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Innovation, Design, and Self-Efficacy: The Impact of Makerspaces

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division: Postcard and Student Essays

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Roxana Maria Carbonell University of Texas, Austin

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Roxana Carbonell is a current graduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Her primary research interests are prosthetics, additive manufacturing, makerspaces, and engineering education.

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Madison E. Andrews University of Texas, Austin Orcid 16x16

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Madison Andrews is a STEM Education doctoral student and Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University in 2017.

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Audrey Boklage University of Texas, Austin

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Audrey Boklage is research assistant in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She is particularly interested in improving the culture and environment of undergraduate education experience for all students, particularly those from underrepresented groups. Audrey has expertise in qualitative research methods including exploratory case studies and narrative inquiry.

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Maura J. Borrego University of Texas, Austin

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Maura Borrego is Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and STEM Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She previously served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, on the board of the American Society for Engineering Education, and as an associate dean and director of interdisciplinary graduate programs. Her research awards include U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and two outstanding publication awards from the American Educational Research Association for her journal articles. Dr. Borrego is Deputy Editor for Journal of Engineering Education. All of Dr. Borrego’s degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering. Her M.S. and Ph.D. are from Stanford University, and her B.S. is from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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In recent years, makerspaces have become an increasingly common feature in the engineering buildings of academic institutions. Through the creation and continued funding of these spaces, access to rapid prototyping technology has allowed for fast, straightforward project development across the engineering disciplines. While many hypothesize that students’ participation within these facilities has a positive impact on their educational experiences and outcomes, there is little empirical data that describes how and to what extent individuals are impacted by exposure to a makerspace.

In this paper, we seek to understand how the use of a university makerspace in a course project impacts students’ engineering attitudes and skillsets as they relate to the makerspace. Our research team surveyed 172 undergraduate students in 6 unique courses that incorporate a makerspace based project into their curriculum. These courses varied by student year, department, subject matter, and project complexity. Each student was surveyed at the beginning and end of the semester, before and after they had completed a course project in the makerspace.

The survey measured students’ affect towards design, design self-efficacy, technology self-efficacy, innovation orientation, and sense of belonging within the makerspace. Survey items were validated through exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Subsequently, paired t-tests were used to analyze if, and how, these metrics changed within individual students over the course of one semester using the makerspace. By surveying this broad pool of students and exploring the ways in which students’ attitudes change after completing a makerspace project, we can better understand how incorporating these assignments into a class impacts students’ affect towards engineering and perception of their engineering efficacy.

Carbonell, R. M., & Andrews, M. E., & Boklage, A., & Borrego, M. J. (2019, June), Innovation, Design, and Self-Efficacy: The Impact of Makerspaces Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32965

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