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Integrating Entrepreneurial Mind-set into First-Year Engineering Curriculum through Active Learning Exercises

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Chad S. Korach University of Mount Union

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Chad Korach is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Engineering at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio.

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Joshua Gargac University of Mount Union

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Joshua Gargac is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, OH, where he advises the mechanical engineering senior capstone projects and SAE Baja team. In addition, Dr. Gargac teaches first-year engineering courses, computer-aided design, kinematics and dynamics of machinery, and manufacturing science. He received his BSME from Ohio Northern University and a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Notre Dame. Current interests include bone tissue mechanics, engineering pedagogy, and robotic football.

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Entrepreneurial principles have been an increasing focus of undergraduate engineering curricula at multiple levels of integration. Here, the Entrepreneurial Mindset (EM) has been integrated into a first-year, general engineering course using active learning exercises [1] to develop creative problem solving and critical thinking. These exercises were introduced periodically within the course schedule to complement the existing learning objectives and goals of the introductory course. Since the course culminated with a 7-week team design project, team-based exercises were used to enable team-building throughout the semester and to expose students to different decision-making styles and team dynamics. Similarly, as the students were introduced to the engineering design process, EM exercises were incorporated to explore problem definitions, open verses constrained problems, and prototyping. Exercises also explored other beneficial EM concepts including iteration in problem solutions, learning from failures, sales pitches, system scaling, and taking action versus over-planning. Typically, one active learning exercise was incorporated into each course meeting throughout the semester. Students anecdotally responded with positive enthusiasm to the activities with interest in pursuing entrepreneurship in addition to engineering. Overall, the integration of the EM activities equipped the course instructors with useful tools to engage the students in the course content, generate excitement for a future in engineering, and develop EM skills beneficial for a successful career.

[1] Neck, H.M., Greene, P.G., Brush, C.G. 2014. Teaching Entrepreneurship: A Practice-Based Approach. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Korach, C. S., & Gargac, J. (2019, June), Integrating Entrepreneurial Mind-set into First-Year Engineering Curriculum through Active Learning Exercises Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32985

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