Asee peer logo

Entrepreneurial Design Projects: What Type Of Projects Are Effective In Improving Student Learning & Enthusiasm?

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Capstone Design and Entrepreneurship

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.590.1 - 11.590.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Gül Okudan Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Gül E. Okudan is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Design at The Pennsylvania State
University. She received her Ph.D. from University of Missouri-Rolla. Her research interests include intelligent shop floor control, manufacturing strategy modeling and measurement, solid modeling, product design, and product design teams. Her published work appears in journals such as Journal of Engineering Design, Design Studies, Journal of Engineering Education, European Journal of Engineering Education and Technovation. She is a member of ASEE and ASME. She is also a National Research Council-US AFRL Summer Faculty Fellow of the Human Effectiveness Directorate for 2002, 2003 and 2004.

visit author page


Jennifer Finelli Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Jennifer Finelli is a graduate of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Minor at Penn State.

visit author page

author page

Elizabeth Kisenwether Pennsylvania State University

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Entrepreneurial Design Projects: What Type of Projects Are Effective in Improving Student Learning & Enthusiasm?


At Penn State’s Entrepreneurship Minor, we have been experimenting with various types of design projects for the last three years in two courses: Engineering Design Principles (QMM 492), and Entrepreneurial Leadership (ENGR 310). In this paper, we review our experience regarding the implementation of these projects in the Entrepreneurship curriculum, and provide an assessment encompassing student learning, motivation, and entrepreneurial achievement. We have implemented and studied the effectiveness of the following types of projects: 1) need based conceptual design projects, 2) design and build projects, and 3) build and sell projects. Overall, preliminary results indicate that while all the included project types were perceived to be effective, the most effective one is identified to be the build and sell type, which more comprehensively simulates entrepreneurship.


Shorter product life cycles and the trend toward mass customization are placing increasing demands on design practitioners and entrepreneurs. In addition, competitive pressures lead to less time spent by designers in traditional mentorship and apprenticeship methods of practice. Therefore, less-experienced designers are being given more responsibility for a larger number of design tasks1. Yet mostly these designers are not well prepared to undertake these responsibilities. Accordingly, the demands from industry regarding this issue influenced the current ABET criteria. The current criteria for accreditation state that ‘‘engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have: an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs,’’ and ‘‘an ability to function in multi-disciplinary teams.’’2

Multi-disciplinarity is mostly treated as having students with different engineering backgrounds in a design team (e.g., one mechanical engineer, and two industrial engineers). In industry, however, product design teams also involve individuals with non-engineering backgrounds such as law, business, industrial design, etc. Our graduates are rarely prepared to effectively perform in such environments due to a lack of experience with true multidisciplinary teams. At the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), our response to this need is twofold: (1) the Master of Manufacturing Management degree program; and (2) the Engineering Entrepreneurship Minor. These curricular programs provide the opportunity for our graduates to complete product designs in true multi-disciplinary teams by utilizing strengths of the students coming from engineering, business and science backgrounds. This educational set-up also provides cross- training opportunities for our graduates.

To date, in both of the above mentioned programs the following types of projects have been incorporated to the curriculum in Entrepreneurial Leadership (ENGR310) or Engineering Design Principles (QMM492) courses since fall 2003:

1) Need based Conceptual Design Project (examples are provided below):

Okudan, G., & Finelli, J., & Kisenwether, E. (2006, June), Entrepreneurial Design Projects: What Type Of Projects Are Effective In Improving Student Learning & Enthusiasm? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1221

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015