Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
This paper describes a mixed methods study that examines the impacts on both faculty and students of implementation of a required Fundamentals of Innovation and Entrepreneurship course in the curricula of engineering programs at a technological university in the Middle East. In 2015 the Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates entered into a collaboration with Stanford University to develop a course to be taken by all university students in the country, a course based on the decades of practice and experience teaching innovation and entrepreneurship at Stanford University. The overall aim of the course is to support the UAE’s national strategy on innovation and accelerate its innovation talent development by equipping the next generation of Emiratis with an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset and its related core skills. The questions guiding this study are 1) What impacts do the pre-designed course activities have on both students and the faculty who are facilitating the course, 2) How appropriate are the materials for the local cultural environment, and 3) How can the course best be made part of an engineering program?
The developed course is a Stanford-informed approach to learning innovation and entrepreneurship that, in theory, can be applied to any high-growth enterprise or other organization in the UAE. It is composed of three modules: Design Thinking, Entrepreneurship, and Growth and Leadership. Most sessions include a mix of components: mini-lecture, discussion, interactive activities in class, and open Q&A. The initiative includes a self-paced, online resource designed to provide UAE faculty members with content, pedagogies, and teaching tools to teach the course effectively in the UAE. A combination of faculty and student focus groups, surveys, and classroom ethnography provide insights into the transformative nature of the pedagogical approaches of the course, both in how the faculty teach and how students learn. Of particular interest are the ways in which physical changes in the learning environment can enhance the impacts on both teaching and learning beyond the pedagogies themselves. Finally, student feedback provides initial insights into the degree to which the overall aim – changing mindsets – is being achieved.
The findings of this initial study have led our department to adapt the general innovation and entrepreneurship course in two ways. First, the content has been modified to make it more relevant and culturally appropriate to the lived experiences of the UAE students. Second, the course has been expanded to also encompass aspects of a more traditional cornerstone engineering design course. Specific discussion focuses on the development of a vertical sequencing of learning outcomes and performance indicators that make clear to both instructors and students what knowledge is to be learned, what skills and aspects of competence are to be developed, and the level of student autonomy expected across a series of courses. By establishing a scope and sequence of outcomes across a vertical spine of design and entrepreneurship courses we hope to have laid the groundwork for promoting transfer of knowledge and skills both to subsequent courses and to future employment.
Bielenberg, B., & Bouabid, A., & Ainane, S. (2018, June), Changing Minds, Transforming Learning Environments: A Collaborative Approach to Innovation and Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30183
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