Students becoming content creators rather than merely content consumers is a trend identified in the New Media Consortium Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition (page 14). The trend started with “makerspaces,” a communal place where a group of people join forces to purchase a range of tools that are then shared among the group.
Colleges and universities are developing the concept on campus, providing students with spaces where learning and content creation is integrated as part of their instruction. The spaces provide traditional tools, along with electronic equipment and 3-D printers, to allow students to work on class and self-directed projects.
“A shift is taking place in the focus of pedagogical practice on university campuses all over the world as students across a wide variety of disciplines are learning by making and creating rather than from the simple consumption of content,” the authors of the report wrote. “Creativity, as illustrated by the growth of user-generated videos, maker communities, and crowdfunded projects in the past couple years, is increasingly the means for active, hands-on learning.”
The report highlights the work at Indiana University, Bloomington, which uses its Make-to-Learn Initiative to examine how a do-it-yourself culture can advance learning. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, has created its Student as Producer program that creates semester-long opportunities for student-centered activities, such as creating podcasts and multimedia entries on course blogs.
Campus libraries have become the location of choice for makerspaces because they also provide students with video equipment loans and studios, digitizing facilities, and publication services. The report predicts the trend will reach its full impact on campus in three to five years.