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Vertically Integrating E-portfolios and Cooperative Educational Experiences to Develop Students’ Entrepreneurial Mindset

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 4

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Paper Authors


Clark Hochgraf Rochester Institute of Technology (CET)

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Dr. Clark Hochgraf is an Engineer - Educator - Systems Thinker and associate professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a 2021 KEEN Engineering Unleashed Fellow who enjoys building technological systems and sharing his enjoyment with others by developing and delivering educational experiences. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University at Buffalo, NY. He worked in industry for 11 years building megawatt power converters, fuel cell vehicles, and off-grid inverters. Today he is an innovator at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he teaches applied machine learning and control systems and researches machine learning algorithms to create seamless communication in the hybrid human-autonomous agent workforce for material handling.

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Jeanne Christman Rochester Institute of Technology (CET)


Laura Shackelford

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Laura Shackelford is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Engaged Storycraft at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Recent areas of research include story-driven engineering education.

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Stacy Nation-Knapper Montana State University - Bozeman

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Daniele Brown Rochester Institute of Technology (CET)

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This paper addresses how small coordinated curricular changes can promote the development of an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students. An entrepreneurial mindset helps students make connections, learn from mistakes, and identify opportunities to create value – behaviors that help them make greater contributions to society, and more successfully navigate their educational process. We present an approach that involves integrating e-portfolio experiences across the curriculum, aligning e-portfolio development to cooperative educational experiences, and using story-based methods and reflective practices to guide students in their personal and professional development. E-portfolios, integrated into an educational plan that challenges students to exercise and extend their problem solving and storytelling abilities in both personal and professional domains, are a powerful tool for promoting entrepreneurial mindset. Teaching engineering students how to identify and communicate essential elements of a problem-solving scenario along with their own professional aspirations as a story will enable them to develop and apply entrepreneurial mindset to condense complex situations into concrete courses of action. Effectively integrating e-portfolios requires that students understand how to use reflective practices to shape their future choices based on examination of current experiences. It also requires a change in faculty mindset, from viewing e-portfolios as a collection of artifacts, to viewing e-portfolios as developmental tools that drive student growth in classrooms. Story-based reasoning and reflection, provides the essential link between an entrepreneurial mindset and a technology skillset. Our university has begun implementation of vertical integration of e-portfolio practices through modifications to a first-year course for all students, to second- and fourth-year engineering-content courses, and to a third-year career orientation course. We present our experiences from the initial phase of implementation.

Hochgraf, C., & Christman, J., & Shackelford, L., & Nation-Knapper, S., & Brown, D. (2022, August), Vertically Integrating E-portfolios and Cooperative Educational Experiences to Develop Students’ Entrepreneurial Mindset Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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