BiSSL Collaborative Paper Accepted to the 2022 ASEE Conference & Exposition

A collaborative paper with Dr. Julie Linsey at Georgia Institute of Technology, led by BiSSL Ph.D. student Samuel Blair and co-written with MS student Garrett Hairston, has been accepted to the 2022 ASEE Conference & Exposition. The paper, titled “Modularity Analysis of Makerspaces to Determine Potential Hubs and Critical Tools in the Makerspace,” was accepted to the Design in Engineering Education Division. The conference will be held in Minneapolis, MN at the end of June.

Abstract: Globally, universities have heavily invested in makerspaces. Purposeful investment however requires an understanding of how students use tools and how tools aid in engineering education. This paper utilizes a modularity analysis in combination with student surveys to analyze and understand the space as a network of student-tool interactions. The results show that a modularity analysis is able to identify the roles of different tool groupings in the space by measuring how well tool groups are connected within their own “module” and their connection to tools outside of their module. A highly connected tool in both categories is considered a hub that is critical to the network. Poorly connected tools indicate insignificance or under utilization. Makerspaces at two universities were investigated: School A with a full-time staff running the makerspace and School B run by student-volunteers. The results show that 3D printers and metal tools are hubs at School A and 3D printers, metal tools, and laser cutters are hubs at School B. School B was also found to have a higher overall interaction with all the tools in the space. The modularity analysis results are validated using two-semesters worth of student self-reported survey data. The results support the use of a modularity analysis as a way to analyze and visualize the complex network interactions occurring within a makerspace, which can support the improvement of current makerspaces and development of future makerspaces.

Blair, Samuel, Henry Banks, Garrett Hairston, Julie Linsey, and Astrid Layton. 2022. “Modularity Analysis of Makerspaces to Determine Potential Hubs and Critical Tools in the Makerspace.” ASEE 2022 Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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