The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Category: Courses & Workshops

Digital Media Lab Operations Change Due to COVID-19

The Digital Media Lab has modified its offerings due to COVID-19.  You can find information about these specific changes on the services pages.  Please contact DML staff with any questions, 

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Here are a selection of projects the Digital Media Lab have collaborated on. 

Today is the day the Digital Media Lab hosts the visiting students from the United Arab Emirates. The two-week program in the DML will focus on some of the United Nations Sustainability Goals.

Avery Forbes, a student from the Makespace Leadership course (hosted in the DML space), demonstrated the Gravity Light she built and explained some of the ‘maker principles’ that helped in the design process.

A Gravity Light is a gravity-powered light-emitting device for use in developing nations. A bag containing weights such as stones or heavy books is attached to a cord and slowly descends over some time. The process drives a motor that produces electricity, which powers the light.

"Education USA Academy is a short-term academic program that provides English language courses, college preparatory content, tours of diverse colleges and universities, and cross-cultural activities to 15- to 17-year-old students from around the world."

Groups will be learning about 3D Printing and Virtual Reality at the Digital Media Lab

Charlie Schweik (lead facilitator) – Dept of Environmental Conservation and School of Public Policy  ( Charlie has expertise in the broad phenomenon called ‘Commons-based Peer Production’ that drives the open science/maker movement. He will act as the primary facilitator of the course, and overall week to week management of this ‘uncourse.’

 Office: 324 Holdsworth Hall


Office hours: by appointment (and we will meet on Friday afternoons!)


Steve Acquah – Coordinator, Digital Media Lab, Associate professor of Chemistry (Adj.). Steve and his team at the DML provides the space for our class, and serves as technical assistance to the teams, especially in areas such as 3D design and printing.


Introduction: What is a makerspace?


A makerspace is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build. The ‘Maker Culture’ emphasizes learning though doing-it-yourself, or doing-it-together, in a social environment and utilizing open access licensed materials available on the Internet. Often, but not always, projects focus on open source technologies such as Arduino Microcontrollers, 3D design and printing and other such technologies. If you’ve ever attended the International Makerfaire in NY City you see all kinds of maker projects and gadgetry and how much fun and serious learning (!) can be accomplished through the open maker paradigm.


“Making” at university campuses worldwide has four great untapped “potentials” and students in this class, will be leading the way.


In this interdisciplinary, project-based seminar, we will examine innovative approaches to problem-solving through ‘makerspace principles.’  Drawing from the course readings and discussions in your Power of Ideas courses, you will be examining issues with potential political, financial or social impact in any of the three thematic categories:


  • Green technology
  • Climate issues
  • Imported labor

The main goal of this seminar is to bring something back - a conceptualization of a project which aims to solve a real-world problem; this solution could be anything from a solid fabricated object, to a recorded video or audio file, digital story, or compelling editorial piece.  The intent is to engage your creative problem-solving skills and work within teams toward a shared solution.


More on Makerspaces


What is a makerspace?


Makerspaces and the maker mindset (an interview with John Spencer):


Open educational resources (OER) in library makerspaces: