Using Online Discussions to Develop the Entrepreneurial Mindset in Environmental Engineering Undergraduates: A Case Study

Lisa Bosman, Nathalie Duval-Couetil, Brooke Mayer, Patrick McNamara

Abstract


Entrepreneurship is an important aspect of the U.S. and global economy. As such, developing an entrepreneurial mindset is crucial for both engineering students and practicing engineers. The purpose of this paper is investigate the role of online discussions, as a pedagogical approach, in the development of the entrepreneurial mindset, and explore a variety of approaches to assess student learning outcomes. Online discussions prompts were created for environmental engineering courses using the Kern Engineering Entrepreneurial Network (KEEN) framework. The framework proposes that an entrepreneurial mindset can be fostered in students by promoting curiosity, encouraging connections, and creating value. This paper describes the methodology and rationale that served as the foundation for this exploratory study. Examples are provided for online discussion prompts developed and administered in two different environmental engineering undergraduate courses: Introduction to Environmental Engineering (three credit, undergraduate, online course offered during two different summer sessions) and Seminar in Environmental Engineering (one credit, undergraduate level, face-to-face course offered during one semester). Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyze and assess potential impacts of online discussion prompt use. The findings provide lessons learned for applying the KEEN framework in an engineering classroom via online discussions.

Keywords


entreprenuerial mindset; online discussions; writing

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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