June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
24.910.1 - 24.910.14
Mobile App Development: A Cross-Discipline Team-Based Approach to Student and Faculty LearningAbstractTechnical courses taught in a University setting focus exclusively on technical elegance. Theunfortunate side-effect is that many engineers and scientists believe that a great idea sells itselfregardless of market dynamics. The lack of understanding of how a business functions leads toadversarial relationships among technical employees, and their business-oriented colleagues.Similarly, when business managers interact with their technical employees, they often do notfully appreciate the complex nature of the technical development process and the numerous mis-steps on the way to an acceptable product. We aim to promote empathy towards and a greaterunderstanding of each others' professions by making students “walk in each others' shoes” in across-discipline team-taught course “Mobile App. Development” that involves faculty andstudents from three disciplines: Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Business. Theinnovations introduced in the course won three of the instructors an award in entrepreneurshipteaching and pedagogical innovation from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, aconsortium of more than 200 University centers.Mobile Application Development has run successfully as a senior-level elective course for threeconsecutive years with full student enrollment. The uniting factor in bringing students andfaculty members from the three disciplines together is a common interest in working with theiPhone and Android smartphone platforms. An unorthodox mix of engineering, computerscience, and business students sharing a single classroom calls for non-traditional teachingstrategies. Students are assigned to teams comprised of one representative from each discipline -engineering, computer science, and business. They are expected to deliver a “close-to-market”mobile application product by the end of the course.Each participant experiences the nuances of the others' fields: in developing their product,business students also work on programming, while engineering and computer science studentsdevelop business and marketing plans. Computer engineering and computer science studentslearn about the sometimes harsh realities of business decisions, and business majors learn thetechnological challenges, limitations, and thought processes that go into designing a technicalproduct. Although the course has regular assignments, a midterm and a final exam, a largeportion of the final grade depends on each team's design, execution, business plan, and thepersuasiveness of their final presentations. These presentations are judged not only by the coursefaculty but also by representatives from industry and other external judges.The course outcomes as evidenced in student surveys were: i. it fostered entrepreneurialthinking, ii. students recognized that a real-life approach to product development spans multipledisciplines, and iii. it demonstrated the value of collaborating with peers across disciplines tochampion one's vision; success is not guaranteed, but it is not incidental, either. Furthermore, across-disciplinary student team from this class also won a University-wide award inentrepreneurship for a product developed as part of the class deliverable. The faculty enjoyedlearning from each other and from students in areas outside of their expertise. However, theapproach did require significant time investment from all instructors, and it might not have beenas successful if significant logistical and administrative resources had not been provided by thethe individual departments and the University.
Kulkarni, S. S., & Klassner, F., & Gehlot, V., & Dougherty, E., & Metzger, S. M., & Wagner, W. P. (2014, June), Mobile App Development: A Cross-Discipline Team-based Approach to Student and Faculty Learning Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22843
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: © 2014 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