A true AutoCAD teaching story

A true AutoCAD teaching story

Reading Ralph’s post about going back to teaching reminded me of a time some years ago when I taught some AutoCAD evening classes at a technical college. As Ralph points out, students have a wide range of abilities. Although they were all supposed to have completed a prerequisite introductory Windows course, it became apparent that during that course at least some of them must have been absent in mind if not in body.

Here’s an example, where I was explaining to the class how it was possible to modify toolbars.

Steve: “Move your mouse pointer over any toolbar button and right-click on it.”

Student: “Nothing’s happening.”

Steve: “You should see a menu appear with the word Customize on it. When it appears, left-click on that word.”

Student: “There’s no menu on my computer.”

Steve: “Did you hover over a toolbar button and right-click on it?”

Student: “Yes, and nothing happens. Do I need to press Enter?”

Steve: “No.”

Student: (Presses Enter anyway) “It says Unknown command.”

Steve: (Going over to see what’s going on) “Can you please show me what you’re doing?”

The student did so. I returned to the front of the class.

Steve: “If you haven’t already done so, hover the mouse pointer over any toolbar button, press down the right-hand mouse button and release it.”

The student had been hovering over the button and typing C-L-I-C-K. After all, I had told him to write “CLICK” on it.


  1. I was involved in teaching AutoCAD to some non-CAD users once. Actually, I don’t even know if these people had ever used a computer before (Why were they learning AutoCAD? Ask me off-line sometime..) Of course, every single step had to be spelled out in complete detail. It was brutal.

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