Project Nights and open-ended design research

Awardees: Madeline Hickman, Elaine Kristant (SEAS), Robert Hart, and Daniel Rosenberg (FAS)

Summary: Awardees will measure the effects of open-ended extracurricular projects on student learning.

While students have many opportunities to use the SEAS Active Learning Labs and other academic spaces for classwork, there is limited capacity for after-hours use for personal projects despite student interest. Recognizing that related extracurricular activities help reinforce and apply lessons learned in the classroom, Active Learning Design Specialist Madeline Hickman and team aim to enable students to explore new fabrication methods, practice skills learned in the classroom, and enhance their design thinking, without the pressure of academic success.

Building on a series of themed “Project Nights” initiated during the 2016-2017 academic year, these workshops will help build an ongoing community of makers and builders, and encourage students to be creative and confident using labs.

Additionally, the team will research and document (a) how and where students currently make things on campus, (b) the need for an extracurricular community around making and design, and (c) the long-term impact of extracurricular “tinkering” on student success in the classroom as well as post-graduation.