June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
11.812.1 - 11.812.13
Interdisciplinarity, Financial Software Product Development, and Entrepreneurship in an Urban University† Abstract
Because interdisciplinary learning can be challenging to students, it is important for teachers to maintain high expectations of students, promote student centeredness, and develop students into self-aware learners if students are to comfortably think across disciplinary boundaries. The recent surge in demand for college graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset is motivated, in part, by the changing nature of the global economy and competitive nature of today’s businesses. A dominant raw material in the global economy is innovation. This makes the teaching of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in computing and engineering sciences programs very important. Additionally, the dynamism in finance created by its challenging problems and the availability of sophisticated algorithms and cheap computing power has attracted professionals from computer science, engineering, physics, and mathematics resulting in the growth of many vibrant interdisciplinary fields involving finance. In spring 2005, we developed an entrepreneurial financial computing course with the objective that individual student teams would design and develop a commercially viable financial software product to satisfy a market need. Five purposefully and two adhocly designed E-teams were formed with students majoring in computer science, finance, mathematics, and management science. Each E-team worked on a different project. The course was supported by a finance and a computer science professor who team taught the course and nine mentors/advisors who assisted the E-teams in identifying financial problems in need of improved solutions, formulating problems to enable efficient software solution, identifying markets for their completed software product, determining the level of software product user friendliness, and counseling and advising E-team members in the development of a successful business plan. On the basis of the midterm exam and the project, the evaluation of the course showed that each of the five purposefully designed E-teams completed their financial software product by the end of the semester. Two showed promise of being commercially viable with slight improvements. This was determined by percentage error tests and the two professors’ joint assessment of the E-teams’ software products. We considered the course a qualified success. However, issues such as differential experience in teamwork along disciplinary lines, and the need for more business communication skills will need to be more fully addressed in future course offerings.
Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary concepts of teaching and learning have appeared in research literature since the early part of the 20th century10. Many college students have become accustomed to taking a minor with their major or taking a double major. More recently, students have been increasing the number of majors and/or minors they take. Many employers are questioning students’ wisdom in their multidisciplinary choices. They believe that there is a limit to the number of disciplines a student can concurrently study without loosing the depth of
† A grant from the Lemelson Foundation/National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators (NCIIA) E-team grant for course and program development (application no. 1653-03) funded this course.
Joseph, A. (2006, June), Interdisciplinarity, Financial Software Product Development, And Entrepreneurship In An Urban University Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1094
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