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Student Comprehension of and Growth in Creating Value with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division (FYP) - Technical Session 7: Making

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs Division (FYP)

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Paper Authors


Sherri Youssef The Ohio State University

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Sherri Youssef is a PhD student in the Engineering Education Department at The Ohio State University. Her research interests include understanding the role of social interactions on undergraduate engineering students' motivation to persist and how motivation informs the persistence of undergraduate engineering regional campus students. She completed both her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and her B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University as well.

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Meagan Eleanor Ita The Ohio State University

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Dr. Meagan Ita is a Research Scientist at Arvinas working to develop disease modifying therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Her career passion is to develop novel biotechnologies and therapeutics to better understand human physiology with the goal of equitably extending healthspan, ideally at the intersection of healthcare and STEM education. Meagan has experience as a Postdoctoral Scholar in Engineering Education from The Ohio State University (OSU), earned a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. and B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from The Ohio State University.

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Rachel Louis Kajfez The Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching. She is the principal investigator for the Research on Identity and Motivation in Engineering (RIME) Collaborative.

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(Full Research Paper) Over the past several years, the first-year engineering program at our university has undergone a re-design to consider opportunity and impact in the context of undertaking engineering design projects. This endeavor was taken on by joining the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) and applying their framework for Entrepreneurial Mindset (EM) learning in our first-year program. We developed and deployed direct and indirect assessments with our first-year engineering students to assess their comprehension and performance of the targeted EM skills (making connections, nurturing curiosity, and creating value). In this work, we focus on our efforts to foster student ability to create value from an identified engineering opportunity and our approach to assessing that ability directly.

To readily measure changes in student ability to create value, we documented their performance of this skill via our direct assessment over the spring 2021 semester. We collected assessment data in both the standard course sequence and its honors course sequence counterpart. To conduct this work, the creating value direct assessment was deployed at the beginning and end (noted as pre and post from hereon) of the Spring 2021 semester as assignments embedded into the course curricula. The assessment required students to identify the stakeholders involved, value categories (e.g., economic value, societal value), and the subsequent value created in each category for each stakeholder. The pre version of the assessment provided students with a defined topic (communication platforms) for which to consider value creation. The post version of the assessment required students to define the topic themselves based on the design project they were pursuing that semester. Trained evaluators scored student responses based on a rubric created for this assessment and the research team used those scores to compute descriptive statistics for total rubric scores and sub-scores (e.g., stakeholder, value categories, and value-stakeholder relationship). Furthermore, since assessment data were collected for both the standard and honors course sequences at two time points, we tested for any significant changes within (beginning vs. end of semester) and between courses (standard vs. honors) using Wilcoxon Rank Sum tests.

Our analysis yielded interesting findings. We observed that the average score for each rubric sub-score increased and subsequently indicates that our course content fostered the skill of creating value in both course types and enhanced student ability. We also found statistically significant changes in total rubric scores and sub-scores in student assessment data in both course types. Over the course of the semester, students in the standard course saw a significant increase in their ability to identify value categories while those in the honors course saw a significant increase in their ability to identify value created. Considering the changes seen between courses, the standard sequence students earned higher scores on the three assessment sub-scores in the pre version of the assessment while the honors students exhibited a greater net increase in their ability by the end of the semester in all assessment sub-scores. However, the average score earned by the standard sequence students in value categories surpassed that of the honors students. There was a significant difference between the standard and honors sub-scores of identified stakeholders in the pre version of the assessment and value categories in both versions of the assessment.

These findings illustrate that standard sequence students demonstrate a significantly higher capability to identify value categories at the end of the semester compared to the beginning. As so, we hypothesize that these students exhibit a wider idea generation of value categories due to the design of this course and the overarching, open-ended design project they must complete. We also suspect the increase in ability to create value across all three assessment categories and the significant change in identifying stakeholders over time by the honors sequence students is due to the design of the escape room project they must complete.

Overall, this study suggests that the extent to which students foster their creating value skills is largely dependent on the information and practice they receive in their course content. As so, we advise educators to design course content around the aspects of value creation (e.g., stakeholder identification) they want to prioritize as learning objectives. Finally, this study presents a new direct assessment for value creation as an important step toward assessing an attribute of the entrepreneurial mindset.

Youssef, S., & Ita, M. E., & Kajfez, R. L. (2023, June), Student Comprehension of and Growth in Creating Value with an Entrepreneurial Mindset Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--44281

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