Fab Academy for Students

1.Fab Academy General Rules

2.Student Application Process

3.Fab Academy Classes

4.Fab Academy Evaluation Process

5.Students Complaints and Grievances


1.Fab Academy General Rules

The role of Fab Academy is to initiate, mentor and technically train new students for participation and leadership in the global Fab Lab Network community. It’s how we train our teachers. It’s also a great way to gain exposure to a wide variety of digital fabrication, electronics, molding and casting and composites practices and build skills in a short amount of time.

This document is written for those interested and/or participating the Fab Academy (both current and aspiring students and labs). It assumes that you already know what a Fab Lab is – and that you already have one or are in the process of setting one up.

Please read the Fab Academy Handbook HERE.


2.Student Application Process

Fab Academy is open to potential students both coming from technical and non-technical backgrounds.  If you have a Low or Medium proficiency in 2D and 3D modeling, Digital fabrication, Electronics programming and Web design and development, the course should be considered a full-time dedication program. It is very important that you understand the implications of the time-commitment needed to successfully complete the program.


How does it work?

  • You have to apply to the course by filling the online form and select a Node from the list of active and accepted Fab Labs (nodes).
    Central Coordination will receive a notification of the application and will re-send the email that contains your profile to the Node you selected.
  • Once the Node receives one or more applications, the Node’s Instructor will contact you to give you details about the lab and the implications of taking a course such as Fab Academy. In addition, they will assess your profile to understand if you are a suitable candidate for the course. Each Node/Fab Lab establishes thei own selection criteria.
  • Once your pass the Selection Process, the Instructor or Node coordinator will inform Central Coordination, who will send accepted students a mail, wilt an Acceptance Letter. The letter will contain the details of the program and payment instructions.
  • Application / Acceptance cycles should not be longer than one month.
  • After you receive your Acceptance letter you have 2 weeks to confirm your seat by paying a Deposit. More payment details here.


3.Fab Academy Classes

Global Lectures

Global lectures happen on Wednesdays at 9:00 AM EST, and last for approximately 3 hours. During the classes, professor Neil Gershenfeld both presents and explains the content and also reviews the work of the students.

In addition to the classes, there are weekly Recitations held on Mondays 9:00 AM EST. These are content driven lectures related to the weekly assignments.


Weekly Regional Reviews

Homework review sessions are led by Gurus and will be staggered according to global time. The exact time will be confirmed by your Instructors.


Local Instruction

During the week, students will work in the Fab Lab, with their peers and under the guidance of their Instructor, to accomplish the weekly assignments. Every Node must ensure:

  • Instruction and technical guidance to all students
  • Students support off hours
  • Archive management (setting and fixing student’s sites on GitLab)



4.Fab Academy Evaluation Process

During Fab Academy, you will learn how to envision, prototype and document your ideas through many hours of hands-on experience with digital fabrication tools. You will work weekly in short term assignments and complete the course with a Final Project mixing and blending all the acquired knowledge. You will be evaluated mainly based on your website, where you will document your work through out the cycle. So it is important that you incorporate from the beginning the habit of documenting your processes, both success and failure.

The evaluation process to assess the progress of Fab Academy students work during the cycle is comprised by 2 layers:
> Local evaluation
> Global evaluation


4.1.Local Evaluation

Local Instructors should be evaluating students work periodically throughout the course. A bi-weekly review is good, a weekly review with the student is ideal.

Instructors must review each student’s work according to the documentation provided by the student, NOT what was observed in the lab. Instructors should discuss incomplete work / documentation with a student on an ongoing basis.


4.2.Global Evaluation

Simultaneously, Global Evaluators are assigned early in the cycle to double check the application to the Assessment standards and provide a general overview of the process.

Instructors are responsible for the evaluation of students while Global Evaluators keep an eye on the general progress, and step in specific cases that require so.


4.3.Graduation Requirements

In order to complete the program and receive the Fab Academy Diploma students need to:

>To have completed and document ALL the assignments, based on the standards of the Assessment Document.
>To have presented the Final Project, in person, to the Faculty and to their peer in the Final Presentations rounds of June (or January, for continuing students).
>To have been evaluated and pass the assessment of both Local Instructor and Global Evaluator.
>To have paid their corresponding Fab Academy tuition fees and the Global Evaluation fees (if is a continuing student)


Continuing students will be assessed by the current standards of the course.

Graduated students have free access to the Fab Conference in the cycle they Graduate in.


4.4.Evaluation tools

The evaluation process is documented in the Evaluation App: nueval.fabacademy.org
There, Students, Instructors and Global Evaluators have a profile and are able to log in to comment and review comments regarding the evaluation process.

The App is the tool for what is called “continuous evaluation” in which there is a constant stream of assignments being evaluated and passed, by both Instructors and Global evaluators, to have an continuously updated picture of student’s status during the cycle. In addition, students receive a continuous reviews that allow informed decisions along the cycle.



4.5.Evaluation dates

June 11: cutoff for submitting weekly assignments, prior to global review
June 13-22: final project presentations (with documentation)
June 22: cutoff for global review feedback
July 1: cutoff for notifications

IMPORTANT: Students fees cover 1 cycle of instruction and assessment, and 1 evaluation cycle. After this period, access to instruction may have extra costs set by local labs; and a new evaluation cycle will cost 250usd. Check Continuing students section here.



Although the classes run from Jan to June, you should be aware that Fab Academy’s processes extend beyond those dates.

Here you can see a draft of the year-round schedule:


JANUARY       _Classes start mid to late January

                       _1st day of class > 2nd Round for the prior cycle’s Final Project Presentation

FEBRUARY    _Classes

MARCH          _Classes


APRIL            _Classes

MAY              _Classes

JUNE            _Classes

                      _Final Presentations

JULY             _Final Evaluations

                     _Fab Conference & Graduation Ceremony

AUGUST       _Break

SEPTEMBER_Nodes & Students Applications are open!

NOVEMBER _Late Nov > Node Application Closes

DECEMBER _Mid Dec > Student Application Closes

5.Students Complaints and Grievances

It is our duty to ensure that all Fab Academy students receive a quality education and that relations between staff and students are equitable. This is why we offer a system for the resolution of disputes, in case they arise.

Please read the Fab Academy Grievances Procedure HERE

File a Complaint HERE