Faculty and Student Perceptions of the Content of Entrepreneurship Courses in Engineering Education

ABSTRACT

Entrepreneurship programs and courses in engineering education have steadily increased in the United States over the past two decades. However, the nature of these entrepreneurship courses and programs and the characteristics of the instructors who teach them are not yet well understood. The paper explores three research questions: 1) What content is typically included in engineering entrepreneurship courses and how is this content taught?; 2) What are instructors’ beliefs about how entrepreneurship should be taught in the engineering context; and 3) How are instructors’ beliefs actuated within a particular class related to students’ self-reported perceptions of their entrepreneurial knowledge and abilities? The study shows that content associated with different course types, such as Becoming an Entrepreneur, New Venture Development, and Product Ideation and Development, often overlaps substantially, suggesting a lack of clarity in how these types of courses are defined. Second, instructors who teach entrepreneurship to engineering students believe that programs and courses should focus equally on both teaching skills and developing values and attitudes; and instructors feel confident in their ability to focus on both of these in their courses. Finally, at the end of the entrepreneurship course, students’ perceptions of their own abilities were found to be similar to their instructors’ intentions for the courses, particularly for students with less entrepreneurial experience as measured by their coursework, involvement in entrepreneurship-related activities (e.g., clubs, competitions). As students’ prior experience with entrepreneurship increased, they reported greater familiarity with concepts than expected given their instructors’ intentions.

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Mary Besterfield-Sacre

Mary Besterfield-Sacre

Sarah Zappe

Sarah Zappe

Angela Shartrand

Angela Shartrand

Kirsten Hochstedt

Kirsten Hochstedt

 

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