Makerspaces in Higher Education: Student Engagement
AdvisorLock, Jennifer V.
AuthorPendergast, Shawn Christopher
Committee MemberLock, Jennifer V.
Hughes, Janette Michelle
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe makerspace movement is gaining prominence within higher education. With the promise of improving the student learning experience, institutions invest space and resources to support making and the maker movement. The focus of my study was how postsecondary students engage in learning through makerspace in non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses in an eastern Canadian university. The qualitative case study investigated the implications maker activities have on learning in three non-STEM (Education and Geography) courses. The following questions guided the inquiry: How do postsecondary students engage in learning through makerspace activities in non-STEM courses? What is the nature of academic, social and intellectual student engagement when learning through making in non-STEM course environments? Furthermore, what factors influence or hinder the usage of makerspaces in non-STEM postsecondary course contexts? Data were collected using interviews, observations, and questionnaires with three different classes with subsequent thematic analysis. Three common themes emerged: how students perceived engagement, the impact of an experienced instructor, and the challenges associated with makerspace in a classroom environment. What differed between the three classes was the level of expertise between instructors, the maker activities' format, and the technology used. This study's significant contribution is that it reveals the importance of engagement for both instructor and student. Using makerspaces is one tool that could be considered in non-STEM courses in a university to enhance learning through engagement. For instructors and students to use makerspaces successfully, they must help solve an authentic problem, have experienced staff, have adequate infrastructure, and allow students to reflect on their problems. Implications for practicing makerspaces can be considered at various university leadership levels, from instructor to educational development.
CitationPendergast, S. C. (2020). Makerspaces in Higher Education: Student Engagement (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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