June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
The Makerspace at University X hosts a Maker-In-Residence (MIR) program. Through this program, undergraduate students participate in design-build projects under the guidance of expert Makers who are skilled in a particular technology or craft. The goals are to foster interdisciplinary student collaboration and to provide students with the opportunity to learn and apply the hands-on skills promoted by the Maker culture. Each semester, a different Maker is selected through an application process. The Maker leads a small group of students through a series of hands-on fabrication workshops during the semester. When the final project is complete, the program culminates in a capstone event that shares the project with the larger University community.
The MIR executive committee, which consists of 6-8 undergraduate students, leads and administers the program with faculty support. The committee issues the Call for Proposals for both Makers and student participants; conducts interviews and reference checks; helps to schedule and staff the build sessions; and plans and runs the capstone events. Makers receive an honorarium, project materials, a capstone event budget, and a small travel stipend. These expenses are partially funded by a small grant from the Parents Council.
Recent MIR recipients include an amateur astronomer who led students in the fabrication of a telescope. Using this telescope, more than 500 students and community members have been able to view the moon, planets and stars during the capstone event as well as other events at the planetarium on campus. Another recent MIR recipient is a local engineering professional who led workshops in the fabrication of Arduino-based musical circuits. Students played their resulting musical instruments together and exhibited them during a capstone event in the Makerspace.
The program has been meeting its goals. Students from across the UNC community have participated in the workshops, coming from a variety of academic majors. Students have gained new Maker skills by participating in the program and have continued their involvement in the Makerspace. Student participants filled out an evaluation survey and the results demonstrate that they had a positive experience that provided them with valuable fabrication skills. In addition, the capstone events have had high attendance and been well received by the community.
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