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Changing Minds, Transforming Learning Environments: A Collaborative Approach to Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Brian Bielenberg Khalifa University of Science and Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Brian Bielenberg is an Educational Linguist with over 20 years of teaching experience. Holding degrees in engineering and education, he currently serves as Academic Effectiveness Specialist at Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, where he also teaches a freshmen engineering success seminar and sophomore level cornerstone design courses.

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Ali Bouabid Khalifa University of Science and Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Ali Bouabid is currently assistant professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering department at Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Prior to that, he held a faculty position in the General Studies department at the Petroleum Institute, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where he taught and was coordinator of freshmen engineering courses (ENGR101 and ENGR110). He also taught Engineering Design courses (STPS201 and STPS251) and Mechanical Engineering course (MEEGG201). Prior to these appointments in the UAE, Dr. Bouabid was associate professor and Engineering Program coordinator at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) from 2006 to 2014, where he contributed to develop the Engineering program and to establish transfer agreements between PVCC and several universities in Virginia, such as UVA, VT, ODU, and GMU.
His research interests are mainly on Engineering Education and on Environmental Systems. He has contributed to the development of a decision support system for sustainable access to water supply and sanitation services in developing countries. His current research includes investigating potential pathways to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy solutions in developing countries.
Prior to his academic career, Dr. Bouabid worked in the industry (engineering and manufacturing) for more than 12 years in France and in Morocco, where he held several management positions.
Dr. Bouabid holds a DEST (BS) and an Engineer degree (MSc) in Mechanical Engineering from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers of Paris, France and a MSc and a PhD degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia, USA.

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Sami Ainane Khalifa University of Science and Technology

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Sami Ainane
KUST PO Box 2533 Abu Dhabi UAE
Tel: 971-2-607-5983 Mobile: 971-50-2334717


PhD Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 05/1989.
MS Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 05/1983
BS Maitrise Mecanique, Université Joseph-Fourier, Grenoble, France-, 06/1980
Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Villanova University, 01/2009


Head, General Studies 2013-Present
Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi UAE

Dean, Student Affairs 2010-2013
Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering 2009-2010
Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi UAE

Director Undergraduate Studies Advisor, M.S. Mechanical Engineering 1998-2009
Advisor, ENPM (Mech. Engrg and Sustainable Energy Options)
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Maryland, College Park

Faculty Director : Engineering Professional Development 1989-1998
UMBC Training Center

Adjunct Faculty 1993-1998
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Mechanical Engineer 1989-1995
EEC Consulting
Rockville, MD

President, Dome Enterprises 1989 - 1993
Bethesda MD


Best Presentation Award, ICESEEI 2016 : 18th International Conference on Educational Sciences and Effective Educational Instructions. Paris France 2016
Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Enrichment of the Science and Technology Program, Eleanor Roosevelt H.S., Greenbelt MD, 05/2003


1. A. Bouabid, B. Bielenberg, S. Ainane, N. Pasha, “Learning Outcomes Alignment across Engineering Core Courses”, 18th International Conference on Educational Sciences and Effective Educational Instructions Proceedings, Paris France 2016.

2. S. Ainane, A. Bouabid, W. El-Sokkary, “Improving the Engineering Design Process Assessment”, First Year Engineering Experience (FYEE) Conference Proceedings, Columbus, OH 2016.

3. J. Mohamed, S. Ainane, “Establishing a Sustainability Component in an Engineering Design Course” ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, Montreal Canada 2015.

4. Y. Wang, A. H. El-Sinawi, S. Ainane “Improving a pipeline hybrid dynamic model using 2DOF PID”, International Conference VIBROENGINEERING-2016: DYNAMICS OF STRONGLY NONLINEAR SYSTEMS Moscow, Russia 2016

1. American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
2. American Society for Engineering Education
3. Society of Automotive Engineering

ABET Program Evaluator
Member, Board of Advisors, Prince George’s Public Schools Project Lead the Way
U.S. Representative for IJSO (International Junior Science Olympiads)

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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. 10.18260/1-2--30183

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