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Investigating Why Students Choose to Become Involved in a University Makerspace through a Mixed-methods Study

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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

Making, Hacking, and Extracurricular Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30728

Download Count

80

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Paper Authors

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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 student 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 how to effectively teach these skills to novice engineers.

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Megan Tomko Georgia Institute of Technology

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Megan E. Tomko is a Ph.D. graduate student in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology under the guidance of Dr. Julie Linsey. She completed one semester in her graduate studies at James Madison University with Dr. Robert Nagel as her advisor. Her B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering is from the University of Pittsburgh where she also worked as a Field Telecommunications Intern for three consecutive summers at EQT, a natural gas company headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. Megan’s research interests correspond to identifying ways to teach students how to become better designers and learners through creative and non-traditional means.

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Wendy C. Newstetter Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Wendy C. Newstetter is Assistant Dean for Educational Research and Innovation in the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech.

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Robert L. Nagel James Madison University

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Dr. Robert Nagel is an Assistant 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

Makerspaces have observed and speculated benefits for the students who frequent them. For example, previous studies have found that students who are involved in their campus’s makerspace tend to be more confident and less anxious when conducting engineering design tasks while gaining hands-on experience with machinery not obtained in their coursework. Recognizing the potential benefits of academic makerspaces, we aimed to capture what influences students to become involved in these spaces through a mixed-method study. A quantitative longitudinal study of students in a mechanical engineering program collected data on design self-efficacy, makerspace involvement, and user demographics through surveys conducted on freshmen, sophomores, and seniors. In this paper, the student responses from three semesters of freshmen level design classes are evaluated for involvement and self-efficacy based on whether or not a 3D modeling project requires the use of makerspace equipment. The study finds that students required to use the makerspace for the project were significantly more likely to become involved in the makerspace. These results inspired us to integrate a qualitative approach to examine how student involvement and exposure to the space are related. Using an in-depth phenomenologically based interviewing method, purposive sampling, and snowball sampling, six females, who have all made the conscious decision to engage in a university makerspace(s), participated in a three-series interview process. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed via emerging questions for categorical metrics and infographics of the student exposure and involvement in making and makerspaces. These findings are used to demonstrate 1) how students who do, or do not, seek out making activities may end up in the makerspace and 2) how student narratives resulting in high-makerspace involvement are impacted by prior experiences, classes, and friendships.

Hilton, E., & Tomko, M., & Newstetter, W. C., & Nagel, R. L., & Linsey, J. S. (2018, June), Investigating Why Students Choose to Become Involved in a University Makerspace through a Mixed-methods Study Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30728

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