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Author: Doan Winkel

Entrepreneurship educator Doan Winkel brings an experiential approach to all his ideas for how to disrupt education and provide a more engaging student experience
“The Best Entrepreneurship Curriculum Available”

“The Best Entrepreneurship Curriculum Available”

The Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) will help your students learn:

  • Idea generation
  • Customer Interviewing
  • Financial modeling
  • MVPs and prototyping
  • Pitching and storytelling

In a way that…

You’ll Love to Teach

entrepreneurship curriculum

Mark McNees and the Florida State University entrepreneurship teaching team have been impressed by ExEC’s award-winning approach. So much so that they’ll be adopting it at both their Tallahassee and Pensacola campuses this Fall.

online entrepreneurship lessons

Dr. Samantha Fairclough of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln knew the way she previously taught entrepreneurship “isn’t working for me. The students hate it. I hate it. I don’t enjoy the book.” She decided to ditch all textbooks and was searching for readings and articles she could use instead when she found the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC). Read more about Samantha’s experience adopting ExEC in her classroom. 

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A Winning Approach

In addition to winning praise, ExEC exercises have won USASBE’s prestigious Experiential Entrepreneurship Exercises (3E) competition, the last two years in a row.

Entrepreneurship Education

This competition is judged by entrepreneurship professors who know how hard it is to engage all students – and these exercises have won because they do precisely that.

Better experiences create better engagement.

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Peer Reviewed

The 60-Minute MVP exercise continues to be both a professor & student favorite.  Recently, it was also published in the Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy Journal

Academy of Management Learning & Education review of Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum

And ExEC has been reviewed in the Academy of Management Learning & Education, the leading journal on the study of management learning and education.

Learn more about ExEC in Academy of Management Learning & Education.

80+ Universities Now Use ExEC

Teaching experiential entrepreneurship courses is trending worldwide. We currently have 80+ universities teaching ExEC, including:

  • Virginia Tech
  • Penn State
  • Marquette University
  • TCU
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln

These diverse universities have adopted the ExEC curriculum into their classroom, and it can help your students too:

university entrepreneurship

Kim Pichot of Andrews University met the TeachingEntrepreneurship.org team at the annual USASBE conference. She tried a few exercises with her students, and her classroom came alive! Kim was so happy with the experience she wanted to try the full ExEC curriculum. Read about her experience using ExEc in her university’s Interdisciplinary Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate (4 courses and a capstone ending with a demo day and real money).

teaching creativity

Like hundreds of other entrepreneurship professors, Georgann Jouflas of Colorado Mesa University struggled to adapt the Lean Launchpad approach for her course. Rather than an accelerator cohort, she needed a comprehensive curriculum that was a better fit for students taking an entrepreneurship course. Learn how ExEC helped Georgann transform her students’ learning experience. 

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Online or In-Person

There are two versions of ExEC: one we’ve optimized for teaching in-person, and the other which we’ve optimized for teaching online and, especially relevant this Fall…

You can seamlessly transition between the two, even mid-term.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

We’ve spent years testing and iterating a structured set of comprehensive exercises that we know teach entrepreneurial skills in an engaging way – online or in-person.

Why waste your time trying to tie together a set of unrelated exercises you compile from around web? Use a set of rigorous, cohesive lessons that will engage your students.

 

Use the “Best Entrepreneurship Curriculum Available”

Check out ExEC, engage your students and give them access to the best tools available.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo
Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus

Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus

Teaching an online entrepreneurship class to students who are used to taking classes in-person can be particularly challenging:

  • Discussions can be lethargic
  • Students are sometimes unmotivated
  • You can end up teaching into the “void” with little input or interaction from your students

If you’ve run one of these lectures, you probably didn’t get much out of the experience and neither did your students.

To genuinely engage online students, rethink your course from top-to-bottom. You want to answer questions like, how do you…

  • Redesign your interactive exercises to work online?
  • Get students to reliably ask and answer questions?
  • Connect students to each other, and the material, when they’re socially isolated?

As you start your redesign, we wanted to share our online course syllabus in case it’s helpful.

Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus Structure

A Blend of Sync and Async

No one likes teaching to the void (or being in the void).

What is the void? Have you ever used Zoom to teach to a bunch of black boxes? Or were your students’ cameras turned on but you consistently confronted with awkward silences and blank stares? Engagement is very difficult to maintain in an online course. Asynchronous is the most popular way to teach online, but an asynchronous learning environment alone can feel disconnecting to your students.

We wanted to avoid teaching to the void, and the disconnecting feelings it can create, so our syllabus is a combination of asynchronous activities students do individually with:

  • Interactive Synchronous Sessions. These experiential learning activities engage students and keep them motivated even when they’re learning remotely.
  • Reflection groups. This component of our online entrepreneurship course brings students together at regular intervals to share and process their experiences and processes. In these groups, students can reflect on the processes and the product of their journey through the course, helping them to learn from and teach each other, and also encouraging them to support each other thrive during the journey.
  • Check-ins. One of the biggest challenges experiential entrepreneurship classes face is that different teams progress at different speeds. Students who fall behind get discouraged when the class progresses to topics that are not yet relevant to them. Students who find success in making progress get bored if the class content stalls their progress. We also know that students can run into unique challenges in project-based classes, especially when they are online, and that students highly value time with instructors to help them overcome those challenges. One of the most successful remedies to both the problems outlined above is to provide students with differentiated learning experiences, via coaching/check-in sessions with teams. Every coaching session is an opportunity for students to measure the skills they’ve acquired in order to learn what to do next.

Skills-Based

An experiential entrepreneurship course, done well, helps students gain transferable skills they can use to create value for anyone or any organization in their professional and personal life. These skills are particularly important during times of uncertainty we are currently living through.

Find a Problem Worth Solving

Our curriculum has two phases of skill-building. The goal of Phase 1 is to find a problem worth solving. These are the skills taught in that phase:

  • Growth Mindset. This mindset is the belief a person has that they can learn more or be good at anything if they work hard and persevere. It is important to set the stage with this skill so students believe they can be good at anything, and that skill comes from practice.
  • Leveraging Failure. Failure is inevitable in the entrepreneurial process – we want students to build the skill set to take advantage of their failures to
  • Idea Generation. We don’t want your students to work on just any idea. Our syllabus highlights exercises and lesson plans that invite them to practice the skills necessary to discover ideas that bring them meaning. Once they have that idea, we guide them through identifying and actually locating their Early Adopters.
  • Customer Interviewing. The most critical skill entrepreneurs must learn is interviewing customers. Our exercises guide students through learning what to ask customers, iteratively practicing customer interviews, and analyzing interviews to guide their business model iteration.
  • Problem Validation. Students must decide whether they have validated a problem and whether they want to work on solving it or pivot to solve a different problem.

Find a Solution Worth Building

The goal of Phase 2 is to find a solution worth building. These are the skills taught in that phase:

  • Creativity & Design Thinking. These exercises enhance students’ brainstorming skills and how to develop solutions based on customers’ problems.
  • Financial Modeling. Successful entrepreneurship requires entrepreneurs to effectively monetize solutions. During this stage, students practice pricing and building a viable financial model.
  • Prototyping. Here we teach students to build new versions of their product that allows them to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
  • Experiments. Running business model experiments is your students’ fastest path to success. Students learn to make small bets and test a number of different strategies until they find one that works.
  • Storytelling. In our curriculum, students don’t pitch their product/company. Instead, they share the story of the process they went through (in)validating their business model. In this way, they demonstrate they have acquired the entrepreneurial skills to find and test new opportunities.

Experiential

Your students should experience creating and capturing value, not passively learn about others who have. Experiential learning techniques are critical to any entrepreneurship course because they increase student engagement and excitement as they build knowledge by doing.

Using our new online syllabus gives you a way to engage and excite your students from the first through the last day with our innovative approach to experiential learning. One example of our approach to experiential learning is our award-winning Lottery Ticket Dilemma exercise.

Through this exercise, students will discover how important emotions are in the decision-making process and the importance of understanding and fulfilling other people’s emotional needs.

Specifically, students will experience:

  • Why the majority of businesses that start end in failure, & how to avoid those failures, & so students learn how to recognize and avoid those failures
  • Customers making decisions driven by their emotions, & so students learn how to uncover and leverage those emotions to create solutions customers want
  • Creating products customers want to purchase by understanding the emotional journey they want to take

Get the Online Entrepreneurship Sample Syllabus

We’ve created a detailed Online Entrepreneurship sample syllabus that details the components of a full semester course.

Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus Structure
Get the Sample Syllabus

It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.


college entrepreneurship

Lecture Less & Coach More With the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum

Want to create engaging experiences for your entrepreneurship students? Check out the award-winning Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC). Request a preview of ExEC today and make next semester the most engaging semester of entrepreneurship yet! Our curriculum is full of experiential exercises that will make your students’ learning come alive.


MBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation Sample Syllabus

MBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation Sample Syllabus

An MBA entrepreneurship & innovation syllabus needs to map out a journey of skill-building, analysis, and experience that prepares students for careers as entrepreneurs, family-business owners, or intrapreneurs in corporate environments.

We built our MBA entrepreneurship & innovation syllabus by scaffolding deliberate practice on top of theory; this experience forces students to test the classroom learning by engaging real customers with real ideas and real solutions.

This sample syllabus lays out a skills-based, experiential journey during which students develop the mindset and skillset to create value as they launch innovative projects at work!

Entrepreneurial Skills at the MBA Level

An MBA entrepreneurship and innovation course, done well, helps students gain transferable skills they can use to create significant value in their workplace! These skills are particularly important as students learn their industry, work their way up the proverbial corporate ladder, and eventually perhaps launch a venture as they develop a network and expertise.

Through experiential exercises focused on leveraging failure and developing a growth mindset, students in classes using our MBA entrepreneurship & innovation syllabus develop resilience. Success on the first attempt is rare, so being able to fall and get back up will serve students well; having the resilience to push through obstacles is more important than developing good ideas. But good ideas count too!

Our syllabus equips students with the skills necessary to discover ideas that bring them meaning. Once they have that idea, we guide them through identifying, locating, and interviewing their Early Adopters. The most critical skill entrepreneurs must learn is interviewing customers. The exercises in our MBA entrepreneurship & innovation syllabus guide students through learning what to ask customers, iteratively practicing customer interviews, and analyzing interviews to guide their business model iteration.

Once students identify a problem they want to solve and potential customers who experience that problem, we turn them to finding a solution worth building. This is where our curriculum really shines for the MBA students! They practice design thinking as they develop solutions based on customers’ problems. Students learn to effectively monetize solutions by building a viable financial model. We then turn their focus to prototyping new versions of their product to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort, and to planning and running effective business model experiments. Overall, this journey provides students with a toolkit of skills that effectively and efficiently prepares students for success in the corporate or startup world.

Experiential Learning Matters

When building our MBA entrepreneurship & innovation syllabus, here are a few key things we learned from surveying our community of nearly 10,000 entrepreneurship educators:

  • MBA students want to know how to apply what they are learning in class; they want to practice skills. In this course, your students will practice skills such as problem-solving, customer interviewing, and prototyping that will help them create value in the organization they have or will found, or in the organization at which they are employed.
  • MBA students are likely to work a full-time job, and many have a variety of other family and community responsibilities beyond that. Take the opportunity right away to show these students that the skills and experiences they will be exposed to can create value in all those roles they juggle in their lives.
  • MBA students want their learning to be real. Make it real by adding “real” voices to your classroom – invite experienced entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs into your classroom as guest speakers and judges.

Get the MBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation Sample Syllabus

We’ve created a detailed MBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation sample syllabus that details the components of a full semester course.

Get the Sample Syllabus

 

It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.


Want 15 Weeks of Lesson Plans?

If you are looking for a fully structured, experiential entrepreneurship curriculum, with a semesters worth of lesson plans that students love, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

We’ve done the work for you. Check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum

New Venture Creation Syllabus

New Venture Creation Syllabus

Starting a new venture is scary. Teaching students the skills necessary to start and grow a successful new venture is even scarier.

Students benefit when focused on a few core skills necessary to feel confident in their ability to start something, no matter how small. Introduce your students to skills like problem-solving, customer interviewing, and prototyping on their path to creating something with our New Venture Creation Syllabus. Using this syllabus, you can relate the skills students are practicing in class to their current life as a student, and show them how to leverage those skills to start a new venture that is meaningful to them. Other professors using our content have reported entrepreneurship student progress and confidence skyrocketed. new venture creation classroom in action Our New Venture Creation syllabus lays out a skills-based, experiential journey during which students develop the mindset and skillset to create value as they launch new ventures!

New Venture Creation Skills

A new venture creation course, done well, helps students learn and apply powerful frameworks and methodologies that are useful for planning and launching new ventures, and for corporate ideation and intrapreneurship. Our new venture creation syllabus is chock full of skill-building experiences to effectively prepare students for either of these paths.

The skills students learn in this course are particularly important as we know most students do not immediately start businesses out of college, but instead go to work for someone else, learn an industry, and eventually launch a venture as they develop a network and expertise. Our new venture creation syllabus has two phases. First is where students find problems worth solving. They do this through a journey of developing a growth mindset, learning to leverage failure, generating ideas they are excited to work on, finding and interviewing potential customers, and ultimately validating that they are working on a problem worth solving.

The second phase of our new venture creation syllabus focuses students on the skillset necessary to find a solution worth building. Specifically, students develop solutions based on customers’ problems, build a viable financial model, iteratively build prototypes of their product to gather validated learning about customers, and design and execute business model experiments. Students develop these skills through a series of award-winning experiences developed using theories, frameworks, and methodologies from a variety of disciplines.

Experiential Learning

Students in a new venture creation course should actively experience the highs and lows of creating and capturing value, not passively learn about others who have. Experiential learning techniques are critical to this course because they increase student engagement and excitement as students build knowledge by doing.


We built our new venture creation syllabus by leveraging the academic and entrepreneurial expertise of our community of nearly 10,000 entrepreneurship professors. Using our new venture creation syllabus gives you a way to engage and excite your students from the first through the last day with our innovative approach to experiential learning.


Get the New Venture Creation Sample Syllabus

We’ve created a detailed New Venture Creation sample syllabus that details the components of a full semester course.

Get the Sample Syllabus

  It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.


Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

We’ve spent years testing and iterating a structured set of comprehensive exercises that we know teach entrepreneurial skills in an engaging way – online or in-person.

Why waste your time trying to tie together a set of unrelated exercises you compile from around the web? Use a set of rigorous, cohesive lessons that will engage your students.

Use the “Best Entrepreneurship Curriculum Available”

Check out ExEC, engage your students, and give them access to the best tools available.

USASBE 3E Winner: Lottery Ticket Dilemma

USASBE 3E Winner: Lottery Ticket Dilemma

It is our pleasure to share with you the lesson plan that won the prestigious Experiential Entrepreneurship Exercises (3E) competition at USASBE this past January!
Entrepreneurship Education

If your students focus more on their products than their customers’ problems, this lesson plan is for you.!

Through this exercise, students will discover how important emotions are in the decision-making process, and the importance of understanding and fulfilling other people’s emotional needs.


Specifically, students will learn:

  • Why the majority of businesses that start end in failure, & how to avoid those failures
  • Customer decisions are driven by their emotions
  • To create products customers want to buy, we need to understand the emotional journey they want to take

Here’s how the lesson plan works…

Step 1: Set Context in Your Class

Use this exercise when students are beginning to think of ideas to develop – see the High Quality Idea Generation module in the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) for explicit instructions to guide students to develop high quality ideas they are uniquely qualified to pursue.

Let students know there is a specific perspective that can help them develop powerful ideas that they will enjoy working on, and that today they will learn that perspective.

Step 2: Why Businesses Fail

Ask students to describe what they think the difference is between an inventor and an entrepreneur.

Inventors vs. Entrepreneurs

Walk students through the two comparisons to highlight this difference:

  • Segway vs. Razor scooters. Explain that Segway is an incredible invention, estimated to have a value of $2.5 billion, and that it was a colossal failure that reached only 1% of its market valuation. Then explain that Razor scooters (and now Bird and Lime electric scooters) are similar, but these far less “innovative” transportation options have generated far more market value – nearly $15 billion market. Point out that the Segway creator is an inventor because he focused on his emotional needs (building something technologically innovative, whereas the creator of the Razor scooter are entrepreneurs because they focused on creating products people actually decide to buy and use.
  • Google Glass vs. Warby Paker. Explain that Google Glass, like Segway, was invented as a revolutionary technology, but ended up being the butt of many jokes. Warby Parker, on the other hand, sells glasses that actually solve a problem for customers, so customers want to buy and use them.

Step 3: Setting Up the Game

Tell your students that to understand what people decide to buy, they must first understand how people make decisions. Explain they will play a game to figure that out, and the team that wins a game will get to pick their prize.

Explain that to play the game, your students will:

  • Form teams of two
  • Listen to a recording
  • Answer one question about the recording
  • The team that answers the question the best gets the prize

Let students know they will pick between a real lottery ticket worth up to $40 million, or a dime. Be sure to emphasize the potential value of the lottery ticket (e.g., a chance at $40 million) as opposed to simply describing it as a lottery ticket. Even if the jackpot is more than $40 million, tell them it’s worth $40 million to keep the math consistent for this exercise.

Tell your students that, based on the odds of winning the lottery, and the taxes they’d have to pay on any winnings, the dime is, strictly speaking, more valuable than the lottery ticket. Students should talk in their dyads and decided which prize they want.

Step 4: Lottery Ticket vs. Dime

Ask students to raise their hand if they want the dime. Then ask them to raise their hand if they want to lottery ticket.

The majority will pick the lottery ticket. Ask them

Why do you want a prize that is objectively worth less?

Probe them with questions that highlight any emotions associated with your students’ choices as you begin to hand out copies of the Emotional Palette Canvas

NOTE: Some students will indicate they want the dime instead of the lottery ticket. Be sure to dive in to understand why they want the dime. Ultimately, their preference for the dime will have an emotional component as well, even if it appears to be based entirely on logic (e.g. they want to feel confident, smart, etc.).

Step 5: Emotional Palette Canvas

Explain that this canvas is a tool to help them visualize and compare the intensity of different emotions.

Emotional Palette Canvas - Federico Mammano

Ask students to find the emotions they would feel if they won the lottery ticket. Scores should be in the +3 or +4 range. Ask your students to discuss in their dyad the following question:

Using the Emotional Palette Canvas, how can you explain why most people prefer the shot at $40 million, as opposed to an objectively more valuable dime.

NOTE: The correct answer is that while the objective value of the dime is higher than the lottery ticket, the emotional value (e.g. hope, excitement, fun, etc.) of the ticket is much higher than the dime. Teams should use the Emotional Palette Canvas to illustrate that the lottery ticket emotions “score” higher than the dime emotions.

Step 6: The Man Who Couldn’t Feel

Switch now to the questions that will determine the winning dyad. Tell students to listen carefully to the podcast you will play and think about this question:

What role do emotions play in decision making?

Play this podcast listed in the lesson plan.

Step 7: How Humans Make Decisions

After the podcast, have students answer the following to determine the prize winner:

  • They must link all of the concepts covered today:
    • The difference between inventors and entrepreneurs
    • The majority of the class wants the objectively less valuable, but emotionally more valuable, lottery ticket as a prize
    • What you learned from the podcast
  • To describe:
    • What role do emotions play in decision making?
    • Why did we, like most entrepreneurs, failed in our first experiment?
    • What we should do different next time to avoid repeating our mistakes?

For a sample answer, download the lesson plan!

It may take a few attempts for teams to get all the elements of this answer correct. After a team guesses, provide them feedback and then let another team answer. Continue until all of the elements above have been spoken to.

NOTE: So many people, including the majority of our students, think our decisions are based on logic, reason, and rational thinking. This is an opportunity to highlight that’s not the case. Drive this point home, especially if you’re teaching a large number of logically-oriented students, like engineers or scientists.

Step 8: Recap

This is your chance to drive home the main points of this lesson.

  • There’s no such thing as a human making a purely logical decision. Without emotions, we can’t make decisions.
  • Emotions influence every decision we make including what products are successful and who gets what jobs.
  • Whether one become an entrepreneur, or get a job, how much money one makes depends on how well they understand and fulfill other people’s emotional needs.

Get the “Lottery Ticket Dilemma” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed “Lottery Ticket Dilemma” lesson plan. This exercise walks you, and your students, through the process, step-by-step.

Get the Lesson Plan

 

It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.

This lesson is part of our fully experiential curriculum. If you’d like to see the entire curriculum, click to learn more.

 

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Missed Our Recent Articles?

Whether you are new to our community of entrepreneurship educators, or you’ve been contributing for years, we wanted to give you a list of the posts our community finds most valuable:

  • “The best class I’ve taken!”  We all want a Dead Poets Society moment in our entrepreneurship class. One professor using the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum got hers!
  • Improving Student Idea Generation. Help students build ideas around the customers they are most passionate about helping, and the problems they are most excited to help them resolve.
  • Teachers Need Tools.  Our curriculum makes prepping your entrepreneurship classes a breeze, and makes teaching the classes a powerful experience for students.
Teaching Entrepreneurship Online: 5 Common Mistakes (and how to Avoid Them)

Teaching Entrepreneurship Online: 5 Common Mistakes (and how to Avoid Them)

Successful Online Classes

As many of us transition our classes online, growing pains will abound. We wanted to provide a quick summary of the most common pitfalls you’re likely to run into so you know how to avoid them.

5 Online Teaching Mistakes to Avoid


Mistake #1: Weekly assignments

If you have weekly assignments, in other words just one touchpoint per week where students are expected to turn something in, you’re inviting time management challenges for your students. This can be especially true if students are new to taking online classes; they’re not used to planning out their weekly schedule around finishing assignments. Couple that with other work and class commitments and in all likelihood, they will wait until the last minute to get their work finished.

Solution: Multiple touch points each week.

When transitioning our own in-person curriculum online, we’ve found it helps set our students up for success by having at least 2 touchpoints per week. For example, we have assignments due on Tuesday and Thursday. Alternatively, you can set up your course so that assignments are due Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Whatever you decide, break up the assignments into smaller chunks to help avoid any time management problems your students may have. This will help keep them on track and reduce their tendency to cram.


Mistake #2: Not Using Groups

We often hear from professors who teach online that they don’t feel as connected to their students, or they worry their students don’t feel connected to them. Additionally, we’ve heard from students that they don’t feel connected to other students when taking an online class. 

If you’re avoiding group work because you’re teaching online, you’re missing an effective tool for fostering a connection between your students. 

Group work can seem daunting to set up, assess and grade online, but it doesn’t have to be. And since group work is a powerful tool to combat disconnection in an online classroom, it’s worth the effort. Here are a few of our proven methods for creating a successful group.

1) Reflection Groups

Reflection Groups are small groups of students (3-4), who meet up “face-to-face” online via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc. to reflect on individual experiences they’ve had during the class. This provides an explicit opportunity to reflect, and take notes about their reflections, with peers from the class, helps drive student thinking deeper. It also helps them connect with other people in their class and fosters a more profound connection since it provides space for them to share their reflections of their experience, rather than simply sharing right/wrong answers.

For example, in our classes students meet with their reflection groups to discuss:

  • Their fears and curiosities about life after graduation
  • The biggest failures they’ve encountered in their lives so far, and what they’ve learned from them
  • Successes and struggles they’ve had with individual assignments

Creating groups isn’t difficult. All Learning Management Systems (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, Brightspace, etc.) have functionality for creating student. While technology like Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime, and Skype make it really easy for students to meetup. This makes it simple to leverage group work and increase your student’s feeling of connection.

What can feel a little more daunting about online groups is grading/assessment. Here’s how to tackle that: 

2) Team Work + Individual (Video) Reflections

Have the students complete their exercises together, but have them turn in individual reflections. 

In our classes, we encourage students to work together but require each student to submit their own video-based reflections on the work they’ve done. These videos (which we limit to 1 – 3 minutes), speed up the assessment process, cutting down on overall assessment time while ensuring each student is developing their own skills.


Mistake #3: Not Using Webcams

Webcams establish an instant face-to-face connection which is incredibly helpful in establishing a connection with your students. We recommend, whenever possible, using your own webcam, and to encourage your students to use webcams themselves. 

When we ask for student submissions, we have them use a tool called Loom, which is an easy-to-use browser extension which allows students to simply record their screen and capture their webcam at the same time. We’ve used Loom thousands of students and have had great results.

Loom lets you see your students (establishing a connection) and gives you a real insight into what they’ve been working on. We’ve found this is an invaluable tool in discovering how well they understand the concepts being taught in class. It also leads to a deeper level of understanding of the material because students will need to be able to write about the subject as well as talk about it concisely. We do recommend setting time guidelines for the videos. For example, we have students make videos 2-3 minutes long. This reduces the amount of time needed to go through the videos.


Mistake #4: “Read and Regurgitate” Discussion Boards

Typically, discussion boards are used as a way to ensure students complete some reading by asking students to reflect on what they’ve read, and possibly comment on another student’s post. Most of the time, this leads to students simply summarizing what they read and writing similar comments on fellow students’ posts. Unfortunately, this doesn’t lead to a lot of in-depth discussion or reflection. 

Discussion boards are optimal when people are presenting diverse viewpoints as opposed to all reflecting similar ideas. 

We recommend using discussion boards for personal reflections. For example, instead of asking students to go through an experience and describe what the experience was, have them talk about their personal challenges that came up with the experience. Ask what they learned most as a result of the experience. How are they going to apply that skill going forward?

Making personal comments creates a connected feeling in the class as students read other people’s responses. They get to know each other better and you get a sense of if they’re really understanding what you want them to take away from the material.

Discussion boards can also be used for students to pitch business ideas. You can even have students form teams around pitch ideas. Any experience you can create where students are leveraging different ideas is a great place to use discussion boards.


Mistake #5: “Class-Based” Thinking

It’s hard enough to create an engaging classroom in-person. Going online can feel even more daunting because we don’t have the opportunity for real-time interaction with students.

That said, there’s a little-known benefit to teaching online that can be used to create extremely engaging experiences.

When teaching in-person classes, it’s normal to have your thinking centered on “classes.” Whether a 75-minute class, 90-minute class, etc., we know that we have X-amount of things we want to cover in that amount of time. However, an online class doesn’t have the same time constraints.

We have found that it’s helpful to shift from a “class” structure to focus on creating “ah-ha” experiences for our students. Start by thinking about the ah-ha moments you have in your in-person classes and write out all of the interactions you have with your students that lead up to that moment. Then start translating each of those interactions online. Once you start thinking on an “interaction” level, as opposed to a “class” level, it’s much easier to… 

Structure your course around creating “ah-ha” experiences.

As we created the online version of our in-person curriculum, we’ve had to tease out the interactive moments between instructor and students and rethink the time frame of these interactions. For example, in an in-person class, the professor can provide a prompt and the students respond in real-time and the entire lesson may only take 30 minutes. Online, this same lesson may span two weeks as the professor provides a prompt, awaits student responses, provides counter-discussion or reflection, etc. While this takes longer calendar-wise, we have found it is possible to create just as engaging of an experience for online students as we have in-person, by focusing primarily on these interactions.

For example, in the first class of our curriculum, we have students write out on post-it notes their fears and curiosities after they graduate. We then have them share their fears and curiosities with someone sitting next to them. We then create post-it note clouds around common themes they share. Then our instructors take those common challenges and map them into their syllabus. Some common fears are:

  • How am I going to find a job?
  • Is my job going to pay enough?
  • Am I going to like my job?

Professors then take these common problems or themes and point towards the places in the syllabus that will help address them. Students then realize, “Oh, even if I don’t want to be an entrepreneur, here’s what I’m going to get out of this class or entrepreneurial skills.” This whole process takes roughly 30 minutes in-person. 

The online version, on the other hand, is more drawn out. First students fill out a survey that says “here are my fears and curiosities.” Then they utilize the aforementioned reflection groups where they’ll talk about their challenges. Then the instructor takes the survey results and makes a video response connecting the dots between their students’ challenges, and their syllabus. So, the interaction takes longer in terms of calendar time but creates the same “ah-ha” moment as students realize the value entrepreneurship skills can have on their lives, even if they don’t see themselves becoming entrepreneurs. 

Takeaways

Transitioning to teaching online can be challenging, but it can also be extremely effective. If you want to make sure your students:

  • Avoid cramming
  • Feel connected to you and your other students
  • Engage fully in your class

We recommend:

  1. Having multiple touch points per week
  2. Group assignments w/ individual reflections
  3. Everyone record videos with webcams
  4. Use discussion boards for personal reflections
  5. Replicate your interactions, not your classes, online

If you’d like more tips on running successful online classes, subscribe here to get the next one in your inbox.

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If you have any suggestions to fix the mistakes above or want to recommend any mistakes we missed, please let us know!

In the meantime… 

We Need Your Questions!

During this time of uncertainty, we want to hear what challenges you’re running into, and questions you have. We’re eager to experiment with ways to serve the teaching community, but like good innovators, we want to make sure we’re solving real problems.

What's Your Biggest Teaching Challenge?

In my role as USASBE President-elect, I’m hosting a USASBE Virtual Town Hall on March 25th, where we’ll discuss your challenges in detail. Answering the question above, or clicking the image below, will register you for the discussion, and make sure you get the recording afterward.

United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Town Hall Discussion of Entrepreneurship Education

Register Here for the USASBE Town Hall

Our Curriculum

If you’re looking for a structured, comprehensive, and engaging experiential entrepreneurship curriculum you can run with your students in person, or online, check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

Used at more than 80 colleges and universities, ExEC helps students feel connected with you, and one another, while they learn practical entrepreneurial skills regardless of their career path.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

 

Social Entrepreneurship Syllabus

Social Entrepreneurship Syllabus

“A little bit of good can turn into a whole lot of good when fueled by the commitment of a social entrepreneur.” – Jeff Skoll, Founder, Skoll World Forum

Social entrepreneurship is a booming area of entrepreneurship programs around the world. Many students today want to change the world, but they struggle with understanding how to start. Using our social entrepreneurship syllabus, you can position students to address a social need with a mission-driven for-profit or not-for-profit venture.

 

This sample syllabus lays out a skills-based, experiential journey during which students develop the mindset and skillset to create value as they address some of the biggest problems facing our society today.

Social Entrepreneurship Skills

A social entrepreneurship course, done well, helps students gain transferable skills they can use to change the world! These skills are particularly important as students tackle really big social problems like climate change, equality and justice, diversity and inclusion, election security, etc.

These skills revolve around two main goals: finding a problem worth solving and finding a solution worth building. To find a problem worth solving, our social entrepreneurship syllabus guides students through a series of exercises designed to:

  • Develop a growth mindset so students believe they can be good at anything.
  • Leverage failure by experiencing and reflecting on a series of small failures.
  • Generating ideas that bring them meaning.
  • Finding and interviewing the best customers for their ideas. Students learn what to ask customers and how to analyze interviews to guide their business model iteration.

To find a problem worth solving, our social entrepreneurship syllabus guides students through a series of exercises designed to:

  • Enhance students’ brainstorming skills and enable them to develop solutions based on customers’ problems.
  • Monetize solutions using effective pricing and financial modeling strategies.
  • Prototype new versions of their product that allows them to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
  • Run business model experiments using small bets and different strategies until they find one that works.

Experiential Learning for the Social Entrepreneur

The skills necessary for success as a social entrepreneur include identifying opportunities, problem-solving, customer interviewing, and prototyping. Students completing a course using our social entrepreneurship syllabus may not build a social business or movement today or tomorrow, but the skills they learn will be valuable for them in any career path once they leave campus.

While they are on campus, students are involved with many organizations in the community and across campus. No matter their position in these organizations, you can show your students how the skills they practice using this social entrepreneurship syllabus will benefit them in all of those organizations.

Students looking to change the world want inspiration and want to know it’s possible.

Show them it is possible by letting them practice the skills necessary to bring change to life. We built our social entrepreneurship syllabus upon a foundation of these skills, guided by the expertise of our community of nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship professors.


Get the Social Entrepreneurship Sample Syllabus

We’ve created a detailed Social Entrepreneurship sample syllabus that details the components of a full semester course.

Get the Sample Syllabus

 

It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship Sample Syllabus

Introduction to Entrepreneurship Sample Syllabus

“Why is it useful to understand the theory behind art, why not just go finger paint?” Todd Zenger, the chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the David Eccles School of Business.

It is important to expose students to entrepreneurship by inviting them to practice entrepreneurial skills. In an introduction to entrepreneurship course, students need to understand what it feels like to think and act entrepreneurially, because that is how they will create value for their future employer, and perhaps by one day launching their own venture. In other words, students need active learning, which is what this Introduction to Entrepreneurship syllabus provides.

We developed our Introduction to Entrepreneurship syllabus with the help of our community of nearly 10,000 entrepreneurship educators so it enables you to create an experience through which students:

  • Practice the skills necessary to launch a create lasting value for any organization they work for, or any venture they launch. In other words, they hone skills that are valuable in any career path!
  • Apply concepts to problems and contexts that matter to them.

Training in entrepreneurship stimulates students’ powers of observation, develops their creative and critical thinking, and instills in them an orientation to disciplined and collaborative action. Our Introduction to Entrepreneurship syllabus provides you a roadmap of experiential skill-building around observation, creativity, and action.

Entrepreneurial Skills

Graduates with well-honed entrepreneurial skills make a valuable contribution in any field: engineering, business, medicine, law, education, counseling, and many other fields. An introduction to entrepreneurship course lays the foundation during which students learn the critical mindset and skillset entrepreneurs use to create value.

Using our introduction to entrepreneurship syllabus, after navigating some small failures, students use their growth mindset to discover ideas that are meaningful to them. If students work on ideas that bring them meaning, the learning is much more effective, so we enable you to guide them through a validated process to get excited about the ideas they work on! The next step is the most critical skill entrepreneurs learn: interviewing customers. We developed award-winning exercises during which students learn what to ask customers, iteratively practice customer interviews, and analyze interviews to guide their business model iteration.

The next phase in our introduction to entrepreneurship syllabus is where students build a solution worth building. In this phase, students develop solutions based on customers’ problems using creative and design thinking. Once they identify a solution their customers want, our exercises walk them through effectively monetizing that solution, prototyping that solution to collect validated learning about customers, and running business model experiments. This course ends with students demonstrating they acquired the entrepreneurial skills to find and test new opportunities by sharing the story of their process through (in)validating their business model.


Get the Introduction to Entrepreneurship Sample Syllabus

We’ve created a detailed Introduction to Entrepreneurship sample syllabus that details the components of a full semester course.

Get the Sample Syllabus

 

It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.


college entrepreneurship

Lecture Less & Coach More With the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum

Want to create the most engaging team experiences for your students? Check out the award-winning Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC). Request a preview of ExEC today and make next semester the most engaging semester of entrepreneurship yet! Our curriculum is full of experiential exercises that will make your students’ learning come alive.


Countdown to USASBE 2020

Countdown to USASBE 2020

See You In New Orleans!

Our team is busy getting ready for the USASBE conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference gives space for entrepreneurship educators to come together to share innovative research and experiential ideas for teaching entrepreneurship.

USASBE Entrepreneurship Exercises

Eat & Drink with Us

Teaching Entrepreneurship USASBE
  • Enjoy great food and drink
  • Connect with like-minded professionals
  • Get inspired with thought-provoking conversation
Behind the Scenes of our Last Happy Hour

See Our Lesson Plans in Action

We’re leading 6 talks this year during the conference:

Sunday Sessions

Normalizing Failing through the Wish Game (Sunday @ 9:30 am in Chamber III)

This exercise was borrowed from faculty at Stanford University and developed into the foundation of an MBA Entrepreneurship course to teach entrepreneurship skills by classmates iteratively delivering wishes for each other. This exercise is a powerful path to students learning entrepreneurial skills like ideation, customer interviewing, prototyping, selling, and mobilizing resources, all in the context of creating memorable experiences for their fellow classmates.

60 Minute MVP (Sunday @ 9:30 am in Conti)

The 60 Minute MVP is an intense and exciting exercise that teaches critical aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset and lean start-up methodology, namely the iterative process of hypothesis testing through the creation of minimum viable products (MVPs). In 60 minutes, with no prior technical expertise, students work in teams to design a landing page, create an explainer video, and set up a way to measure pre-launch demand from prospective customers by accepting pre-orders or email addresses. 

What Happens When (Female) Students Dare to Dream? (Sunday @ 3:15 pm in Lafitte)

There are not enough female students in entrepreneurship and innovation programs and career paths. This expose will introduce a proven program that successfully addresses this inequity: a series of college-student driven events targeting the entrepreneurial confidence, vulnerability, and action of high school students (particularly female students). Participants will learn the framework for how these high-impact events can be developed and delivered in any university setting and scaled to a city-wide event, and to intensive summer camps and overnight retreats.

Monday Sessions

Customer Interviewing: Learning the Basics Through Gamification (Monday @ 9:30 am in Bienville)

This is a fun, interactive exercise will demonstrate to students: What their problem interviewing goals should be and should not be, and based on those goals; What questions they should and should not ask during customer interviews; Educators follow up the card game by giving students an interview script template they can use as the basis for their problem discovery interviews. After students experience this exercise, they will have a robust customer interview script they can use to increase the quality of their interviews, and their confidence in conducting them. 

Entrepreneurs vs Inventors: The Lottery Ticket Dilemma (Monday @ 9:30 am in Bienville)

This exercise provides a fun, experiential way for students to conceptualize customer behavior, and identify business opportunities, by demonstrating it’s not actually customer problems that drive behavior, it’s customer emotions. After this game-based activity, students understand why some products are successful even if they don’t solve an obvious problem, and how to leverage that fact to identify non-problem based opportunities. Attendees to this session will get to experience the lesson themselves, and leave with a lesson plan they can use to integrate this exercise in their classes.

Fears & Curiosities: Engaging ALL Students on Day 1 (Monday @ 1:45 pm in Chamber III)

This exercise helps students understand the value of their entrepreneurship classes, even if they never envision themselves becoming an entrepreneur, helping them engage with the class from the first day. The exercise starts with students sharing their fears and curiosities about life after college in a fun and engaging way. After this exercise, students will understand the value of what they are about to learn in their entrepreneurship course, regardless of their relationship to entrepreneurship.

We hope to see you at one of our sessions or join us for a drink and dinner. Invite a friend! The more the merrier.

Federico, Doan & Justin

Teaching Entrepreneurship

Students Don’t See the Value of a Textbook: Dr. Samantha Fairclough

Students Don’t See the Value of a Textbook: Dr. Samantha Fairclough

    It’s a struggle for every professor to keep their class engaged.

In an over-stimulated culture, we are at a disadvantage to create an environment where students aren’t constantly looking at their laptops or phones. To keep their eyes up and maintain their interest can sometimes seem like lofty goals.

Kim Pichot - Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Professor

Dr. Samantha Fairclough understands that struggle. As an Assistant Professor of Practice at University of Nebraska-Lincoln & the Associate Director of the UNL Center for Entrepreneurship, she feels personal and professional pressure to make sure she maintains a high level of student engagement.

As she prepared to teach her Managing Growth and Change class recently, she realized she had to make a change.

    She knew the way she previously taught “isn’t working for me. The students hate it. I hate it. I don’t enjoy the book.”

Entrepreneurship Alternative to Textbook Learning

She decided to ditch all textbooks and was searching for readings and articles she could use instead when she found the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC).

https://youtu.be/DTMcROFzKkc

After using the ExEC 60 minute MVP lesson from the TeachingEntrepreneurship.org website in her current creativity class as a pilot for using the entire ExEC curriculum, she was pleased by the great buzz of energy and student engagement. 

    Dr. Fairclough describes being blown away with the kinds of things her students came up with.
Teaching Entrepreneurship Curriculum

Fully Adopting the ExEC Entrepreneurship Curriculum 

From websites to explainer videos, the lesson was such a great moment and garnered such positive results, she decided she was ready to adopt the full ExEC curriculum with her next group of students.

The timing also seemed right for change because she felt she had the right group of students to try something new. Instead of pushing her class of entrepreneurially minded students into a lecture-based system, Dr. Fairclough fully embraced the ExEC curriculum and found that the tools and techniques worked from day 1.

https://youtu.be/lhPB0gDMYWs

Making it Real Lesson Plan

Using the Making it Real lesson plan, Samantha got the students together in the downtown Lincoln area. She gave each group $5 (in singles) and told them to make as much money as possible in 30 minutes. The winning group would split the winnings. This lesson proved to be a great kick-off for introducing the ExEC philosophy. 

    “One of the joys of this class is, it’s so interactive, there’s a lot of engagement.”

Students returned to class filled with energy and excitement. One group took a temporary job to make money, while another sold shares in their future winnings. The creativity of the ideas combined with the feedback from her students made it obvious to Samantha that the kids loved the exercise.  Coverage of their experience on social media gained some great exposure on campus too. Word of the positive experience continued to spread, even reaching the Dean’s office.

Similar to other entrepreneurship professors, Samantha wants her students to enjoy learning. She found that having a great rapport with her students starts with the material that lays a foundation for a solid experience and exchange of ideas.

Pressure from Above

“As an entrepreneurship professor, I strive to be the best and receive the highest evaluation scores from students,” Samantha shared. “Across the board, those of us who teach entrepreneurship are expected to have interactive, experiential classes. This creates a pressure to continuously find new and effective ways to do that in a way students enjoy but isn’t cumbersome for us as educators.”

Additionally, professors feel added pressure from their institution to remain on the cutting edge of teaching methods. The unspoken thought being if the professor does not create an interactive class that elicits great feedback, they’re not teaching effectively.

Ditch the Textbook: Start Engaging

ExEC was designed to help you engage all of your students without requiring significant prep time.

If you’re, like Dr. Fairclough, looking for a curriculum that

  • Engages every student
  • Provides structured, skill-building, real-world experiences
  • Has comprehensive support for easy adoption

request a preview of our ExEC curriculum here.

Teaching Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans

Samantha Isn’t Alone! Read More Case Studies of ExEC Instructors

Related Articles

We’re committed to providing content that will help our community of entrepreneurship educators remain on the forefront of the field. Here is a list of some recent posts we think you’ll find valuable for your next class:

  • Textbooks Don’t Work. More and more professors are finding textbooks are not an effective way to teach entrepreneurship. Experiences are. Engage your students with the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.
  • Idea Generation vs. Problem Generation. Idea generation is one of the most difficult aspects of teaching entrepreneurship. We share an alternative to idea generation that will quickly help your students generate ideas.
  • How to Teach MVP’s. In this exercise, students will design their first MVP by identifying their riskiest business model assumption. They’ll then design the simplest experiment they can to test that riskiest assumption. 

Ready to Take Student Engagement to the Next Level?

We email new experiential entrepreneurship lesson plans regularly.

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We engage students in practicing skills, actively. Class time should be spent learning by doing, with professors guiding students through an experience where they can see the material come to life in a way that is meaningful for them. We built that experience for you and for your students.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum