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Board 138: Understanding Academic Makerspaces through a Longitudinal Study at Three Universities

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32250

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13

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Paper Authors

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Timothy Sawchuk Georgia Institute of Technology

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Ethan Hilton Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-1623-228X

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Ethan is a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology working with Dr. Julie Linsey as a part of the IDREEM Lab. He graduated with honors from Louisiana Tech University with his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Ethan's research area is design cognition and methods with a focus on prototyping and its utilization during the design process. In particular, Ethan has focused on hand-drawn sketches and how they are used as tools for generating ideas and visual communication, especially when it involves the skill to generate quick and realistic sketches of an object or idea. He has also conducted research on the impact involvement in academic makerspaces has on student in engineering programs.

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Robert L. Nagel James Madison University

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Dr. Robert Nagel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. Dr. Nagel joined the James Madison University after completing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. He has a B.S. from Trine University and a M.S. from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, both in mechanical engineering. Since joining James Madison University, Nagel has helped to develop and teach the six course engineering design sequence which represents the spine of the curriculum for the Department of Engineering. The research and teaching interests of Dr. Nagel tend to revolve around engineering design and engineering design education, and in particular, the design conceptualization phase of the design process. He has performed research with the US Army Chemical Corps, General Motors Research and Development Center, and the US Air Force Academy, and he has received grants from the NSF, the EPA, and General Motors Corporation.

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Julie S. Linsey Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julie S. Linsey is an Associate Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technological. Dr. Linsey received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas. Her research area is design cognition including systematic methods and tools for innovative design with a particular focus on concept generation and design-by-analogy. Her research seeks to understand designers’ cognitive processes with the goal of creating better tools and approaches to enhance engineering design. She has authored over 100 technical publications including twenty-three journal papers, five book chapters, and she holds two patents.

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Abstract

On many college campuses, makerspaces have become a hub of creativity and innovation. While each university uses a different model to manage upkeep and safety in their makerspace, several schools have taken up an open access model, allowing any student to use the space with little or no previous training. This open environment may facilitate a sense of belonging for students, which has been shown to improve retention, particularly for underrepresented groups. Additionally, those working in these spaces may gain skills crucial for developing engineers. Makerspace users have reported an improvement in their ability to communicate engineering principles, especially to non-engineers. Makerspaces may also allow students an opportunity to become acquainted with the design process through trial and error while developing design skills through fabrication. To engage students in these spaces, some curricula require the use of the space for certain design courses (such as the program studied herein), while other schools have kept space use as an optional perk for students. This leads to several questions about what impacts these spaces are making on the students, what kind of students are choosing to partake in makerspaces use, what factors drive students to initially and continually participate in makerspaces, and what is the impact that involvement has on the development of design skills.

Participation in academic makerspaces has been studied, but the empirical data of how students are impacted is limited. In an effort to better understand the impact of involvement in academic makerspaces, a longitudinal study on students at three different universities has been carried out over the last four years. Data was collected from students through the use of surveys and collection of GPA and retention data. Students were tracked throughout their respective programs to observe how changes in involvement correlated to changes in factors such as retention and engineering design self-efficacy. This paper gives an overview of the entire study and presents results including trends in voluntary involvement in academic makerspaces over the course of each program and how these trends correlate to other measured factors.

Sawchuk, T., & Hilton, E., & Nagel, R. L., & Linsey, J. S. (2019, June), Board 138: Understanding Academic Makerspaces through a Longitudinal Study at Three Universities Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32250

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