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Work in Progress: Integrating the Entrepreneurial Mindset into a Software Requirements Course

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

ENT Division Technical Session: EM Across the Curriculum II

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Walter W. Schilling Jr. Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Walter Schilling is a Professor in the Software Engineering program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his B.S.E.E. from Ohio Northern University and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Toledo. He worked for Ford Motor Company and Visteon as an Embedded Software Engineer for several years prior to returning for doctoral work. He has spent time at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and consulted for multiple embedded systems companies in the Midwest. In addition to one U.S. patent, Schilling has numerous publications in refereed international conferences and other journals. He received the Ohio Space Grant Consortium Doctoral Fellowship and has received awards from the IEEE Southeastern Michigan and IEEE Toledo Sections. He is a member of IEEE, IEEE Computer Society and ASEE. At MSOE, he coordinates courses in software verification, real time systems, operating systems, and cybersecurity topics.

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One of the most challenging aspects of software engineering is teaching students requirements elicitation. Software requirements elicitation requires complex thinking and a thorough understanding of the customer and business needs. Traditionally, requirements elicitation courses have focused on pure documentation of requirements, the focus being on drafting unambiguous statements properly formatted to follow an IEEE standard. However, the challenge of requirements elicitation is often not in the documentation of requirements, but rather in understanding the needs of a customer.

This work in progress paper intended to provide a case study of a novel approach to integrating the entrepreneurial mindset into a software requirements course. Working in teams, students are given an extensive scenario related to a real-world medical issue introduced by a brief video. Through the remainder of the course, students interview other students, real world practitioners, and others to understand the value of the product and the needs of potential clients before drafting a final requirements document which then could be used to develop the project. Through this approach, engineers communicate with nurses, athletes, pharmacists, and other non-engineers, learning the skills of teamwork, the perspectives of non-engineers, the limitations of technology, and in some cases, learn that a project that seems advantageous may actually not be successful. The paper will describe the project, the materials created for the project, and provide student observations on the success of this approach.

Schilling, W. W. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Integrating the Entrepreneurial Mindset into a Software Requirements Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35656

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