The course will outline the basic elements of AutoCAD, the most commonly used drafting software in Minnesota public works offices. Students will learn the skills needed to complete simple two-dimensional drawings, including drawing, modifying, dimensioning, labeling with text, and inserting blocks. Assignments cover a variety of disciplines, including civil and mechanical engineering, architecture, and site development.

Course Format

The course starts with an instructor-led live orientation followed by a weekly two-hour pre-recorded lecture and self-paced classroom lesson, and a live instructor-led discussion session.

The self-paced lesson will be accessible each Monday of the assigned teaching week followed by a live, instructor-led discussion session on Friday’s of the same week. Students are encouraged to attend the discussion sessions to hear a recap of the lesson, get help with their assignments and ask questions.

In addition to the weekly lectures, the course includes AutoCAD lab assignments that must be completed during the same week as the lesson. Students are expected to complete reading assignments prior to each classroom session to maximize the value of the lecture. All AutoCAD problem assignments will be turned in by email to the instructor, although some hard-plotted copies (submitted as a PDF or scan) will be required. Access to your own or your agency's AutoCAD software (any version) is required.

Course objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe how AutoCAD and other computer aided drafting programs work.
  2. Execute basic AutoCAD drawing, modify, dimensioning and labeling commands.
  3. Create a block with attributes and insert it into a drawing.
  4. Read a computer-generated drawing and describe its elements.
  5. Develop a plan for efficiently completing an AutoCAD drawing given dimensions and criteria.
  6. Transfer hand-measured dimensions to an AutoCAD drawing.
  7. Plot an AutoCAD drawing to scale.

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for anyone who would like to learn how to use computer software to draft or design civil projects.

Course Instructor

Ann Johnson, PE, is a University of Minnesota faculty director of the Construction Management degree program and a workshop and course instructor for Minnesota LTAP and the Center for Transportation Studies, also at the University of Minnesota. She is a professional engineer registered in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has also served as a teaching specialist in the University's civil engineering department for many years, teaching CADD, highway design, AutoCAD, and surveying. Before teaching at the University, she taught full time at Dunwoody Technical College in Minneapolis and at St. Paul Technical College. In addition, Ann teaches courses in highway design and construction materials for the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Aggregate Ready Mix Association. She owns and operates a consulting business, Professional Engineering Services, where she focuses on writing and teaching and employs several people to conduct construction monitoring and testing and plan preparation. Ann has written more than 20 publications and presentations on road design and maintenance. She holds a BS in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville and an MS in civil engineering with a pavement emphasis from the University of Minnesota.

Accessing the Course

This training is offered via the course management system Canvas. Upon completing your online registration, you will receive an email confirmation. To access the course, please visit Canvas and login with your University of Minnesota internet ID and password. Once you have been enrolled, your course will appear on your Canvas dashboard.

If for any reason you do not have access to the course after enrolling, please contact Katherine Stanley at sell0146@umn.edu for assistance.

Technical Requirements

Because it's built using web standards, Canvas runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, or any other device with a modern web browser. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer work best for this course.

In addition, access to any version of AutoCAD software is required to complete the coursework.



This workshop is presented by the Minnesota Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) at the Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota. Minnesota LTAP is sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This course is subsidized through funding from LRRB and FHWA.

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