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UMass Amherst Libraries Made Partner in Maker Competencies and the Undergraduate Curriculum Pilot Study

Makerspace CMS Photo

The UMass Amherst Libraries have 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 (IMLS), 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 UMass Amherst Libraries will work towards 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 various 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.

To accomplish these goals, Hutton will be collaborating with UMass Amherst Professors Alex Schreyer in the Building and Construction Technology program and Charlie Schweik of Environmental Conservation and the School of Public Policy over the Spring 2018 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 the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy–essentially, a common language for curriculum mapping and development throughout makerspaces in libraries all over the country and the world.”