module 6 and module 12 to allow me time to review the proposal and ask questions, if necessary. Because not all proposals are approved, the lead time also allows for revisions to proposals or complete reconsideration.

Working in pairs is encouraged. The proposal must lay out a balanced division of labor. Every student is expected to perform part and assembly modeling, therefore, in this situation, the midterm must include at least one sub-assembly. With one student creating a sub-assembly and the other managing the top assembly, both demonstrate their assembly modeling skills. Each student must still create at least one part and one assembly drawing. Students working in pairs receive extra credit, 5 percentage points, because of the additional effort involved in file sharing.

At the halfway point of each, meaning, after a week of work on the midterm/final, ahead of what would be the start of Modules 7 and 14, all project files must be, zipped, and uploaded to Canvas, regardless in whatever state of completeness they happen to exist. Along with the zip file, post to the discussion board the muddiest point of your project. For instance, what isn’t working the way you though it would? What doesn’t seem to be working the way it did in the exercises? What is taking way too long? Next, every student must download the midterm project of another student, open the project and review the model. In an email to the originator of the data and your instructor, comment on what you thing is being done well, offer insight into how something might have been done more efficiently, and make recommendations in hopes of assisting the other student with their muddiest point.

Prior to the beginning of Module 8, submit all midterm project files, and likewise submit all final project files ahead of the end of the semester, in the form of a zip file, to Canvas.

Qualitative, CAD modeling aspects of the midterm and final projects are evaluated by the following grading elements:

1. Proposal approval (10%).
2. CAD model consistency with the subject matter of the project (50%).
3. Submission of all of the required files (10%).
4. Feedback offered to fellow student in the midst of the project (30%).

Grading Policy

Student assignments are due according to the dates in the Calendar and Assignments items in the corresponding modules. I will post grades one week after assignment due dates. A grade of “A” indicates achievement of consistent excellence and distinction throughout the course—that is, conspicuous excellence in all aspects of assignments and discussion in every week.

A grade of B indicates work that meets all course requirements on a level appropriate for graduate academic work. These criteria apply to both undergraduates and graduate students taking the course.

Score RangeLetter Grade
100-98= A+
97-94= A
93-90= A−
89-87= B+
86-83= B
82-80= B−
79-77= C+
76-73= C
72-70= C−
69-67= D+
66-63= D


% of Grade


  CAD Modeling

  Discussion Forum Participation




Midterm Project


Final Project


There is a no deduction on assignments or projects that are one day late.  There is a 25% deduction for assignments or projects turned in between two and seven days late.  Anything turned in beyond seven days overdue will not be graded.

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.