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Assessment of a University Makerspace Using a Quantitative and Qualitative Student Survey

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division: Postcard and Student Essays

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Lee Allen Dosse University of Pittsburgh

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Lee A. Dosse is a Ph.D. student studying engineering education at the University of Pittsburgh. He is interested in how makerspaces can positively contribute to the education of engineering students, and has a keen interest in the university's XProjects program as an engineering education tool.

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Irene B. Mena University of Pittsburgh

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Irene B. Mena has a B.S. and M.S. in industrial engineering, and a Ph.D. in engineering education. Her research interests include first-year engineering and graduate student professional development.

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William W. Clark University of Pittsburgh Orcid 16x16

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Dr. William W. Clark is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and founder of the tech startup Diamond Kinetics. He is an active researcher and teacher in the field of dynamic systems and control with emphasis on mechatronics, sensing, embedded control, and data-driven systems. He is currently director of the Innovation, Product Design, and Entrepreneurship program in the Swanson School of Engineering at Pitt, and is interested in growing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among engineering students.

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Assessment of a University Makerspace Using a Quantitative and Qualitative Student Survey

This research paper focuses on the assessment of a makerspace at the University of Pittsburgh through the use of a student survey designed to answer whether the space is achieving its goals and how it is impacting users. As the rate of technological and societal change continues to increase, further emphasis is being placed on training skilled engineers, and calls for changes in engineering education to better prepare engineers for the future have been made.

One approach institutions have taken towards achieving this is through the use of makerspaces. Anecdotal and indirect evidence support the use of these facilities to improve engineering skills in students.

The makerspace of interest was built two years ago employing many of the best practices used at other institutions, and is also an integral part of a larger program at the university. To date, minimal data has been collected concerning the efficacy of the makerspace.

To assess the makerspace, an anonymous survey comprised of Likert scale items, open-ended questions, and other quantitative questions was distributed electronically to both undergraduate and graduate engineering students. It asked students to rate statements about the makerspace related to its mission, and to rate statements about how using the space has improved different aspects of themselves.

The results of the survey showed that the makerspace appears to be achieving its goals and is functioning as part of the university’s efforts to increase student innovation and entrepreneurship. It showed that students feel using the makerspace has had positive effects on them, especially their creative thinking and ability to work on a team. It also revealed what aspects of the facility could potentially be improved. This evaluation contributes to the increasing body of knowledge on makerspace practices and potential impact on students.

Dosse, L. A., & Mena, I. B., & Clark, W. W. (2019, June), Assessment of a University Makerspace Using a Quantitative and Qualitative Student Survey Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32125

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