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Fostering Entrepreneurial Mindset through a Hands-on Design Project in a Mechanism Design Course

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Mechanics & Mechanics Related

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Haolin Zhu Arizona State University

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Dr. Haolin Zhu earned her BEng in Engineering Mechanics from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and her Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University, with a focus on computational solid mechanics. Dr. Zhu is a Senior Lecturer of the freshman engineering education team in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) and the recipient of the Fulton Outstanding Lecturer Award. In this role, she focuses on designing the curriculum and teaching in the freshman engineering program and the mechanical engineering program. She is also the Assistant Director of the NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) at ASU and works closely with the Director to ensure the success of the program. Dr. Zhu has also been involved in the ASU ProMod project, the Engineering Projects in Community Service program, the Engineering Futures program, the Global Freshman Academy/Earned Admission Program, and the ASU Kern Project. She was a part of the team that designed a largely team and activity based online Introduction to Engineering course. She has also co-developed two unique MOOCs, Introduction to Engineering and Perspectives on Grand Challenges for Engineering for the Global Freshman Academy/ASU Earned Admission Program. Her Ph.D. research focuses on multi-scale multiphase modeling and numerical analysis of coupled large viscoelastic deformation and fluid transport in swelling porous materials, but she is currently interested in various topics in the field of engineering education, such as innovative teaching pedagogies for increased retention and student motivation; innovations in non-traditional delivery methods, incorporation of the Entrepreneurial Mindset in the engineering curriculum and its impact.

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Fostering Entrepreneurial Mindset through a Hands-on Design Project in a Mechanism Design Course

This paper will describe a hands-on team design project that incorporates entrepreneurial mindset in a junior level Mechanism Analysis and Design course. The Mechanism Analysis and Design course is a 3-credit technical elective course offered at [Institution] that introduces the fundamentals of planar mechanisms and the application of kinematics in the analysis and synthesis of mechanisms. When the course was first taught with traditional lectures, assignments, and exams, most students found it not engaging and difficult to visualize how various mechanisms work. In an effort to address this issue, a hands-on group-based open-ended design project was developed and implemented in the course that not only covers the technical topics taught in the course, but also instills the entrepreneurial mindset.

In today’s global economy, engineering graduates need to be prepared with both a strong technical skillset and an entrepreneurial mindset in order to drive innovations. According to Kriewall and Mekemson [1], “an entrepreneurial minded engineer (i.e., an engineer instilled with the entrepreneurial mindset) places product benefits before design features and leverages technology to fill unmet customer needs”. The Kern Family Foundation has established a network of institutions that are committed to changing their pedagogy to develop entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineers. Their entrepreneurial mindset framework involves the three C’s: curiosity: “students will demonstrate constant curiosity about our changing world and explore a contrarian view of accepted solutions”, connections: “students will integrate information from many sources to gain insight and access and manage risk”, and creating value: “students will identify unexpected opportunities to create extraordinary value and persist through and learn from failure” [2].

This paper will describe the design and implementation of the hands-on team design project. Student final project deliverable submissions will also be analyzed to learn about the ways through which student groups have demonstrated the entrepreneurial mindset in their projects and the results will be discussed.

References [1] Kriewall, T. J., and Mekemson, K. (2010), "Instilling the entrepreneurial mindset into engineering undergraduates." in the Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship, 1.1, pp 5-19.


Zhu, H. (2021, July), Fostering Entrepreneurial Mindset through a Hands-on Design Project in a Mechanism Design Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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