AutoCAD Software and Civil Plan Development

About the Course

A construction worker types on a laptop on their desk, with papers and a pen next to their machine.

This course serves as an introduction to AutoCAD software and civil plan development. It outlines 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 (2D) drawings, including drawing, modifying, dimensioning, labeling with text, inserting blocks, and plotting to scale. Assignments cover a variety of disciplines, including civil and mechanical engineering, architecture, and site development.


Registration is now closed for the spring 2024 offering of this course. If you have any questions, please contact Katherine Stanley at

Course Format

Each week will include a two-hour prerecorded lecture and self-paced classroom lesson, available on Mondays, as well as a live, instructor-led discussion each Friday. Students are encouraged to attend the discussion sessions to hear a recap of the week’s lesson, get help with their assignments, and ask questions.

In addition to the weekly lectures, the course includes AutoCAD assignments that must be completed during the same week as the lesson. Students are expected to watch the weekly recorded session and complete the assignments prior to each Friday’s live discussion session. All assignments will be turned in by email to the instructor.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe how AutoCAD and other computer-aided drafting programs work.
  • Execute basic AutoCAD drawing, modify, dimensioning, and labeling commands.
  • Create a block with attributes and insert it into a drawing.
  • Read a computer-generated drawing and describe its elements.
  • Manipulate the display of AutoCAD elements and layers in both paper and layout space.
  • Develop a plan for efficiently completing an AutoCAD drawing given dimensions and criteria.
  • Transfer hand-measured dimensions to an AutoCAD drawing.
  • Plot an AutoCAD drawing to scale.

Who Should Attend

This is a beginner’s course and 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 course instructor for Minnesota LTAP and the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is a professional engineer registered in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has served as a teaching specialist in the University's civil engineering department for many years, teaching CADD, highway design, AutoCAD, and surveying. 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 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 Minnesota LTAP at the Center for Transportation StudiesUniversity 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.