Developing an Engineering Identity through Immersive Design Challenges in Academic Makerspaces: A Qualitative Case Study
In this paper, we developed a lens through which the development of an engineering
identity, situated within an academic makerspace, can be analyzed. This lens draws from
the literature in the Maker Movement in higher education, legitimate peripheral
participation within communities of practice, and engineering identity development in
undergraduate engineering programs. We used the existing frameworks in the literature to
develop one that considered social and physical space, expert and novice interactions, and
dimensions known to impact identity formation, to better understand how the engineering
identities of undergraduate engineering students changed through participation in a design
challenge, situated within an academic makerspace. In this paper, we take an ethnographic
approach to describe such changes in three contrasting cases, where engineering identity
development was impacted by space, interactions, and the participants’ accountable
disciplinary knowledge. We discuss the implications of our findings on the field of
engineering education, the "leaky" pipeline in engineering programs, and women in
engineering as an underrepresented group.
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