- We detail an exploratory study of faculty members’ perceptions of activities associated with undergraduate engineering programs in university-based makerspaces. Our study examines the affordances and constraints faculty perceive regarding teaching and learning in these spaces and, specifically, how makerspaces support engineering faculty members in accomplishing the goals and expectations they have for undergraduate students’ learning and development. We found that makerspaces inspired faculty members’ curricular and instructional innovations, including design of new courses and implementation of practices meant to result in more team-based and active learning. Faculty perceived student activities in makerspaces as fostering of student agency and development of engineering skills, knowledge, and affect. Faculty also identified concerns related to the teaching of engineering in these spaces, including the need to change their instructional practices to more fully engage students and to balance the sophisticated tools and resources with the rigor of completing complex engineering tasks. We use structuration theory to illuminate how faculty act, rationalize, and reflect on their teaching practices and goals in relation to structures present in university-based makerspace. Our study is intended to inform faculty and administrators working to engage students through interactions in makerspaces or similar innovations, and to consider how access to and impact of these structures support undergraduate engineering education.
- Keywords: makerspaces; engineering education; undergraduate; faculty perceptions; diverse populations