MSJC joins CCC Maker Spring Symposium

MSJC joins CCC Maker Spring Symposium

By Tom Oxford, Program Director, MSJC Eagle MakerSpace

Mt San Jacinto College was pleased to have participated in the excellent Southern California version of the 2018 CCC Maker Spring Symposium at Glendale Community College in March. Two highly illuminating panel discussions preceded a tour of the GCC makerspace and adjoining machine shop. Then all attendees, representing makerspace programs from both Southern and Northern California, gave a round-robin style briefing on their activities.

This article highlights a handful of ideas by which the author was struck… and which will influence program activities at MSJC.

Speaker Michael Ritterbrown, VP of Instructional Services at GCC, spoke regularly of project-based and work-based learning and made reference to Redesigning American Community Colleges (Thomas R. Bailey, et al.), which advocates a wholly new structure for postsecondary education in view of the rapid pace of technology change. As Michael put it, current structure presumably provides for efficient processing of students in neat classroom rows… and it is outmoded in many respects. Makerspace development contributes to changed direction.

CCC Maker’s Technical Assistance Provider Deborah Bird said, referring to the symposium attendees, we are the change agents to develop an entrepreneurial mindset among students, to instill a sense of agency so they can advocate for themselves… and belong to a community of lifelong learners who can keep pace with technological advance.

Salomon Davila of CCC Maker’s Technical Assistance Provider introduced an expert panel that addressed Connecting to Regional Businesses. One message – listen to what business wants… and take it slow. Another – soft skills are paramount… OJT can only work if employees are teachable. And – employers are as interested in what prospective employees (students) DO, as in what they know.

The GCC machine tools shop is extraordinary, outfitted with modern CNC equipment and serving student projects for Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL in Pasadena) and other organizations.

The GCC makerspace occupies a single large room, is outfitted with 3D printers, computer workstations, work benches, audio/video setup, and a variety of other equipment and tools. Deborah said, once employers see what students can do in this setting, amazing things begin to happen.

She has said this before… once idea-making is in the hands of the students, activities accelerate in a remarkable way.                   This lesson is important for MSJC.

The community college representatives in the CCC Maker group are good company. Their enthusiasm for their work is contagious, they’re interested in the progress of others, and they’re listening for tips. Here are some concerning internships:
New World of Work modules provide good soft skills training; sometimes faculty will not permit their students to attend this part of onboarding because “it’s already covered in class.”
– For in-makerspace internships, teach soft skills.
– Multiple internships means the same student can experience more than one employer.
– Stay close to your internship candidates. When one loses interest and ducks out, employer relations takes a bad hit.

CCC Maker TAP puts on a good program. We’re indebted to them and to GCC.

Comments (1)

  • Deborah A. Bird - 3 years ago

    Great observations Tom. Looking forward to seeing you and your team at the next symposium in the Fall.