I agree Naperlou. This is a win for students and also a win for industry. For the students, it's experience with real-world tools. For Siemens and CANDENAS, it's getting future professionals used to Siemens and CANDENAS tools. Reminds me of the campaign by Apple in the mid-80s to get discounted Macs into classrooms. Apple created an army of lifelong Mac fans.
Rob, this is a very encouraging trend. Students should have access to the same types of technology that they will deal with when they get jobs. This addresses a problem that many companies have been raising.
I am in a program (Statistics) where you have to use computers to get any meaningful work done. We use the main packages in various classes. This quarter I am using SAS and R. One is the largest commercial package used in the field. The other is an open source package that is making inroads, especially in research. There are also classes that use SPSS and other technologies (e.g., MATLAB).
In engineering, it is important to have used CAD and CAE packages that are current in the field. Not only will the student get good training, but they will deal with real parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.