About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8844-8853
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.0933

Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain

ACADEMIC TEACHING AT DIGITAL FABRICATION LABORATORIES IN THE FIELD OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

H. Karre, M. Friessnig, T. Böhm, C. Ramsauer

Graz University of Technology (AUSTRIA)
In 2014, the Institute of Industrial Management and Innovation Research at Graz University of Technology started the first university-based Fab Lab (short for Fabrication Laboratory) in Austria. Fab Labs are part of the global trend Maker Movement. The basic idea of the Maker Movement is to offer individuals access to digital manufacturing tools. Since the opening of Fab Lab Graz more and more students made use of the provided tools and equipment for prototyping their ideas. Integrating the Fab Lab Graz in the academic education may foster the innovation capabilities of the students.

How can a digital fabrication laboratory enhance academic education?
This research focuses on the development of an academic course to foster the innovation capability of engineering students. Restrictions for the course are a maximum amount of 20 participants due to the available resources of Fab Lab Graz and a limited timeframe of five consecutive workdays.

To reach the research objective following approach is applied. First, literature concerning potentials of digital fabrication laboratories in education is searched. Second, an internet search of fabrication laboratories in academic education is conducted and existing courses are compared.

According to literature, digital fabrication laboratories are addressing future needs in education. Identified strengths are principles of hands-on learning and the project based approach. Especially in the field of engineering these institutions promote essential skills like creating, inventing and innovating.

Results of the internet search show that seven out of ten top engineering universities provide a digital fabrication laboratory. Identified courses use a combination of theoretical input and individual projects or practical assignments. To develop a course concept for Graz University of Technology different aspects of existing courses are evaluated.

With the development of the course “design thinking and rapid prototyping” at Graz University of Technology the overall research objective is reached. The developed course is project centered and applies the principles of hands-on learning. Two or three students form a team and work on a pre-defined project in a five-day-course. Theoretical contents are design thinking, rapid prototyping and entrepreneurship. The target of the course is to design and build a functional prototype of a radio-controlled car.

The first run of the developed course in winter term 2016 confirms that a digital fabrication laboratory enhances engineering education. Engineering students report that this was partly their first experience with electronic components, rapid prototyping and a practical application of a design process. The creative freedom within the given task and the collaboration among the student teams are of special interest according to the participants.

The potential of digital fabrication laboratories in higher education has not yet reached its zenith. Future research should address the impact of digital fabrication laboratories on education of further academic fields. Additionally, due to the fact of the remarkable evolution of the Maker Movement, studies on how universities approach this trend and the underlying success factors is suggested.
@InProceedings{KARRE2016ACA,
author = {Karre, H. and Friessnig, M. and B{\"{o}}hm, T. and Ramsauer, C.},
title = {ACADEMIC TEACHING AT DIGITAL FABRICATION LABORATORIES IN THE FIELD OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING},
series = {8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN16 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-8860-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2016.0933},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.0933},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {8844-8853}}
TY - CONF
AU - H. Karre AU - M. Friessnig AU - T. Böhm AU - C. Ramsauer
TI - ACADEMIC TEACHING AT DIGITAL FABRICATION LABORATORIES IN THE FIELD OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
SN - 978-84-608-8860-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2016.0933
PY - 2016
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2016
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN16 Proceedings
SP - 8844
EP - 8853
ER -
H. Karre, M. Friessnig, T. Böhm, C. Ramsauer (2016) ACADEMIC TEACHING AT DIGITAL FABRICATION LABORATORIES IN THE FIELD OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, EDULEARN16 Proceedings, pp. 8844-8853.
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