June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
23.242.1 - 23.242.20
Madison Longboard: Incorporating an Entrepreneurship Case Study within Core Mechanical Engineering CurriculumIt is apparent from reports like The Engineer of 2020 that an engineer’s education would benefitfrom instruction in entrepreneurship. Traditional engineering curriculum leaves little time forextra coursework. A recent survey of 110 U.S.-based engineering programs showed that lessthat 20% “routinely practice” any type of business or entrepreneurship activity . In general,engineering faculty has not embraced the teaching of entrepreneurship; only 16.5% routinelyengage engineering students in entrepreneurship . This stands in contrast with studentexpectations; 82% of engineering students agreed with the statement “entrepreneurship educationcan broaden my career prospects and choices” .In this study we explore the benefits and challenges of integrating entrepreneurship into coreengineering curriculum. This is accomplished by combining a business school-style case studyfeaturing a realistic entrepreneurial scenario with a typical engineering lab. “MadisonLongboard” chronicles two engineering students as they start a company that makes skateboardsspecialized for marathon competition. The case study introduces several entrepreneurialconcepts, such as business models, mission statements, and SWOT analysis, in the context ofproduct development that requires calculation of static forces that lead to design and sourcingdecisions. Two engineering labs on forces, moments, and shear stresses support the ability toresolve the business problem presented in the case study.The case study and labs will be integrated into a 10-week, 20-session introductory solidmechanics course at a western private university in fall quarter 2012. The case study will bediscussed during two of the ten lectures and labs will be two of the seven labs conducted duringthe quarter. A pre-post survey (estimated n = 80) will be administered around each lecture/lab toassess learning of both the engineering and entrepreneurship concepts.We hypothesize that this specific case study approach will deliver a thorough understanding ofthe core engineering concepts and a significant increase in understanding of basic entrepreneurialconcepts. This will be measured through a survey that reflects the principles of Social CognitiveCareer Theory where learning experiences influence both self-efficacy and outcomeexpectations, which in turn influence career interest. Self-efficacy will be measured through pre-post student assessment of confidence in undertaking entrepreneurial tasks. Outcomeexpectations will be measured through pre-post student assessment of career expectations. Coresolid mechanics learning will be measured with the Statics Concept Inventory assessment.This pilot curriculum will determine if entrepreneurial concepts can be incorporated intoengineering curriculum without compromising the learning of core engineering concepts. Thedevelopment and delivery of this curriculum has proven to be challenging, as it requires an in-depth understanding of the core engineering concepts, an understanding of relevantentrepreneurial concepts, and the ability to tell an engaging story. Jamieson L. H., and Lohmann J. R., 2012, Innovation with Impact: Creating a Culture for Scholarly and Systematic Innovation in Engineering Education, American Society for Engineering Education, Washington DC. Duval-Couetil N., Reed-Rhoads T., and Haghighi S., 2012, “Engineering Students and Entrepreneurship Education: Involvement, Attitudes and Outcomes,” International Journal of Engineering Education, 28(2), p. 425.
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