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Infusing Entrepreneurship into Engineering Design Curricula to Promote Inventiveness: A Student-Centered Approach to Inclusive Innovation

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 1

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Paper Authors


Roxanne Moore Georgia Institute of Technology

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Roxanne Moore is a Senior Research Engineer in the G.W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on design and engineering education with a focus on promoting diversity and inclusion. She has served as PI and co-PI for grants from multiple sponsors including NSF and Amazon totaling more than $9M. In addition, her STEM outreach programs and curricula have impacted hundreds of thousands of K-12 students nationwide. She is the co-founder and director of Georgia Tech’s K-12 InVenture Prize, a statewide invention competition, open to all students and teachers in Georgia. She earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2007, and her Masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2009 and 2012. Dr. Moore received the Georgia Tech Teaching Effectiveness Award in 2018.

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Leslie Flynn The University of Iowa

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Professor of STEM Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa

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W. Ethan Eagle

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Joanna Garner Old Dominion University

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Adam Maltese Indiana University-Bloomington

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Adam Talamantes

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Stephanie Couch Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Erica Matheny

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Nisha Detchprohm Georgia Institute of Technology

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Leigh Estabrooks

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The broad fields of engineering design and entrepreneurship education have, in recent years, combined in novel ways to create interdisciplinary, real-world curricular experiences in higher education and K-12. Depending on the elements included from engineering design and entrepreneurship methodologies, some curricula espouse a more inventive focus, where problem identification and solution finding are likely to result in the creation of something novel, useful, and non-obvious. While some programs and curricula identify specifically as “invention education,” we contend that the student learning experience exists on a continuum, ranging from less to more inventive, irrespective of the self-applied label. Even at the intersection of engineering design and entrepreneurship, a fertile ground for inventiveness, some curricular experiences are more inventive than others. Curricula that explicitly encourage inventive products and habits provide agency for students to build their own future and to develop ways of thinking and working that will support their success in life. Specifically, students engage unique skillsets, mindsets, and interests which enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion for underrepresented students who are more likely to be excluded when analytical skills are prioritized over inventiveness and cultural assets. This hypothesis is backed by preliminary data from inventive curriculum research which shows higher levels of participation in invention activities from underrepresented groups relative to typical rates in engineering programs.

In this paper, we propose a definition of inventiveness to describe both attributes and student work products. We contrast inventiveness with analytical skills where methods and outcomes are typically known. To explore opportunities for inventiveness in curricula, subject matter experts evaluated 23 activities common in engineering design and entrepreneurship curricula and rated their expected student work outcomes with respect to inventiveness and analytical skills. We also evaluated nine problem statements from engineering design coursework with respect to their potential for resulting in inventive and analytical student work products. We contend that the inclusion of curricular elements that rate higher with respect to inventiveness are more likely to promote student engagement, particularly from underrepresented groups. This analysis may be applied when considering whether a curriculum is sufficiently promoting and rewarding inventiveness or inventive practices. We assert that as students advance from secondary to post-secondary schools and into multiple career pathways, their capacity and interest in engaging in innovation, invention, and entrepreneurial ecosystems will increase, thereby increasing equity in the designed world by empowering all student voices.

Moore, R., & Flynn, L., & Eagle, W. E., & Garner, J., & Maltese, A., & Talamantes, A., & Couch, S., & Matheny, E., & Detchprohm, N., & Estabrooks, L. (2022, August), Infusing Entrepreneurship into Engineering Design Curricula to Promote Inventiveness: A Student-Centered Approach to Inclusive Innovation Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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: © 2022 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