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Developing a Measure of Engineering Students’ Makerspace Learning, Perceptions, and Interactions

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Motivation, Attitudes, and Beliefs

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30292

Download Count

90

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Paper Authors

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Sarah Lanci Colorado Mesa University

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Sarah Lanci is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado Mesa University. She received her B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan State University and her M.S. degree in Metallurgical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. Following graduate school, Sarah worked as a part and process engineer at an investment casting facility, PCC Structurals, in Portland, OR for seven years before transitioning to her current position at CMU where she teaches introductory design, materials science, and manufacturing-focused courses. Sarah's research interests include aspects of project-based learning and enhancing 21st century skills in undergraduate engineering students.

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Louis Nadelson Colorado Mesa University

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Louis S. Nadelson has a BS from Colorado State University, a BA from the Evergreen State College, a MEd from Western Washington University, and a PhD in educational psychology from UNLV. His scholarly interests include all areas of STEM teaching and learning, inservice and preservice teacher professional development, program evaluation, multidisciplinary research, and conceptual change. Nadelson uses his over 20 years of high school and college math, science, computer science, and engineering teaching to frame his research on STEM teaching and learning. Nadelson brings a unique perspective of research, bridging experience with practice and theory to explore a range of interests in STEM teaching and learning.

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Idalis Villanueva Utah State University

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Dr. Villanueva is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Education Department and an Adjunct Professor in the Bioengineering Department in Utah State University. Her multiple roles as an engineer, engineering educator, engineering educational researcher, and professional development mentor for underrepresented populations has aided her in the design and integration of educational and physiological technologies to research 'best practices' for student professional development and training. In addition, she is developing methodologies around hidden curriculum, academic emotions and physiology, and engineering makerspaces.

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Jana Bouwma-Gearhart Oregon State University

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Jana L. Bouwma-Gearhart is an associate professor of STEM education at Oregon State University. Her research widely concerns improving education at research universities. Her earlier research explored enhancements to faculty motivation to improve undergraduate education. Her more recent research concerns organizational change towards postsecondary STEM education improvement at research universities, including the interactions of levers (people, organizations, policy, initiatives) of change and documenting the good, hard work required across disciplinary boundaries to achieve meaningful change in STEM education.

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Katherine L. Youmans Utah State University

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Katherine Youmans is a PhD student in the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University. Kate earned her bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and worked in the medical device industry designing surgical instruments before focusing on engineering outreach in MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs. After receiving her master's degree in Science Education from Boston University, Kate helped open the American International School of Utah, a K-12 charter school in Salt Lake City. In her role as STEM Director Kate developed the schools programs in Computer Science, Robotics and Design Thinking.

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Adam Lenz Oregon State University

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Abstract

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

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015