2021 CoNECD

Promising Practices that Promote Inclusivity at University-affiliated Makerspaces within Schools of Engineering

Presented at CoNECD Session : Day 1 Slot 5 Technical Session 4

The maker movement and resulting makerspaces have permeated informal and formal learning spaces over the past decade. However, little work has been done to deepen the understanding of how inclusive these makerspaces are for engineering students from underrepresented groups. These makerspaces, physical spaces where people work on and complete making-related projects and activities, have the potential to create an open and inclusive community where exploration, creativity and collaboration are emphasized. While there is much potential with these makerspaces, we are concerned that these makerspaces may unfairly benefit students from privileged backgrounds, such as those who are white, male, cisgender, heterosexual, and from higher socioeconomic statuses.

Makerspaces support a multidisciplinary learning experience that seeks to create organic learning experiences for the participants. Within engineering education and society, the cultures surrounding makerspaces can enhance the relationship between informal and formal learning; improve teaching methods, evaluation, and assessment; and develop diversity, accessibility, and inclusion [2]. Thus, makerspaces have the potential to help all students incorporate both the practices and culture of engineering outside of traditional engineering classrooms. In this study, we are interested in uncovering promising practices that promote an inclusive environment in makerspaces. We are focusing on what makerspaces are doing well instead of what makerspaces are not doing so well and hope to inspire readers with practices that may work to increase inclusivity within their makerspaces and for engineering students. In this research, we seek to answer the following research question:

What are promising practices for promoting inclusivity of engineering students from underrepresented groups in makerspaces?

Authors
  1. Dr. Nadia N. Kellam Arizona State University [biography]
  2. Dr. Audrey Boklage University of Texas at Austin [biography]
  3. Dr. Brooke Charae Coley Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus [biography]
  4. Ms. Yue Liu Arizona State University [biography]
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