Ridgewater campus

Ridgewater College has won runner-up for BestColleges.com's top 10 Computer-Aided associate degree program for 2019.

The national ranking is based on an analysis of academic quality, affordability and online competency based on the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The evaluation applied 15 criteria to 2,300-plus eligible colleges and universities nationwide that offer online programs.

“When our Computer Aided Drafting and Design program went online in 2009, our faculty did so with student flexibility and accessibility in mind,” said Ridgewater Dean of Instruction Matt Feuerborn. “Online delivery helped to remove both location and time barriers. With a combined 50 years of teaching experience at Ridgewater — and more than 10 years for each as leaders and innovators in the online space — our faculty have truly developed a high-quality program that offers students flexibility in their learning. A key strength of the program is that Dave and Stacey highly value personal connections with students and provide outstanding instructor support.”

Instructors Stacey Nass and Dave Moen helped bring the program together.

Key ranking factors also include a school’s admission rate, enrollment rate, retention rate, graduation rate, cost of the program as it relates to the amount borrowed and owed after graduation and more. Program quality is determined by a review of faculty, the length of time the school has invested in online learning, and support for distance learners.

The computer-aided drafting and design program at Ridgewater College features a fully online format with start dates in the spring and fall. Students learn how to transform mechanical drafting ideas into feasible solutions and how to create 3D plans for production with industry software. Students also learn how to read blueprints, understand ASME standard practices, carry out advanced and basic drafting design, and review manufacturing processes. The curriculum allows students to explore various industry software, including AutoCAD, Creo, Inventor Professional, MasterCAM 3D machining software, Solidworks and Advanced Solidworks.

Hodges University of Florida received the top honor, while Winona’s Minnesota State College Southeast also earned a top-10 ranking.

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