Contextual Electronics takes a new tack to teaching electronics online, where resources surprisingly lack diversity. It improves the situation with online courses and individual help, and it teaches you how to spec your own parts.
With the Internet, we have this massive amount of resources at our fingertips for learning. We can pick up a new language, learn to program in any code style you prefer, and even take college-level courses in philosophy or advanced math. However, learning resources for electronics are fairly sparse.
Contextual Electronics is hoping to enter the educational space with an interactive method of online learning.
This is a paid course with three different pricing tiers, but I like the approach. Instead of having kits that it tries to get you to buy to follow along with the lessons, the company teaches you how to shop properly for your own parts to get exactly what you need in the most cost-efficient manner. That skill alone is worth a lesson.
The first course being offered is in PCB design starting Jan. 20. This should cover not only design and layout (with a nice included license for KCad), but also how to use cheap PCB services and get what you want. This could be extremely useful, not only for beginners, but also for people who haven't had to deal with having their projects manufactured from home.
I'm eager to see what classes Contextual offers next.
I worked my way through the class as a beta-tester. I started with no EDA experience and at this point have had one small 2-sided board produced (at OSHpark) which worked perfectly and am in the beginning process of a more complex one.
I picked up many tips I know I wouldn't have learned had I simply attacked it on my own -- regardless the resources on YouTube and the Internet -- learning from an EE professional is invaluable!
I'm waiting impatiently for the next session of the class.
I am too, but for obvious reasons! Thanks for writing about it!
I think a key sector that a lot of EETimes readers might consider is training new hires. There really aren't lots of corporate budgets for training these days, but CE is affordable and should cover a practical skill that many engineers need to learn to operate on the job. What's more, most companies can't take the risk of letting a junior engineer potentially screw up a product for the sake of learning...this course allows them to mess up on their own time! ;-)