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Impact of Makerspaces on Cultivating Students' Communities of Practice Abstract

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Mohamed Ahmed Abdalwhab Galaleldin University of Ottawa Orcid 16x16

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Mohamed a doctoral student at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa. His research interests include Makerspaces, engineering education, business incubators, and entrepreneurship. He holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, and M.Eng. in Engineering Managment, and currently completing his Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa.

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Hanan Anis University of Ottawa

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Hanan Anis holds an NSERC Chair in Entrepreneurial Engineering Design and is a professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Ottawa.

Prior to Joining the University in 2004, Hanan was the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Ceyba, an optical long-haul networking company that employed 250 people at its peak. Hanan also worked at Nortel Networks in different positions conducting pioneering research in various areas of photonics, ranging from device physics to optical networking. She has numerous journal and conference publications and patents. Hanan's current research interests include Biophotonics, Innovation and engineering education.Her passion is to help students graduate with an entrepreneurial mind set that enable them to play leading roles in existing organizations or create their own jobs.

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Abstract – The Richard L’Abbé Makerspace at the University of Ottawa-Ontario, opened its doors to students in 2014 aiming to offer a creative environment that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. Since then, the Makerspace was incorporated in 10 courses offered at three faculties, held 250 workshops, 3 design challenges, and was used by more than 3000 students. This paper describes how Makerspaces help cultivate students’ communities of practice (CoP). We interviewed 19 engineering students with different participation levels in the Makerspace, from different engineering disciplines to understand how they became participants in the makers’ community of practice at the Richard L’Abbé Makerspace. We found that the Makerspace provided engineering students with a platform for forming a CoP that shares a common interest in making, by providing them with access to equipment, workshops, competitions, and by connecting engineering students from various disciplines to work on hands-on engineering projects that allowed them to translate theories learned in classroom to practice. The paper also describes the lessons learned from the interviews and challenges that face the Richard L’Abbé Makerspace.

Galaleldin, M. A. A., & Anis, H. (2017, June), Impact of Makerspaces on Cultivating Students' Communities of Practice Abstract Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28468

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