Assessing impact of maker space on student learning Conference Paper uri icon


  • American Society for Engineering Education, 2016. In today's global market, advances in manufacturing processes and technology in general have transformed innovation and allow industries to prototype new product ideas more rapidly and less expensively than ever before. As a result, product development processes are changing drastically; engineering graduates will benefit by further developing their skills for innovation and project/process development. At the national level, The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University Report1states that while the United States remains the global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, there is increasing global competition. To address this, literature2-7shows that universities across the country have recognized the need for maker spaces and have invested resources to develop such facilities in order to provide engineering undergraduates with opportunities for experiential and project-based learning to better promote creativity and innovative skills. Maker spaces vary in size, resources, programs, and targeted population and they represent a significant development in engineering education. Some are located in places such as libraries7with a focus to attract partnerships form the local community. In this large public institution, the college of engineering established a 20,000 square-foot makerspace in 2013 solely dedicated to engineering undergraduates. The facility offers students access to: 1) fabrication equipment such as 3D Printers, CNC and manual lathes and mills, and electronic circuit board fabrication; 2) microcontrollers and sensors; 3) collaborative spaces which include studio, conference and meeting rooms; 4) wide range of software tools to support engineering analysis, and 5) experienced professional staff able to guide student's use of equipment and tools. Students utilize facility resources for curricular activities such as capstone design projects, multidisciplinary project based elective courses, and extra-curricular programs such as design competitions. Since 2013, the number of students requesting access to the facility has increased significantly, with more than 1500 students registered for 2015 fall. To provide students with specific skills and knowledge, often related to the capacities of the makerspace, the college launched a series of pop up classes in fall 2015. The pop up class program has been very successful with more than 750 students registered for 2015 fall semester. This study will assess how utilization of the facility influences student development. While anecdotal evidence suggests facility resources empower participants to pursue more innovative designs, this study is the first systematic assessment on campus of student self-reported confidence and motivation to pursue certain tasks such as engineering design. Findings will contribute to the growing body of knowledge about maker spaces and their influences on engineering education.

published proceedings

  • ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Lagoudas, M. Z., Froyd, J. E., Wilson, J. L., Hamilton, P. S., Boehm, R., & Enjeti, P. N.

complete list of authors

  • Lagoudas, MZ||Froyd, JE||Wilson, JL||Hamilton, PS||Boehm, R||Enjeti, PN

publication date

  • June 2016