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Introduction to the Experiential Learning Commons (ELC) team, our spaces, equipment, and services.

The "Why?"

The Experiential Learning Commons (ELC) is committed to supporting the Baylor Library's mission to lead as an innovative research library that undergirds scholarship, fosters teaching and learning, and builds communities by maintaining a space of creativity, exploration, and innovation dedicated to doing. We believe that in order to be critically engaged in the world, you need to experience that world through hands-on, meaningful interactions. We approach this through the concept of critical making - creation as an act of thinking - that provides an entry point to larger discussions about why things are built in the first place.

We approach this in three ways:

  1. Providing resources such as tools, audiovisual equipment, and professional video production to further scholarship through innovative approaches to research and modes of presentation.
  2. Enlisting subject matter experts in making and digital media to consult with faculty and staff to build engaging learning opportunities in the classroom, across campus, and into the surrounding Waco community in addition to creative workshops and training for students in a variety of concepts and skills.
  3. Cultivating a space of inquiry and experimentation in the Moody Library via a Makerspace and multiple Studios to foster a community of creative scholars extending our understanding of learning and service through expressive forms of making; physical and digital. Join us in exploring the world through creative expression and experimentation!


"Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” - David Kolb, Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development
"Critical making is an elision of two typically disconnected modes of engagement in the world—‘critical thinking,’ often considered as abstract, explicit, linguistically based, internal and cognitively individualistic; and ‘making,’ typically understood as material, tacit, embodied, external and community-oriented" - Ratto & Hockema, FLWR PWR: Tending the Walled Garden
"Most simply, critical making is a contraction of the terms 'critical thinking' and 'making': to think by building things. The term itself was coined by Matt Ratto in 2008 to describe the combination of critical thought with hands-on making: if we can critically think, why can't we also critically make? By bringing pedagogical practice together with material engagement, he sought to open up and extend critical social reflection." - Garnet Hertz, Critical Making + DIY
"Cleverly exploring the difficult lived-through experiences is more stimulating than making something faster or more efficient. These themes and lessons can help steer the maker movement towards art and research... [and] extend itself into a larger discussion about why things are built in the first place." - Garnet Hertz, Critical Making + DIY



Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Hertz, Garnet. Two Terms: Critical Making + DIY. Accessed February 18, 2022.

Hertz, Garnet. What is Critical Making?. Accessed February 18, 2022.

Ratto, M., & Hockema, S. FLWR PWR: Tending the walled garden. Walled garden. 2009. 51-60.

Ratto, Matt. “Critical Making: Conceptual and Material Studies in Technology and Social Life.” The Information Society, vol. 27, no. 4, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011, pp. 252–60,

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