Bring your class or group to the Maker Hub! Our class orientations offer an overview of what’s possible in Elon’s makerspaces. Students will see example projects, learn about how they can access the Hub and compete with their classmates in a hands-on competition that emphasizes the importance of prototypes and iterative design. It’s an excellent introduction to the maker community on campus.
The Hub has hosted orientations for classes in nearly all academic disciplines, including English, engineering, astronomy, computer science, communications, theater, education, business and Elon 101.
Academic Making at Elon
Below are examples of projects where faculty and students have utilized the Maker Hub for a class assignment or research. These are just a few of the many ways the Maker Hub supports the intellectual climate at Elon.
Combining research with 3D prints in Latin
Tedd Wimperis wanted his Elementary Latin students to create a museum exhibit of Roman artifacts and portraits to display on campus. He also wanted his students to have a thorough understanding of those artifacts. Tedd assigned his students a research paper and, working with the Maker Hub, required them to find and 3D-print an artifact of significance to the course. The result was a display of 3D-printed artifacts, a short description of each and the name of the student who made them. The assignment allowed students to relate to the course content in a new way and learn a new digital literacy competency.
Pushing students to create original work
Entrepreneurship students have several assignments in the Maker Hub. For the 400-level course, Dr. Sean McMahon wanted his students to apply the soldering and laser engraving skills they learned in previous classes to create something new. For this assignment, students had to create a custom-designed light-up sign. In post-project feedback, nearly all students reported pride in what they made and several noted that they didn’t think they were capable of making something like that.
Authenticity in an honors class
In Dr. Alexis Franzese’s honors class about authenticity, she wanted her students to express themselves. She brought her class to the Maker Hub where they went through a prototyping exercise to design one letter from the word Authenticity that represented their true self. The students appreciated creating an individual project that contributed to a class project. In addition to the exercise, Michael Vaughn led a presentation about “Why Making Matters” to reiterate the importance of makerspaces in Higher Education. The presentation led to a robust class discussion.
History professor Dr. Charles Irons 3D-printed artifacts from enslaved people. The 3D files were downloaded from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Virtual Curation Lab. These artifacts served as talking points in a discussion of material culture and different ways of knowing and imagining the experience of enslaved people in his courses. Read more about Charles’s project.
Skill building in entrepreneurship
Dr. Sean McMahon and Dr. Elena Kennedy wanted to give their entrepreneurship students opportunities to improve their technical skills. With help from the Maker Hub, they developed an assignment that required students to make three small projects in the Maker Hub in three weeks. The assignment helped students learn fundamental fabrication skills while building their confidence as makers.
Augmenting existing assignments in theatre
Students in Natalie Hart’s Scenic Design for Theatre course have always built scale models of original set designs. Partnering with the Maker Hub, Natalie’s students were able to augment their models with 3D-printed and laser-etched pieces. Plus, the Maker Hub provided a large workspace where students worked on their models together, sharing ideas and helping each other.
Creating parts for activities in physics
Dr. Kyle Altmann builds components for lab and classroom activities in the Maker Hub. Kyle 3D-printed a part that allowed his students to increase or decrease the magnetic pull of a vehicle going around a miniature track. It allowed his students to question and discover answers to specific course-related topics.
Adding a medium to the message in communications
A laser engraver is a powerful tool to cut and etch all types of materials. Ben Hannam, in his Design of Visual Images course, trained his students to use the engraver for package and menu redesign projects. The assignment gave his students experience with a tool that will differentiate their work from traditional graphic design projects.
Preparing students for the future in archeology
Converting artifacts to 3D models is becoming standard practice in archaeology. For this reason, students in Dr. Rissa Trachman’s Introduction to Archaeology course created 3D models of artifacts using a process called photogrammetry. The process required students to convert dozens of still photos into a high-quality 3D model. Students then converted, resized and printed the artifact on the 3D printers in the Maker Hub. Along with the artifact, students kept a journal of their process and wrote a research paper about their specific artifact.
Including students in professional research in biology
Dr. Jen Hamel is building durable, low-cost gear for detecting vibrations that insects use to communicate. Together with students, she created dozens of these instruments to take into the field. Their goal is to facilitate their research and lower the cost and expertise needed to listen to the hidden world of sound.
Make and analyze simple musical instruments in physics
In their physics Lab course, Jeremy Hohertz and Shon Gilliam asked students to create simple musical instruments using their understanding of the physics of waves and sounds. Groups created acoustic instruments that were functional, reliable, tunable, with musical range and loud enough to participate in the Symphosium, an end-of-the-semester event. Students also created a video demonstrating their instrument and a poster detailing measurements that validated the instrument’s design.
Creating a prototype in undergraduate research
Students Ashley Wenz and Olivia Jung began designing a therapeutic boot to help heal diabetic foot ulcers in the Maker Hub during the summer of 2016. Ashley kept the project going with instructors Daryl Lawson (physical therapy) and Chris Arena (engineering). The group was recently awarded a $95,000 grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to continue their work.
Building custom rockets in engineering
Dr. Sirena Hargrove-Leak instructed students in her entry-level engineering course to design, 3D-print and launch model rockets. After designing the rocket in a simulator to verify its flight worthy, they worked with the Maker Hub to 3D-print the rockets and launch them into the sky.
Astronomy instruments assignment
Instructor Maria Falbo asked her Introduction to Astronomy students to build an instrument that measures the position of the sun. Students were given an orientation to the Maker Hub and encouraged to utilize the space for their project.
Gathering data for undergraduate research
Emma Boniche, a student and Maker Hub staff member, built a motion sensor to track habitat selection by anoles (lizards) as part of her undergraduate research project for Biology of Animal Behavior. She made a custom motion detector with a laser and an Arduino micro-controller to track the animal’s movement between warm and cool environments, then exported the data to an SD card for analysis.
Creating custom microscope accessories in biology
Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a new microscope for one feature, Eric Bauer custom-built an accessory that attaches to the biology department microscopes. The accessory shines blue light onto the zebrafish to make them glow yellow, then filters out the light to give the viewer a clear look at the fish.
3D-print an artifact assignment
In her Viking, Saxons and Monks Winter Term course, Holly Silvers instructed students to recreate an artifact based on readings done in class. She invited them to use the 3D printers in the Maker Hub to turn their designs into a physical artifact. Maker Hub staff helped students find existing 3D models, build new models and 3D-print their artifacts.
Do you have questions about how you can use the Hub in your class? Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a consultation with an instructional technologist.