The rise of “design thinking”, increased attention on the intersection between research and innovation, and a general emphasis on “problem-based/driven learning” is resulting in an acknowledgment that 21st-century challenges will require new graduates to be innovative and have interdisciplinary backgrounds. Makerspaces often encapsulate these different trends in higher education as they are workspaces that facilitate collaboration in creating, exploring, and learning, and can have high-tech equipment or no technology tools at all. UW–Madison (UW) and the Tashkent Chemical Technological Institute (TCTI) are working together in academic year 2020–2021 on the development of a makerspace at TCTI.
The main goal of this project is to share the experience of UW’s Makerspace to ultimately develop and strengthen the applied skills of TCTI engineering students with innovative methods of “teaching by doing”. The project facilitates the opening of an innovative interdisciplinary Makerspace Lab at TCTI that aims to improve the quality of engineering education, provide an inextricable link between theoretical knowledge and practical skills of students, help organize “peer to peer” training courses by students and serves as a pilot project that could be implemented in the future in all technical universities in Uzbekistan.
The proposal—funded by the American Councils UniCEN program—focuses on the following key overarching areas:
- Technical Consultation: UW provides TCTI with ongoing technical consultation on the development of the makerspace in terms of priorities, practices, programming, policies and developing materials for industry partnership engagement.
- Curricular and Programming Consultation: UW works with TCTI to provide ongoing consultation on the integration of the makerspace into the university’s curriculum and the development of co-curricular student programming.