Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Educational Research and Methods
Makerspaces have become a rather common resource for institutions of higher education. The spaces are used in a wide range of configurations. In some cases, the spaces are supported indirectly and students are encouraged to explore ideas or take part in a periodically scheduled event or meeting in the space. In other cases, the spaces are integral to undergraduate programs of study and students are required to visit to complete assignments and engage in course activities within the space. For the cases in which makerspaces are used as an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum, it is important to know to what extent these spaces, and their components, influence the engineering students’ development as professionals. The primary goal of this study was to explore how those makerspaces that are affiliated with engineering programs influence engineering students’ learning, perceptions, and interactions within a program of study meant to develop engineers. As part of our research project, a survey instrument was created to assess undergraduate engineering students on a range of constructs potentially influenced by their makerspace experiences. We integrated constructs of motivation, professional identity, engineering competency and knowledge acquisition, growth mindset, and belongingness. We aligned each construct with a corresponding conceptual framework. For example, motivation items are rooted in previous scholarship and tools from self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000); We relied on a model of Nadelson et al. (2017) to explore professional identity. Engineering competency and knowledge acquisition items are based on ABET criteria (Mulligan, Sussman, Brackin & Rajala, 2016). Growth mindset items are based on the work of Dweck (2006), and belongingness items based on the human needs lens of Maslow (1987).
A team of six researchers developed a collection of items, some positively phrased (supporting a condition) and some negatively stated (refuting a condition). After, we developed the items each researcher independently re-examined the statements and coded them for the construct they were designed to assess. Where there were discrepancies, we either eliminated the items or edited the item for clarification. Our final survey contained 60 selected response items including demographic data. Our survey contained a mixture of rank-order items, Likert scale items, and rating items (e.g. on a 10 point scale).
We pilot-tested the instrument with students at researcher’s three home institutions not part of our larger study, but with course embedded makerspace experiences for the undergraduate engineering students. Preliminary analysis of our pilot testing (N = 38, from one institution so far) revealed students have generally positive attitudes toward working with others in the space, that students prefer assigned projects and short projects when using the makerspace, and feel they learn more about engineering in the makerspaces and are able to apply what they learn to their coursework.
We are in the initial stages of data collection and anticipate having a sample of 200-400 for our paper analysis. In our larger sample we will examine the inter-item correlations and eliminate items that are overly correlated to shorten and simplify the tool. We will then conduct an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to assure items align in factors as we predict. We would ultimately like to use the factor-items to create composite scores and develop a structured equation model using perceptions of learning as the dependent variable and test for alignment with data associated with factors of persistence, belonging, growth mindset, and motivation.
Lanci, S., & Nadelson, L., & Villanueva, I., & Bouwma-Gearhart, J., & Youmans, K. L., & Lenz, A. (2018, June), Developing a Measure of Engineering Students’ Makerspace Learning, Perceptions, and Interactions Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30292
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