If you would like to conduct a class project in the Maker Hub, you've come to the right place.
Class Project Guidelines for the Maker Hub
In order to properly support student classwork and our faculty, the Maker Hub needs some advance notice for class-related projects that will involve significant Maker Hub usage. Please see the following guidelines below to design and implement a class project in the Maker Hub that has the highest chance of being successful. Yes, it's long... just read it.
Have a Conversation
The first step is to come have a conversation with Nick and Justin about the project. Let’s discuss the feasibility, timeline, training/certifications, equipment usage, necessary materials, and complexity of the project. What are the desired learning outcomes of the project? Detail out as much of the project as you can, and we are happy to help you brainstorm the rest. The earlier we can have a conversation, the better support the Maker Hub will be able to offer.
Let’s also talk about roles and responsibilities between the faculty members, the students, and the Maker Hub staff. Class-related projects are meant to be a collaborative endeavor between all parties—not a hand-off. Faculty need to remain intimately involved in the process; students need to be proactive with their time and get creative when they hit obstacles. The Maker Hub staff is here to train, certify, guide, and support. In general, the Maker Hub staff equips people to do their work. We don't "do the work" for anyone (however, we are not above a good bribe).
Know the Timeline of the Maker Hub
Almost invariably, Maker Hub projects take far longer to complete than we originally anticipate. Add in a heavy dose of student procrastination, and it only gets worse. Student procrastination often ends up becoming a bit of a headache for the Maker Hub staff because our bandwidth to train and help students reaches a limit when there’s a huge rush of frantic students all trying to start and finish their project before tomorrow. However, we can bypass a lot of the student procrastination through some clever homework assigning.
The best recommendation is to break the project up into multiple checkpoints. A sample 3D printing project might follow this timeline...
- Pre-Project: Talk to Nick and Justin about the project. Order materials for the project if necessary (see the “Acquire Materials” section).
- Week 1: Read these 5 specific pages on the Maker Hub Wiki and take the Canvas quizzes for the Maker Hub Intro, the Prototype Lab, and the Prusa 3D Printer.
- Week 2: Schedule time with the Maker Hub staff, Prototype Lab volunteers, or student aces to train on the Prusa 3D Printer and complete the demonstration. At this point, the student is considered “certified” on the Prusa 3D Printer.
- Week 3: Undergo a design phase (see the “Include a Design Phase” section). For 3D printing, this will probably involve drawing the object in CAD.
- Week 4/5: Enter the build phase. Build/Print all parts for the project. Assemble the parts and see if the finished product meets the goal of the project. Iterate if necessary.
As you can see, this process can take a while, but it greatly increases the likelihood of your class project being a success. Please share with Nick and Justin the due dates of the various phases of your project so we know when to expect your students.
Include a Design Phase
We find that students typically need a bit more guidance than simply being “set loose” into the Maker Hub to complete a project. Yes, students “struggling” often leads to learning, but this is one area where we request a good balance of collaboration between the Maker Hub staff and the faculty members to guide the students toward a successful project.
With all that said, we would recommend including some sort of design phase in the project if it makes sense. This might involve building something out of paper or cardboard first. Our Low Fidelity Prototyping Station in the Hub requires no training to use, and it’s full of cardboard, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, glue, tape, googly eyes, and many other materials for drafting up prototypes. The design phase for larger projects will probably include CAD.
The Maker Hub tries to provide as many free materials as we can to students/classes. We request that students/classes cover the cost of materials when expensive/specialized materials are needed or when large quantities of materials are needed. Class projects often use large quantities of materials, and we need to keep close tabs on our material usage to make sure we have enough materials for all of the Maker Hub’s users.
The Maker Hub staff can help recommend certain materials during the initial conversation about the project. Faculty members can handle the purchasing needs for their classes, or they can fill out a rainbow sheet and send it to Katherine who will complete the purchase.