As part of this spring’s BCT 420 and ECO 620 courses (both taught by Alex Schreyer, BCT Program Director), students will explore making and digital fabrication, which will inform a curriculum pilot study by the University of Texas on this topic. The UMass library has been chosen as one of several collaborators nationwide and will guide the local implementation of this study.

Press release below…

Libraries Chosen as Partner in Maker Competencies, Curriculum Pilot Study

February 1, 2018

The UMass Amherst Libraries has been chosen by the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and the University of Nevada-Reno as one of four additional university partners to participate in a pilot study entitled Maker Competencies and the Undergraduate Curriculum.

Funded by a $49,800 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the study seeks to explore the impacts of academic library makerspaces–spaces with technological resources and equipment for project-based collaboration–on undergraduate student learning.

Sarah Hutton, head of undergraduate teaching and learning services at the UMass Amherst Libraries and President of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) New England Chapter, applied for the partnership on behalf of the Digital Media Lab, a cross-disciplinary makerspace in the W. E. B. Du Bois Library where all students have access to professional-quality audiovisual production facilities and equipment, as well as the Makerbot Innovation Center for 3D printing.

As a partner in the study, the Libraries will work toward four main goals: to pilot a diverse selection of undergraduate courses in academic library makerspaces; to expand and improve the early stage list of maker-based competencies originally developed by UTA Libraries’ Maker Literacies Task Force; to create and explore assessment methods and tools for measuring student learning in makerspaces; and to develop an online repository of Open Educational Resources (OER) for utilizing and assessing maker-based competencies.

Hutton will be collaborating with professors Alex Schreyer in the Building and Construction Technology program and Charlie Schweik of environmental conservation and the School of Public Policy during the spring semester in their Makerspace-related class offerings: Schreyer’s “Designing with 3D CAD & BIM” and “Studies in Building Information Modeling” and Schweik’s “Makerspace Leadership and Outreach.”

According to Hutton, “Our hope is to develop competencies that could hopefully be as widely recognized and utilized as theACRL Framework for Information Literacy–essentially, a common language for curriculum mapping and development throughout makerspaces in libraries all over the country and the world.”