Makerspaces in First-Year Engineering Education

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Taheri, P; Robbins, P; Maalej, S., Makerspaces in First-Year Engineering Education, Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(1); DOI: 10.3390/educsci10010008.

Date created: 
2019-12-27
Keywords: 
Makerspace
Engineering education
Project-based learning
First-year higher education
Abstract: 

Langara College, as one of the leading undergraduate institutions in the province of British Columbia (BC), offers the “Applied Science for Engineering” two-year diploma program as well as the “Engineering Transfer” two-semester certificate program. Three project-based courses are offered as part of the two-year diploma program in Applied Science (APSC) and Computer Science (CPSC) departments: “APSC 1010—Engineering and Technology in Society”, “CPSC 1090—Engineering Graphics”, and “CPSC 1490—Applications of Microcontrollers”, with CPSC 1090 and CPSC 1490 also part of the Engineering Transfer curriculum. Although the goals, scopes, objectives, and evaluation criteria of these courses are different, the main component of all three courses is a group-based technical project. Engineering students have access to Langara College’s Makerspace for the hands-on component of their project. Makerspaces expand experiential learning opportunities and allows students to gain a skillset outside the traditional classroom. This paper begins with a detailed review of the maker movement and the impact of makerspace in higher education. Different forms of makerspace and the benefits of incorporating them on first-year students’ creativity, sense of community, self-confidence, and entrepreneurial skills are discussed. This paper introduces Langara’s engineering program and its project-based design courses. Langara’s interdisciplinary makerspace, its goals and objectives, equipment, and some sample projects are introduced in this paper in detail. We then explain how the group-project component of APSC 1010, CPSC 1090, and CPSC 1490 are managed and how using makerspace improves students’ performance in such projects. In conclusion, the paper describes the evaluation of learning outcomes via an anonymous student survey.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
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