CHI 2021 Panel | Making at a Distance: Teaching Hands-on Courses During the Pandemic


Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

May 11, 2021
7:00pm — 9:00pm ET

Classes involving physical making were severely disrupted by COVID-19. As workshops, makerspaces, and fab labs shut down in Spring 2020, instructors developed new models for teaching physical prototyping, electronics production, and digital fabrication at a distance. Instructors shipped materials and equipment directly to students, converted makerspaces to job-shops, and substituted low-tech construction methods and hobbyist equipment for industrial tools. The experiences of students and instructors during the pandemic highlighted new learning opportunities when making outside the makerspace. Simultaneously, the shutdown raised new questions on the limits of remote learning for digital fabrication, electronics, and manual craft. This panel brings together experts in making to discuss their experiences teaching physical production in art, design, and engineering during the pandemic. Panelists will discuss their teaching strategies, describe what worked and what did not, and argue for how we can best support students learning hands-on skills going forward.


  • Nadya Peek, University of Washington (MIT CBA alum)
  • Jennifer Jacobs, University of California Santa Barbara (MIT Media Lab alum)
  • Neil Gershenfeld, MIT (CBA)
  • Wendy Ju, Cornell Tech
  • Tom Igoe, New York University
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