Student perceptions of engineering entrepreneurship: An exploratory study

  • Dabbagh N
  • Menascé D
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Abstract

This study examines students’ overall perceptions of the engineer- ing profession in a first-year course in engineering, and the effect of a pedagogical approach aimed at exposing students to engineer- ing entrepreneurship and their perceptions of engineering entre- preneurship. The approach featured a market game that engaged a pilot group of 20 students in forming IT companies and compet- ing for the best design of a travel agent system. The rest of the stu- dents in the course completed the traditional class project, which involved designing and building a land sailer. A pre-post Likert- type survey designed to measure students’ perceptions of the engi- neering profession was administered to all students enrolled in this course. In addition, a short answer questionnaire seeking students’ pedagogical perceptions of the market game and the land sailer project was administered at the end of the course. Results indicated that students’ overall perceptions of the engineering profession significantly improved by the end of the course. More importantly, the results indicated that students who participated in the market game had significantly better perceptions of engineering entrepre- neurship, specifically professional skills, than students who partici- pated in the land sailer project. These findings are of considerable interest to engineering schools that want to increase student reten- tion and are looking for novel approaches to assist freshmen in choosing their majors.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Engineering entrepreneurship
  • Pedagogy
  • Student retention

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