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Designing an Introductory Entrepreneurial Thinking Course

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Classes in Entrepreneurship

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.379.1 - 23.379.46



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Paper Authors


Daniel M. Ferguson Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Daniel M. Ferguson is a graduate student in the Engineering Education Program at Purdue University and the recipient of NSF awards for research in engineering education. Prior to coming to Purdue he was Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Ohio Northern University. Before assuming that position he was Associate Director of the Inter-professional Studies Program and Senior Lecturer at Illinois Institute of Technology and involved in research in service learning, assessment processes and interventions aimed at improving learning objective attainment. Prior to his University assignments he was the Founder and CEO of The EDI Group, Ltd. and The EDI Group Canada, Ltd, independent professional services companies specializing in B2B electronic commerce and electronic data interchange. The EDI Group companies conducted syndicated market research, offered educational seminars and conferences and published The Journal of Electronic Commerce. He was also a Vice President at the First National Bank of Chicago, where he founded and managed the bank’s market leading professional Cash Management Consulting Group, initiated the bank’s non credit service product management organization and profit center profitability programs and was instrumental in the breakthrough EDI/EFT payment system implemented by General Motors. Mr. Ferguson is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Stanford University.

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James Edwin Cawthorne Jr. Purdue University, West Lafayette


Ruth Streveler Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ruth A. Streveler is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Dr. Streveler has been the Principle Investigator or co-Principle Investigator of ten grants funded by the US National Science Foundation. She has published articles in the Journal of Engineering Education and the International Journal of Engineering Education and has contributed to the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. She has presented workshops to over 500 engineering faculty on four continents. Dr. Streveler’s primary research interests are investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering science and helping engineering faculty conduct rigorous research in engineering education.

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Assessing an Introductory Entrepreneurial Thinking Course for Undergraduate Engineers In order to assess an introductory entrepreneurial thinking course there are three requiredpieces of information: (Pelligrino, Chudowsky, & Galaser, 2001)1. What do you expect the students to be able to do and learn (learning objectives)?2. What evidence will you collect about what students are doing and learning?3. How will you assess the evidence that you collect?Assume that you expect the undergraduate engineers who successfully complete thisintroductory entrepreneurial thinking course to achieve three learning objectives:1. Be able to evaluate entrepreneurial [new venture] opportunities,2. Exhibit and be able to assess presentation skills, and3. Be able to assess entrepreneurial competencies in themselves and others.Finally assume that you believe sustained and long lasting learning is the goal of your course andthat long lasting and deep learning only occurs when you design and assess the course at thehighest levels of cognitive difficulty as defined in Bloom's taxonomy of learning. Table 1contains an excerpt of the mapping of the learning tasks to Bloom's taxonomy.(Anderson et al.,2000) We propose to answer three critical assessment questions for this entrepreneurial thinkingcourse with the three learning objectives cited above:How do you properly align and assess this course (designed to encourage growth inentrepreneurial thinking)? What theoretical frameworks underlie the course design? (Pelligrino,et al., 2001; Svinicki, 2004)). Does the design of student learning help students retain andtransfer their learning on entrepreneurial thinking? (Svinicki, 2004) Experiential learning of entrepreneurial concepts based around the use of Kolb's learningcycle is one way to position the entrepreneurial thinking understandings that you expect studentsto acquire. This means that students need to reflect, conceptualize, experiment and do the thingsthat entrepreneurs do (Kolb & Fry, 1979) in order to acquire the learning envisioned in theentrepreneurial thinking learning objectives cited above and they need to do them at the highestlevels of Bloom's cognitive thinking taxonomy.Preparation of specific learning objectives, assessment processes and pedagogical techniquesform a holistic strategy for implementing and assessing an entrepreneurial thinking course forundergraduate engineers. We will demonstrate how to use the Pelligrino for the design andassessment of an entreprenurial thinking course.Table 1 Exceerpt of Bloom'sTaxonomy of Cognitive Difficulty for the Entrepreneurial ThinkingCourse (Anderson, et al., 2000)Introductory entrepreneurial thinking Remem- Under- Apply- Analy- Eval- Crea-course Learning objectives bering standing ing zing uating ting>Be able to evaluate new ventureopportunitiesRecall or locate data in the text for quizes XCreate ideas for the idea pitch and newventure analysis XAcquire customer/market data XAnalyze customer/market data XPrepare a customer/market analysis XAcquire competition data XAnalyze competitor data XPrepare a competitor analysis XAcquire data for a product design and/orproduction plan/team plan XPrepare a prototype product designand/or initial production plan/team plan XDecide what data, Acquire financial data X XCreate financial models for their newventure idea XConstruct a scenario based financialanalysis XIntegrate the four feasibility analysiscomponents into a final report XAnderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P., . . . Wittrock, M. (2000). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives.Kolb, D., & Fry, R. (1979). Experiential Learning Theory and Learning Experiences in Liberal Arts Education. New Directions for Experiential Learning, (Enriching the Liberal Arts Through Experiential Learning) 6, 79-92.Pelligrino, J. W., Chudowsky, N., & Galaser, R. (2001). Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.Svinicki, M. D. (2004). Learning and Motivation in the Postsecondary Classroom. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.

Ferguson, D. M., & Cawthorne, J. E., & Streveler, R. (2013, June), Designing an Introductory Entrepreneurial Thinking Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19393

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