June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
NSF Grantees Poster Session
The Engineer of 2020 recognizes creativity, invention, and innovation as indispensable qualities for engineering. It may be argued, however, that traditional engineering programs do not inherently foster these qualities in engineering students, and with limited resources and time, adding innovation-fostering experiences to already over-packed curricula may seem like an insurmountable challenge. Longitudinal studies carried out by the authors have shown that makerspaces can foster improvement in engineering students’ design self-efficacy, and three-part phenomenological interviews have shown that students in makerspaces engage in non-linear, open-ended, student-driven projects that require hands-on designing, prototyping, modeling, and testing. These studies provide initial evidence that makerspaces may have the potential to enhance students’ deep learning of engineering and engineering design. To arrive at the more complex cultural factors related to student involvement and success related to participation in makerspaces, we describe the processes of ethnographic methodologies we are using to study the intersections between the structure of an engineering curriculum and the learning that occurs outside of the classroom in makerspaces. Ethnographic methodologies of participant observation, unstructured and semi-structured interviews enable exploration of how students (1) interact within and construct the culture of makerspaces; (2) talk about maker space culture as important to their commitment to engineering; (3) learn within maker spaces; and (4) choose the type and direction of projects. This paper specifically describes the ethnographic methodologies used to track four different undergraduate student teams participating in a two-year senior capstone project, as well as three different student teams participating in a sophomore design class in which they use makerspaces to build a human powered vehicle for a client with a disability. Initial interpretations are presented that inform our understanding of the complex cultural system in which learning occurs, ultimately helping us to consider ways to improve university makerspaces.
Nagel, R. L., & Aleman, M. W., & Tomko, M., & Linsey, J. S., & Atraoui, O., & Clay, C., & De Bey, Z. H., & Daschil, J., & Popelish, B. (2019, June), Board 112: Contextualizing Learning: Exploring the Complex Cultural System of Learning in Engineering Makerspaces Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32192
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