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BeAM Resources for Faculty and Course Instructors

UNC-Chapel Hill is an institution of innovative learning, where educators continually pioneer creative ideas for new curriculum. BeAM is here to help, supporting faculty and instructors who want to integrate design and making into their courses.

Instructors from more than 30 different academic departments have integrated BeAM-supported maker projects into their courses. BeAM supports many different types of maker project, from low-fidelity prototypes that students create at home, to complex digital design projects that students fabricate in the makerspaces.

Read this report from the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education to learn more about the positive impact of maker education on student learning and cognition.

Read about how design, making, and makerspaces fit into the new Gen Ed Curriculum.


BeAM at Home

In some circumstances, it may be helpful to offer students the option to make their projects at home, rather than in the makerspace. The main challenge to this option is students’ varying access to tools and materials – projects completed at home won’t be able to rely on larger makerspace tools like laser cutters or 3D printers.

Two BeAM resources below can support students in making projects at home: a ‘materials at home’ guide for thinking through household items that could be used for prototyping, and a ‘tools kits’ program that instructors can opt into to allow their students to check out a limited number of BeAM tool kits.

Click here to access the Materials at Home guide.

Read more about the Tool Kits program for academic courses.

BeAM Online

To increase the flexibility of BeAM’s resources, many of the trainings have been moved online and/or include training projects that can be completed asynchronously. Instructors can collaborate with the BeAM Education Program Manager to customize parts of the training for their course.

Instructors can also consider assigning a project that requires iterating on a digital design for a fabrication tool (e.g. designing a project for the laser cutter), rather than physically fabricating the object in the makerspace. To support digital design projects, BeAM now offers online Zoom consultations with professional staff to any UNC student, staff, or faculty member.

Access the new BeAM online trainings in Sakai here.

See an example of a course-specific training project for the laser cutter here.

Read more about options for digital design projects here.

Access the BeAM consultation scheduling system here.

BeAM in Person

BeAM will open the Murray and Carmichael makerspaces for the Fall 2020 semester on August 17th. The maximum capacity for these spaces has been reduced due to COVID-19, but the operating hours have been expanded to compensate for this.

The Murray makerspace will have ‘Reserved for Research, Coursework, or Entrepreneurship’ hours (referred to as ‘R4’ hours) during the mornings where students in maker-integrated courses can reserve time on a makerspace tool. The Carmichael makerspace will have ‘Course Instructor’ hours in the mornings where faculty and course instructors can reserve blocks of time for their students. The evenings in both makerspaces are open for working on all types of projects, but visitors must reserve a time on a tool during these hours as well.

See the current BeAM operating hours for both Murray and Carmichael here.

Schedule a session during ‘Course Instructor’ hours or reserve a tool during ‘R4’ hours here.



BeAM Education staff want to support course instructors in challenging their students to design and make physical objects. Sometimes that might involve makerspace tools like the laser cutter or the 3D printers, but sometimes the makerspaces might not be the right tool for the project. That’s okay! It’s good to give your students the option to choose based on their design.

However, makerspace tools can often be intimidating to students, who may choose not to use the makerspaces due to unfamiliarity or apprehension. It’s important to empower the students to make choices that best serve their design, and part of that is providing training that increases their comfort level with available tools.

BeAM trainings can be customized to your course’s specific needs and goals. The BeAM Education Program Manager works with faculty across campus to determine the best fit for each course instructor’s goals – please fill out the form at the bottom of this page to start exploring the available options for your course.

BeAM staff empathize with the difficult task of planning your course around possible closures or procedural changes caused by COVID-19. To mitigate this, the BeAM Education Program Manager works with faculty and course instructors to determine contingency plans for a variety of scenarios. Many of the options mentioned in the ‘At Home, Online, In Person’ tabs above can be incorporated into both a ‘Plan A’ and a ‘Plan B’ for your course.

In the event that changes arise either with the course or the makerspaces, course instructors can rely on proactive communication and planning between the BeAM Education Program Manager.

Redesigning or adding elements to your course always takes time, but the BeAM staff are here to support your work with makerspace course integration. One option is to start with a small project over a short time frame, rather than a larger semester-long project. Another option is to tie in your existing assignments into the design process, ensuring that your favorite assignments directly support your design/making project.

Want to know more about this process? Take a look at our Makerspace Course Design flyer.

Absolutely! If you fill out the contact form below, the BeAM Program Coordinator will be in contact with you to set up a consultation. During this consultation, we’ll discuss project ideas, scheduling needs, the prototyping process, and other ways that BeAM can support you with your makerspace course integration.

Contact Us!