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Work in Progress: Lessons Learned Supporting First-Year Students in an Academic Maker Space

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Design Across Curriculum 1

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Victoria Bill NYU Tandon School of Engineering

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Victoria Bill is the Director of the MakerSpace Lab and an Adjunct Professor in the First-Year Engineering Program at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She studied electrical engineering and received her B.S. from the Ohio State University and her M.S. from the University of Texas at Austin. Her previous work included co-directing and teaching the Summer STEM Program for high school students at the Cooper Union.

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Ariane Schoenwiesner New York University

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All students in the first-year course, Introduction to Engineering and Design, are required to attend the makerspace orientation training, which includes a tour, safety information, and training to operate the entry level 3D printers. Attendance at this training is required before participating in any other machine training sessions for all students. The training structure for first-year students has gone through several iterations. When the makerspace first opened, faculty from the first-year program worked with the makerspace manager to require training during one of the regular lab sessions. These lab sessions are three hours long, offered once per week for each class section of 12-18 students, and three of the sections have lab concurrently. This method continued throughout Fall 2016 - Fall 2018, but several issues arose with negotiating time for the rest of the lab activities and consistent quality across all training sessions with large groups attending at once. Over the past academic year, faculty, staff, and TAs experimented with the structure of lab activities and now require this training as part of a pre-lab assignment.

Based on feedback from makerspace student staff and first-year students, the size of these pre-lab training sessions has been limited and they are available to first-year students only. This allows students to participate with others in their cohort, and makerspace student staff also emphasize opportunities for use of the space, machines, and that technical and design workshops are available through the space. A survey has been developed and was sent out to the Fall 2019 first-year cohort to assess student confidence in their training experience, whether they have participated in any additional training or follow up events, as well as two open ended response questions. Survey data from Fall 2019 is presented and further iterations for the Spring 2020 semester discussed.

Bill, V., & Schoenwiesner, A. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Lessons Learned Supporting First-Year Students in an Academic Maker Space Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35668

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