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Written by Mike Buetow   
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 15:38

It’s February; winter vacation is over, and we’re headed back to school.

This month marks the launch of Printed Circuit University, the industry’s first online e-learning and training resource for professionals involved in the engineering and design of printed circuit boards and related technologies.

Called PCU for short, the new “school’s” mission is to provide online educational resources in technologies and techniques for printed circuit board design, as well as a professional social network to further the education and capabilities of engineers, designers and managers involved in those technologies.

The virtual campus ( is rich in white papers, webinars, flash presentations and a host of other accessible resources – all at no charge. Visitors need only register once for complete access to this network of information from an ever-growing list of experts and sources. 

In addition to these free resources, Printed Circuit University offers the tuition-based Design Excellence Certificate Program, a structured curriculum for all levels of design expertise. The First Design Excellence curriculum to be offered will be a series of signal integrity courses designed by Dr. Eric Bogatin (more on that in a moment). The DEC courses include a pass-fail exam. Future curricula will include courses based on core PCB design techniques, design for manufacturing and assembly, and other specific PCB technologies. Students may subscribe to a specific curriculum and courses or purchase an annual subscription that gives unlimited access to all Printed Circuit University classes for a 12-month period.

PCU is built on the robust, established and time-proven beTheSignal e-learning platform developed by Dr. Bogatin, with whom PCU has signed an exclusive agreement to offer all the beTheSignal online training.

“I am excited to work with the launch of Printed Circuit University,” says Dr. Bogatin. “The combination of live signal integrity classes provided by Bogatin Enterprises and the online content through Printed Circuit University will offer something for everyone, and help accelerate designers and engineers up the learning curve to be more effective in their projects.”

The intent of PCU is not to replace traditional face-to-face training. As UP Media Group founder/president/PCU dean Pete Waddell alluded to last April, the PCB Design Conferences have always been one of his favorite projects, and from painful experience, we know how much better it is to learn through collaboration, not just the hard way. But this new undertaking is an acknowledgment that time and resource constraints often conspire to keep designers and engineers close to their home bases, hampering their ability to broaden their knowledge.

“Onsite conferences and trade shows, while extremely valuable, face hurdles such as slashed travel budgets, and time away from the office,” says Waddell. “One of the ways to address these issues is to harness the power of the Internet to mimic the networking and classroom setting and experience. Printed Circuit University fills this need.”

We demonstrated PCU for the first time at DesignCon at the beginning of this month. At that time, we also announced our first major sponsor for the site: Mentor Graphics.

As the site’s first Design Excellence Certificate (DEC) sponsor, Mentor has license to post webinars and video presentations to the site, links to its own sites, banner ads on all the pages of the site, course sponsorships and multiple scholarships.

“In today’s highly competitive electronics market, it is very important that designers are educated in using the latest technologies,” stated Ed Goldman, director of marketing programs, Systems Design Division. “Mentor Graphics is proud to be the first sponsor of Printed Circuit University. Their first series on high-speed design practices will enable more designers to develop higher performance systems, faster.”

Mentor also held a drawing for a one-year scholarship opportunity to PCU from entries submitted at its DesignCon booth.

Much like Virtual PCB, our online trade show that takes place March 8-9, we see Printed Circuit University as the cutting-edge in web-based learning for PCB designers and engineers. Be sure to check it out.

Virtually speaking. Speaking of Virtual PCB, be sure to register now. The two-day show features a host of exhibitors from all corners of the electronics design, fabrication and assembly arena, a full complement of white papers and webinars, and of course, the very popular moderated chats. And this year we are offering more chats during times convenient to our readers in Asia and Europe as well. Visit for details.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 17:24


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