Making Makerspaces

We had a very successful course run at MIT August 8-10, 2016.


The course is a small investment for participants that want to know how to obtain measureable/justifiable impact from large investments (tens of thousands to millions of dollars) their university will spend to create a makerspace(s).  This course will help youunderstand how to invest money, space and other resources to obtain the results that you want.  The course provides knowledge, and covers best practices, that have been used to design, create/upgrade and sustain safe and productive modern academic makerspaces.  We cover proven methods to get students excited about using these spaces, forming peer-mentoring communities within these spaces and perpetuating a culture of safe, fun and responsible use.  We’ll also cover fundamental principles of successful makerspaces:

  • Understanding the general types and their pros/cons,
  • The import of culture and community
  • Assessing impact/justification
  • Staffing and training models
  • Common maker equipment
  • Optimizing access while minimizing boundaries
  • Creating effective safety systems
  • Understanding safety and complimentary policy, insurance, legal and regulatory issues

Each afternoon participants will work in groups to practice implementing material covered in class.  Depending on participant interest, activities may include: student surveys/data gathering, policy documents, access plans, programming (hobby use, personal use, class/research use, entrepreneurial, etc…), safety and training plans, machine selection or facility layout/design.  We will cover examples of successful makerspaces from several universities and participants will tour a variety of MIT’s 40+ maker spaces (engineering, science, dorm-based, artistic, student teams, classroom, etc.)

Registration will open May 14th via the MIT Innovation Initiative.


Martin Culpepper

Prof. Culpepper serves as MIT’s Maker Czar and leads MIT’s ‘Project Manus’ program – the upgrade and enhancement of MIT’s maker capabilities.  This includes improving access for students, conversion of old spaces/equipment, introduction of new technologies, creation of new campus spaces and outreach to other schools in the form of collaboration and consulting.

Vincent Wilczynski
Yale University

Vincent Wilczynski is the Deputy Dean of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science and the James S. Tyler Director of the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation & Design. As the CEID Director, leads a university-wide effort to promote collaboration, creativity, design and manufacturing activities at Yale’s academic makerspace.

Craig Forest
Georgia Institute of Technology

Craig Forest is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he also holds program faculty positions in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. He is cofounder/organizer of one of the largest undergraduate invention competitions in the US—The InVenture Prize, and founder/organizer of one of the largest student-run prototyping facilities in the US—The Invention Studio.

P. Zach Ali
Carnegie Mellon University

Technical Director for CMU’s Integrative Design, Arts & Technology (IDeATe) Program-  Zach Ali has been researching, developing, & deploying Makerspaces since 2005. Specializing in Integrative Design, his focus is directed toward improving User experience, throughout the creative process- by implementing flexible and customized solutions.

Aaron Hoover
Franklin Olin College of Engineering

Aaron Hoover is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Olin College of Engineering. He is currently leading an effort to reimagine and realign Olin’s creative spaces and fabrication resources to support its unique, hands-on, project-based curriculum. He believes strongly that student ownership and empowerment are critical to the creation of viable academic makerspaces.