Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Design in Engineering Education
The growth of makerspaces is a trend that has been decades in the making. Engineers are most effective when, in addition to technical knowledge in their field, they have enhanced knowledge of the capabilities of processes such as milling, welding, and 3D printing. Makerspaces enhance engineering education by encouraging creativity and hands-on fabrication skills in students. The benefits of providing high-impact opportunities are evident to prospective students and the employers that will one day hire them. At our institution, we have a unique opportunity to expand on previous research on makerspaces as we design a new building which will include a 20,000 square foot Innovation Center.
While the benefits of makerspaces are well-documented, increasingly so are the potential shortcomings (Morocz, Levy et al. 2015; Pines, Sullivan, and Nogules 2015). It is critical to design welcoming and inclusive spaces that support all types of learners. We addressed this challenge by conducting a needs and opportunities assessment of our currently available fabrication areas. Data were collected through interviewing faculty, staff, and students; surveying student attitudes and satisfaction with existing facilities; and tracking student use. Data were used to inform an assessment plan for the future Innovation Center.
This proactive framework includes the voices and experiences of students from across the institution including those of diverse backgrounds and disciplines. We’ve found that the process has allowed us to improve our understanding of the role of making in the future of our university and how regular feedback and collaboration with constituent groups helps us to create a more learner-friendly and equitable space. Furthermore, this effort to collect and analyze data in preparation for a new makerspace has been beneficial as we develop curricular and co-curricular experiences for our students that are designed to build on our strengths and provide new areas of success.
Keller, C., & Prosise, J. F., & Parker, P. J. (2020, June), A Learner- and Equity-Centered Approach to Maker Spaces Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34010
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