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Evaluating An International Course In Product Realization For Global Opportunities

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Multinational and International Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.573.1 - 13.573.13



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Paper Authors

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Matthew Mehalik University of Pittsburgh

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

Evaluating an International Course in Product Realization for Global Opportunities

Abstract This paper discusses lessons learned from a new course offered in the spring of 2007 at the University of Pittsburgh entitled Product Realization for Global Opportunities. The lessons learned consist of results from post-trip surveys and from an extensive questionnaire designed by NCIIA to assess entrepreneurship learning. The results reported consist of students contrasted in two conditions: One group worked on an international design project that required cross- institutional and international collaboration. The projects were geared towards improving the lives of developing areas in Brazil and focused particularly on designing products that could improve housing, living conditions, and/or personal security. The second group consisted of students that worked on projects domestically with companies as clients. The contrast will examine the extent to which these two project domains influenced the type of entrepreneurship skills that the student participants learned. The purpose of the international development effort was to further infuse sustainability and product realization into the undergraduate engineering curriculum. We have done this by creating a unique product realization course in which student E-teams of students from University of Pittsburgh and the University at Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil attempt to develop products for sustainable human development. This course tries to address the product realization process in the context of sustainability, especially for the developing world. In doing this, we are taking advantage of the School of Engineering’s rapidly expanding interest in sustainability led by the Mascaro Sustainability Initiative (MSI), a growing relationship with UNICAMP, and close involvement from the University’s International Business Center and the Center for Latin American Studies (both Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers). Students are using our Swanson Institute for Product Innovation. The course is supported by a program grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).

I. Introduction

This paper builds upon results reported in a forthcoming 2008 issue of the International Journal of Engineering Education entitled, “Product Realization for Global Opportunities: Learning Collaborative Design in an International Setting” [1]. In that paper, it was determined that students who engaged in the international version of a product realization course achieved statistically significant increases in perceptions of learning entrepreneurship concepts in four of the instrument’s seven aggregate categories: Becoming and Being an Entrepreneur, Finance and Accounting, Product Ideation and Development, and Intellectual Property. For the three remaining areas, People and Human Resources, Product Pricing, and Sales and Marketing, there were large increases in perceptions of learning; however, the increases did not go above the 95% confidence interval threshold in these three categories.

These interesting results lead to a follow-up question: how does learning compare or contrast between students who did and did not have international experiences in their product realization course? This question can be addressed because the two groups of students met in the same

Mehalik, M. (2008, June), Evaluating An International Course In Product Realization For Global Opportunities Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4052

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