With the rise of the “Maker Movement” and the entrepreneurial university, academic makerspaces became widespread. These facilities provide tools and machines that enable making and tinkering; and while the offerings, organizational and operational models, and outreach of the academic makerspaces can vary widely across institutions, their common value proposition is enabling innovation, entrepreneurship, and hands-on project-based learning and these studies are largely qualitative and exploratory by nature. Through a case study, this paper presents an in-depth analysis and insights on the users and usage of an academic makerspace. Using the data generated by and collected from the users of an academic makerspace, we evaluate the effects of having access to the makerspace on users' teaching and learning experiences, and their satisfaction with the offerings. Our results show that attracting courses and educators to the facilities played a strong role in growing the user base, courses and teaching activities introduced new teaching and learning activities to adopt the offerings, group and project work is positively impacted, and the users are very satisfied with the facilities and having the access to its offerings. The analysis also showed that the demand for the offerings can be challenging to manage during certain periods, most of the users come from three departments (mechanical, electrical, civil engineering), and the diversity of the users could improve with the introduction of new offerings, such as a wet lab for bio/chemistry experiments and a food lab to tinker with food processing and preparation.
|Journal||Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
- Academic makerspace
- Design thinking
- Engineering education
- Maker movement