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Integrating e-Learning Modules into Engineering Courses to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Nadiye O. Erdil University of New Haven

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Nadiye O. Erdil is an assistant professor of industrial engineering and engineering and operations management at the University of New Haven. Her research interests include use of statistical methods and lean tools for quality and process improvement, and use of information technology in operations management. Her work is primarily in manufacturing and healthcare delivery operations.

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Ronald S. Harichandran University of New Haven

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Ron Harichandran is Dean of the Tagliatela College of Engineering and is the PI of the two grants entitled "Project to Integrate Technical Communication Skills" and "Developing entrepreneurial thinking in engineering students by utilizing integrated online modules and experiential learning opportunities." Through these grants technical communication and entrepreneurial thinking skills are being integrated into courses spanning all four years in seven ABET accredited engineering and computer science BS programs.

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Jean Nocito-Gobel University of New Haven

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Jean Nocito-Gobel, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of New Haven, received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has been actively involved in a number of educational initiatives in the Tagliatela College of Engineering including KEEN and PITCH, PI of the ASPIRE grant, and is the coordinator for the first-year Intro to Engineering course. Her professional interests include modeling the transport and fate of contaminants in groundwater and surface water systems, as well as engineering education reform.

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Maria-Isabel Carnasciali University of New Haven Orcid 16x16

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Maria-Isabel Carnasciali is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Tagliatela College of Engineering, University of New Haven, CT. She obtained her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2008. She received her Bachelors of Engineering from MIT in 2000. Her research focuses on the nontraditional engineering student – understanding their motivations, identity development, and impact of prior engineering-related experiences. Her work dwells into learning in informal settings such as summer camps, military experiences, and extra-curricular activities. Other research interests involve validation of CFD models for aerospace applications as well as optimizing efficiency of thermal-fluid systems.

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Cheryl Q. Li University of New Haven

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Cheryl Qing Li joined University of New Haven in the fall of 2011, where she is a Senior Lecturer of the Industrial, System & Multidisciplinary Engineering Department. Li earned her first Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from National University of Singapore in 1997. She served as Assistant Professor and subsequently Associate Professor in mechatronics engineering at University of Adelaide, Australia, and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, respectively. In 2006, she resigned from her faculty job and came to Connecticut for family reunion. Throughout her academic career in Australia and Singapore, she had developed a very strong interest in learning psychology and educational measurement. She then opted for a second Ph.D. in educational psychology, specialized in measurement, evaluation and assessment at University of Connecticut. She earned her second Ph.D. in 2010. Li has a unique cross-disciplinary educational and research background in mechatronics engineering, specialized in control and robotics, and educational psychology, specialized in statistical analysis and program evaluation.

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Engineering graduates who will be leaders in today’s rapidly changing environment must possess an entrepreneurial mindset and a variety of professional skills in addition to technical knowledge and skills. An entrepreneurial mindset applies to all aspects of life, beginning with curiosity about our changing world, integrating information from various resources to gain insight, and identifying unexpected opportunities to create value. An entrepreneurial mindset enables engineers to develop sound technical solutions that address customer needs, are feasible from a business perspective, and have societal benefit.

The College of Engineering at the University of __ is working to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in its engineering students through a four-faceted framework that includes: 1) developing an entrepreneurial mindset amongst faculty; 2) providing curricular components that develop specific student knowledge and skills; 3) structuring the physical environment to promote entrepreneurial minded learning; and 4) providing opportunities for students to engage in meaningful extra-curricular activities. This paper focuses on the curricular component of this framework.

As part of these curricular activities, 18 short, self-paced, e-learning modules will be developed and integrated into courses spanning all four years across all engineering and computer science disciplines. Each module contains readings, short videos and self-assessment exercises. Five of these e-learning modules were developed in fall 2014, four of these five were piloted in the Spring 2015 semester, and all five modules were broadly deployed in the Fall 2015 semester. A flipped classroom instructional model is used to integrate the modules into courses. Content is delivered via a short online module outside the class, and student learning is improved by reinforcing the content covered in the module through class discussions and contextual activities. Direct and indirect assessment is performed through formative and summative class assessments and module specific pre and post surveys, respectively.

The five integrated e-learning modules presented in this paper are: 1) Developing customer awareness and quickly testing concepts through customer engagement, 2) Learning from failure, 3) Cost of production and market conditions, 4) Building, sustaining and leading effective teams and establishing performance goals, and 5) Applying systems thinking to solve complex problems. The first two modules were integrated into freshman classes, the third into a sophomore class, the fourth into third year laboratory courses, and the fifth into senior design courses. This paper describes the learning outcomes and the reinforcement activities conducted in the courses into which they were integrated for two of these modules. The findings of the module specific surveys and the assessment results are also presented.

Erdil, N. O., & Harichandran, R. S., & Nocito-Gobel, J., & Carnasciali, M., & Li, C. Q. (2016, June), Integrating e-Learning Modules into Engineering Courses to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25800

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