Browsed by
Category: Online Curriculum

3 Exercises to Start Your Course

3 Exercises to Start Your Course

Each semester we ask the thousands of students using our Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum a few questions to understand the challenges they face:

  • What’s the hardest part about being a student?
  • Why is that hard?

What we learn informs our curriculum development. It also helps me, as a professor, formulate a strategy to approach my first day of class so it will be memorable, engaging, and so students want to come back for the 2nd day.

The main challenges we hear are:

  1. Time management
  2. Knowing what they want out of life
  3. Staying focused
  4. Staying positive

Students struggle because they balance so many roles – student, athlete, leader, friend, child, teammate, and so on. They share with us general strategies they use to combat the stress and anxiety they face, such as scheduling their days, having an accountability buddy, asking “adults” for help, etc.

Mostly what we hear is that students don’t carve out the time to dig into what matters to them and how they can leverage their college experience to prepare for a meaningful career around what matters to them.

Understanding the challenges our students face gives us the foundation upon which we can change their path. If we build our course experience knowing they struggle with things like time management, finding meaning, and staying focused, we engage them and provide them tools to become successful.

Here we share three exercises that help students think about what is meaningful to them. Implementing these exercises gives you a chance to map your course learning objectives, modules, and assignments onto specific issues students bring up.

They will feel engaged. But more importantly, they will see your course as useful.

#3: Curiosities + Fears = Engagement

The key to engaging students is making lessons personally relevant.

To discover what matters to your students, you can ask two simple questions:

  1. “When you think of life after college, what are you curious about?
  2. “When you think of life after college, what are you afraid of?”

When you ask students to brainstorm their fears and curiosities individually, and then in small groups, your class will buzz with excited and nervous energy about the future. 

Then when you ask students to share what they came up with, you’ll instantly know how to make entrepreneurship relevant: yours is the class where they’ll get to learn about their curiosities, and allay their fears.
Launch class by focusing on students fears and curiosities

This exercise will help you discover your students’ fears and curiosities – which will likely revolve around making money and finding a job they like after they graduate. While it may not be your natural inclination to help solve those problems for your students during an entrepreneurship course, those topics are the key to fully engaging your customers (i.e. students), because those are the problems they care about most.

Students start by jotting down fears that come to mind when they think of life after graduation. You might ask a few students to share, to help create a safe environment where students can be vulnerable.

Students next jot down what they are most curious about when they think of life after college. For this part of the exercise, using a think-pair-share structure will help students connect. As students begin sharing the curiosities they identified in pairs, use a (digital) whiteboard to identify categories that are consistent across the entire class. You will likely end up with categories related to employment, financial, and social concerns.

Your goal here is to show your students how the material and skills they will learn and practice in your course map onto the things they are currently curious about.

You want to rephrase and connect their curiosities to demonstrate you’ve heard your students well and understand them. For example, “It sounds like you’re curious how to find a job you’ll like, you’re good at, and can make enough money at. Does that sound right?”

This is a critical part of this lesson, you’re asking for your students’ buy-in. The better job you do listening to your students’ curiosities and incorporating them into your description of how you’ll resolve them, the more engaged your students will be throughout the course.

Thank your students for any input to clarify, and tell them that their curiosities align well with your objectives for the course. Tell your students how your course is designed to teach them exactly what they’re most curious about:

Tell them if they are curious about finding a job they’ll like, they will test out several jobs in this class, such as:

    • Sales
    • Marketing
    • Product Design
    • Finance
    • Graphic/web design
    • Being your own boss/CEO

If your students are curious about what it takes to get a good job, you can tell them the vast majority of people get their job based on personal recommendations from someone in their network, and that in this class, they’ll learn the skills they need to grow their network, so they can find better job opportunities.

To maximize student buy-in, this exercise allows you to frame the course for your students in a way that will fulfill their curiosities.

Your Course in Students’ Context

Return next class session with the fear and curiosity categories mapped onto the content/lessons/modules/skills you cover in the course. For instance, if you lay out each week in your syllabus with the topics you will cover, add one column for “Fears” and one for “Curiosities”. List in each column the fear and curiosity categories to which each particular topic relates.

This last step is the most critical. It is your chance to reinforce the connection between the course material and the things your students are currently thinking about. Show them how you will give them the tools to address each one of their fears, and each one of their curiosities.

Students Now Have the Context to Launch

After this activity, your students will understand the value of what they are about to learn. They will be more engaged because the learning is now very real for them.

Click here for the complete lesson plan of the Student Fears and Curiosities exercise.


Want 30+ Lessons Like These?

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

Check out ExEC.


#2: High-Functioning Teams on Day 1

Your students will work in teams, but they’re not looking forward to it. Helping them form functional teams will increase both their motivation throughout your course. 

The Skills Scavenger Hunt is not only a fun way for students to get to meet one another, it’ll help them discover who in the class can help them build a diverse team with aligned goals.

Launch class with a skills scavenger hunt to create high-performance teams

During this quick exercise, students go on a scavenger hunt to find other students with complementary skills in the following categories:

  1. Graphics
  2. Technology
  3. Social Media
  4. Design
  5. Sales
  6. Marketing

Students progress through each section, checking any boxes for skills they possess so they find students with complementary skills. Split students into groups, in which students go through each box, and if they possess that skill they share, in 30 seconds or less, details about how/why they achieved that experience.

As this process evolves, each student writes down names and quick notes about any students who possess skills they don’t possess. We suggest shuffling groups at least 1 or 2 more times, to allow students to learn about as many of their classmates as possible.

After the class session, students should post in a discussion board on your LMS what skills they possess and a quick sentence about that particular skill. Students with gaps in their worksheet can identify other students to fill those gaps on this discussion board.

As students meet each other and learn more about their classmates, they set themselves up to execute better, and conflict less, by successfully assembling their own high-performing teams.

Click here for the complete Skills Scavenger Hunt exercise!

#1: Uncover Their Passions

Students who come into our classes passionate about entrepreneurship are easy to engage. 

How do we engage students who aren’t passionate about launching a company? Help them discover what they are passionate about…and help them launch that!

Launch class with the Pilot Your Purpose Exercise

The Pilot Your Purpose exercise help students explore areas that motivate them:

  1. Interests that spark their curiosity
  2. Skills they want to develop
  3. People they want to impact

The combination of these three elements defines a purpose for your students – a personal mission statement that taps into their passions to help others.

Once students have a purpose, you can ground each class session in that purpose. You don’t have to talk abstractly about difficult or stressful topics like customer interviewing or entrepreneurial finance. Instead, your class becomes an opportunity for students to pursue their purpose!

Your class becomes an opportunity for students to pursue their purpose!

Interests + Skills = Passion

The easiest on-ramp to identifying passion is interests. Students think about:

  1. What friends say they always talk about
  2. What they would spend time doing if money was no object
  3. What they were learning about the last time they lost track of time watching Youtube or scrolling on social media

The next step is identifying skills students think about. Similar to interests, students do this by thinking about:

  1. What friends say they are good at
  2. What they would like to get better at doing
  3. What they think they are above average at doing

To identify their passion, students:

  1. Look back at their interests sheet and jot down what excites them
  2. Look back at their skills sheet and jot down what they are interested in getting better at
  3. Think of ways to combine interests and skills

Pilot Your Purpose: Passion

Passion + Impact = Purpose

With a passion identified, students now turn to the impact they want to have on the world. To do that, students think about:

  1. Groups of people they’re excited to help
  2. Problems in their community they’re interested in solving
  3. Global problems they’re interested in solving

Students are now ready to identify their purpose:

  1. Look back at their Passion sheet and jot down what stands out
  2. Look back at their Impact sheet and jot down what stands out
  3. Think of ways to combine passion and impact (which is their purpose)

Pilot Your Purpose: Purpose

When your students identify a specific purpose, they can weave it throughout the rest of the course, as they are developing their entrepreneurial mindset and skill set.

As you begin each module of your course, students will stay motivated as they see the direct application of the particular material to their purpose!

Get your copy of the Pilot Your Purpose Worksheet here!


Want 30+ Lessons Like These?

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

Check out ExEC.


What’s Next?

In an upcoming post, we’ll share a new exercise for helping to normalize failure so students fear it less.

Subscribe here to get our next exercise in your inbox.

2020 Top Free Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans & Tools

2020 Top Free Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans & Tools

“Your posts help me keep my students engaged – they and I thank you!” – ExEC Professor

Based on the popularity of our 2019 Top 5 Lesson Plans article, here is the list of our 2020 top entrepreneurship lesson plans based on feedback from our fast-growing community of thousands of entrepreneurship instructors.

We designed the following exercises and lesson plans to transform your students’ experience as they learn how to stay engaged online, interview customers, and form teams.

5. Gamify Your Lectures

We all struggled during this year of online learning to keep our students engaged. One surefire way to inject excitement into your class is to gamify your lectures. In this lesson, we explain how to use our favorite gamification tools (Slido and Kahoot!) to minimize Zoom zombie syndrome in your students.

These tools allow you to convert concepts you need to cover into questions your students explore one at a time. With this formative assessment approach, you discover what your students already know and what they need help with. Additionally, this approach activates passive students and invites students to teach each other.

Be careful using gamification; don’t overdo it. This gamification technique is great, but if you use it too often its benefits will wear off. Instead, mix this approach up with a number of experiential exercises (like those in the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum).

View Directions to Gamify Your Class with Slido and Kahoot!

4. Skills Scavenger Hunt

Students in high-performance teams learn better and perform better. But how do we move students beyond forming teams with friends and teammates? Students matched on aligned goals and diverse skills give them their best chance at boosting their learning capability.

We developed our Skills Scavenger Hunt to facilitate that process and thus mitigate the biggest drawbacks of student team projects. In this exercise, students go on a scavenger hunt to find other students with complementary skills.

skills scavenger hunt online ice breaker team building animation

With this unique exercise, students form high-performing teams by going on a scavenger hunt to find other students with complementary skills in the following categories:

  1. Graphics
  2. Technology
  3. Social Media
  4. Design
  5. Sales
  6. Marketing

If your students are in teams that are dysfunctional, or just sleepy, their learning can come to a screeching halt as they disengage. Empower them to successfully assemble their own high-performing teams so they execute better and conflict less.

View The Skills Scavenger Hunt Exercise

3. Steve Blank Discusses How to Teach Entrepreneurship

At the USASBE 2020 annual conference, we had the privilege of interviewing entrepreneurship education guru Steve Blank. In the first of two posts, he shared his perspective on how to teach entrepreneurship. Steve Blank Talking about How to Teach Entrepreneurship

In a post loaded with great advice for any novice or expert entrepreneurship educator, Steve opened up about his many decades of experience as an entrepreneur, educator, and mentor. Read the full post for a wealth of invaluable information, but the quick takeaways are:

  1. Educators need a mentor. Effective entrepreneurship educators need expertise in the domains of education and entrepreneurship. Steve advises us to find a mentor in the domain in which we lack experience and expertise.
  2. Educators should train entrepreneurs like artists. Steve encourages us to forget about teaching answers, and instead design learning experiences so students can practice skill-building.
  3. Students learn skills by practicing them. Steve encourages us to learn to design effective learning experiences, as those are the best way to teach our students skills.

Read An Overview of the 1st Half of Our Interview Here

(and Read the 2nd Half Here)

2. 10 Free Tools to Increase Student Engagement

During the TeachingEntrepreneurship.org Virtual Conference, we presented 10 tools to increase online student engagement. Learn about these free quiz, video, digital whiteboard, and presentation tools like Gimkit, Note.ly, Mural, and Loom.

You can sprinkle these tools throughout your entrepreneurship syllabus, or stack them like building blocks, to create a deeper face-to-face or online student engagement. Below is a video recap of the conference presentation.

We consistently experiment with a wide variety of tools to help our community of entrepreneurship educators provide engaging experiences for their students. For this post, we curated the 10 tools we feel provide the greatest chance of deeply engaging learning experiences for your students, whether you’re teaching face-to-face or online.

View 10 Free Tools to Increase Student Engagement

1. Lottery Ticket Dilemma

We urge our faculty to focus students on their customers’ emotional needs, which leads to more valuable customer interviews. During this exercise, students discover how important emotions are in the decision-making process and the importance of understanding and fulfilling other people’s emotional needs.

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

  • Why the majority of startups end in failure, & how to avoid those failures
  • That 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

View Lottery Ticket Dilemma Lesson Plan
In addition to our community thinking this is a powerful experience in the classroom, this exercise also won first place in the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Exercises Awards at the USASBE 2020 Annual Conference!

Entrepreneurship Education

Want 15 Weeks of Lesson Plans?

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

We’ve done the work for you.

Motivated Students in 3 Steps

Motivated Students in 3 Steps

We all want to teach motivated students, but this is a particularly challenging time for them:

  • Classes are virtual. You and I are experiencing Zoom fatigue, but imagine being a student and being asked to sit through hours of lectures each week.
  • Experiential learning is scary. Getting out of the classroom, engaging with strangers, sharing rough experiments with the world – these can all cause students significant anxiety.
  • “I’m not an entrepreneur.” Some students may just be filling credits. Others may have a misconception about what it means to be an entrepreneur.

We’ve found the key to keeping students motivated is to…

Help Students Discover Their Intrinsic Motivators

How do you guide students to their intrinsic motivators? Focus on the intersection of three elements:

  1. The skills they have and want to develop further.
  2. Their interests that spark their curiosity.
  3. Where they want to make an impact in the world.

Get Motivated Students with the Pilot Your Purpose Exercise

Purpose lies at the intersection of these three elements. If you guide your students through the exercise below early in the semester, they spend the semester working on their purpose.

Students pursuing their purpose = motivated students.

If you did not see us present this exercise at our Summer Summit, we will be presenting it again at the 2021 USASBE Annual Conference on January 5

Pilot Your Purpose = Motivated Students

Once students have a purpose, you can ground each class session in that purpose. You don’t have to talk abstractly about difficult or stressful topics like customer interviewing or entrepreneurial finance. Instead, talk with students about how to interview customers for the idea they are most passionate about pursuing, or how to finance their passion project.

Your class becomes an opportunity for students to pursue their purpose!

Interests + Skills = Passion

The easiest on-ramp to identifying passion is interests. Have students think about:

  1. What friends say they always talk about
  2. What they would spend time doing if money was no object
  3. What they were learning about the last time they lost track of time watching Youtube or scrolling on social media

I talk to my friends and colleagues, who say I’m always talking about mentoring programs, curriculum, and big town & gown ideas. I think about what I would do if money was no object, and some things I thought about are building mentoring programs, adopting old dogs, and teaching entrepreneurship to prisoners (I’ve never engaged with prisoners, but think teaching them entrepreneurship would be deeply meaningful). I then think back to the last time I lost a couple of hours staring on my phone, and it was watching others teach Adobe Illustrator.

I now see my interests mapped out, according to what my friends say, what I dream about, and what holds my attention.

Step 1 of Pilot Your Purpose Exercise is identifying interests The next step is identifying skills students think about. Similar to interests, students do this by thinking about:

  1. What friends say they are good at
  2. What they would like to get better at doing
  3. What they think they are above average at doing

I again talk to my friends, who say I am good at being coaching teachers, giving honest feedback, and at being sarcastic. I think about things I do that I want to be better at. I love, for instance, trying to create engaging content on social media, but know I have a lot to learn! Last, I think hard about what I am really good at, and land on creating curriculum, presenting, coaching/mentoring and connecting others.

I now see my skills mapped out, according to what my friends say, areas I want to improve, and what I’m already good at.

Step 2 of Pilot Your Purpose Exercise is identifying skills

Here is the exercise to motivate your students!

To download the full Pilot Your Purpose exercise enter your email below!


Want More Engaged Students?

Check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Whether you’re teaching online, face-to-face, or a hybrid of the two, we built our Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) to provide award-winning engagement and excitement for your students

  • in any course structure
  • on all major learning management system

Preview ExEC Now
 

We’ve taken the guesswork out of creating an engaging approach that works both online or in-person. ExEC has a comprehensive entrepreneurship syllabus template complete with 15 weeks of award-winning lesson plans that can be easily adapted to your needs.

Winter Summit Invite

Winter Summit Invite

Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit
Last summer we had a blast launching our new “Pilot Your Purpose” and “Skills Scavenger Hunt” exercises and sharing best practices with 1,350+ entrepreneurship teachers like you at the 
 
 
Entrepreneurship Educators Attending the Teaching Entrepreneurship Summit
In fact, we had such a good time…

We’re doing it again…with more new exercises!

Join us at the Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit for two interactive days of workshops and exercises.

REGISTER NOW!

Dec. 9th
How to Build an App
(without writing code)

So many of our students want to launch apps but don’t think they have the skills. On Dec. 9th, that will change.

Join us to learn how your students can create their own apps, by creating one yourself, without writing a single line of code!

Plus, meet and share best practices for prototyping and MVPs with other entrepreneurship instructors from around the world.

Dec. 16th
Entrepreneurial Plinko:

Why Business Plans Don’t Work

This new game will teach your students why business plans are falling out of favor and being replaced by:

  • Business Models
  • Customer Interviews
  • Design Thinking and
  • MVPs

Combining Plinko with Tinder, this game will demonstrate why we don’t emphasize business plans anymore while getting students excited about running business model experiments instead!

Join us at the Teaching Entrepreneurship Winter Summit to:

  • Play the game
  • Get access for your students
  • Get a lesson plan on how to use it!

Early Bird Tickets Available!

REGISTER NOW!

We know budgets are tight right now so we’re offering a new “Live Access Only” ticket free of charge.

Or if you’d like to have recordings and slides from the Summit:

Register before Dec. 2nd for $100 off the Full Access ticket.

REGISTER NOW!


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:

  • Slido: Our Favorite Tool for Online Engagement. Zoom fatigue is ruining student engagement in online classes. Use Slido to inject energy and interaction into your online classes.
  • Less Time = More Engagement. Teaching entrepreneurship online to engage students is hard. Use the “best entrepreneurship curriculum available” to WOW! your students this Spring and spend less time preparing and more time engaging.
  • Gamify Your Online Class. Don’t lecture at your students. Invite them into a game to learn the material. If you gamify your online class sessions, your students engage and perform!
  • Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus. This online entrepreneurship syllabus is an innovative online experience that is asynchronous with multiple touchpoints, skills-based, and experiential.

Want More Engaged Students?

Check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Whether you’re teaching online, face-to-face, or a hybrid of the two, we built our Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) to provide award-winning engagement and excitement for your students

  • in any course structure
  • on all major learning management system
Preview ExEC Now

 

We’ve taken the guesswork out of creating an engaging approach that works both online or in-person. ExEC has a comprehensive entrepreneurship syllabus template complete with 15 weeks of award-winning lesson plans that can be easily adapted to your needs.

3 (Easier) Ways to Combine Your Camera and Slides

3 (Easier) Ways to Combine Your Camera and Slides

Our previous article on how to combine your slides and webcam to engage students was a hit because…

Combine slides and camera to engage students

Only trouble was, it was a little complicated to get this technique working. Fortunately, new tools have come along, and now…

It’s much easier to integrate your webcam in your slides!

Easiest Solution if you Use Zoom

In Zoom, your presentation can now be your virtual background!

Combine slides and camera to engage entrepreneurship students

This setup puts you directly on top of your slides, so you can interact with your slides as you’re leading your students through them.

What It Looks Like

How to Do It

For the step-by-step instructions, read this article from Zoom.

Caveats

While this is a wonderfully simple solution, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • It’s beta functionality, meaning Zoom is actively working on it. There might be rough edges to the experience for a few more months.
  • For the best effect, your computer needs to be able to support Zoom’s virtual backgrounds
  • It doesn’t support animations in your slides. If you have animations you want to keep, there’s a tool called PPspliT that may help you split each of your animations into separate static slides.

Easiest Solution if You Use a Mac

If Zoom’s slide virtual backgrounds won’t do the trick for you and you’re on a Mac, the next easiest option is to use the new mmhmm app.

Similar to the solution for Zoom users outlined above, mmhmm allows you to show content “over your shoulder” and dive into an immersive full-screen presentation. Like the Zoom setup above, this experience engages your students in an interactive experience.

Mmhmm integrates with Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet, and a few others.

Recent updates now allow for full compatibility with any video app that allows screen sharing!

Setting Up mmhmm

Step 1: Open the app

Step 2: If you use a green screen, click the Camera button in the top right corner, and click the I have a green screen box. If you don’t have a green screen, use the Presenter sidebar and experiment with the SilhouetteRound and Portrait mask tools to frame yourself. With mmhmm, you can use the resizer to shrink and grow yourself and your images to direct your viewers’ attention exactly where you want it to be.

Step 3: Click the Rooms sidebar to choose your background image. You can choose from the always-growing variety included, or you can upload your own image or video to use as a background.

Step 4: Add your slides in the Slide Tray at the bottom of the mmhmm screen. 

Step 5: Once you have your slides and camera set up, share your screen in your respective platform (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) and choose the mmhmm tab to present your interactive, engaging presentation. With new features shipping all the time, mmhmm continues to offer ways to WOW! your students. For instance, they recently released the Copilot feature, so now two people can work together on the same presentation.

As with the Zoom solution outlined earlier, mmhmm is not a perfect solution. This app is currently in beta functionality, meaning mmhmm is actively working on it so there might be bugs and some rough edges to the experience.

Additionally, this app is only for Mac users – while they promise a Windows version is on the way soon, it does not currently exist.

Easiest Universal Solution

While a little more involved, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is the original and most powerful way to combine your slides and webcam.

OBS works on Windows and Mac, and with virtually all web conference software tools. 

Combine slides and camera to engage students

Fortunately, the process of using OBS to achieve this effect has been greatly simplified.

Click here for our easier instructions for using OBS to create engaging presentations.

See It In Action

We hope you give this technique a shot – it helps students stay engaged and it’s a more fun way to lecture.

To see a recorded online session that uses these techniques to combine webcam and slides, add your email:


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:

  • Slido: Our Favorite Tool for Online Engagement. Zoom fatigue is ruining student engagement in online classes. Use Slido to inject energy and interaction into your online classes.
  • Less Time = More Engagement. Teaching entrepreneurship online to engage students is hard. Use the “best entrepreneurship curriculum available” to WOW! your students this Spring and spend less time preparing and more time engaging.
  • Gamify Your Online Class. Don’t lecture at your students. Invite them into a game to learn the material. If you gamify your online class sessions, your students engage and perform!
  • Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus. This online entrepreneurship syllabus is an innovative online experience that is asynchronous with multiple touchpoints, skills-based, and experiential.

Want More Engaged Students?

Check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Whether you’re teaching online, face-to-face, or a hybrid of the two, we built our Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) to provide award-winning engagement and excitement for your students

  • in any course structure
  • on all major learning management system
Preview ExEC Now

We’ve taken the guesswork out of creating an engaging approach that works both online or in-person. ExEC has a comprehensive entrepreneurship syllabus template complete with 15 weeks of award-winning lesson plans that can be easily adapted to your needs.

How to Combine Your Slides and Webcam

How to Combine Your Slides and Webcam

If you’re wondering whether your students are paying attention during your online lectures…they’re not.

“I’m waking up and then falling asleep again in Zoom classes.” – Xavier University Student

To be clear, this isn’t your fault or your students’ fault. The way screen sharing works on video conference platforms (where students see your slides fullscreen but only a tiny thumbnail of your webcam) means it’s near impossible for anyone to pay attention during a slide-based online lecture.

combine powerpoint webcam camera zoom teams obs meet
You can recreate this effect for your live (and recorded) lectures.

But you can easily change that. Using free, open source software, you can do what news and TV shows have done for decades:

Show facts and faces side-by-side.

When students can see your face, they can read your non-verbal cues to see how passionate you are and how important a subject is. Combine that with the fact that human faces are naturally engaging, and you can start lecturing online in a way that’s not only more interesting to your students, but more fun for you – at least it has been for me :).

For everything you need to combine your slides and webcam, open the free instructions below.


 

Less Time = More Engagement

Less Time = More Engagement

Teaching online is harder:

  • Your students (and you!) get Zoom fatigue
  • Hybrid teaching provides extra challenges
  • Students start to disengage

…and the whole thing takes more of your time to manage.

This spring, if you want to save time while engaging your students online, use “the best entrepreneurship curriculum available” – 15 weeks of structured, cohesive, interactive lessons that will engage your students.

Teaching Entrepreneurship Online To Engage Students

Increase Student Engagement

ExEC is an experience, for both our professors and students. Instead of you having to talk at students, the exercises invite your students to learn by doing, so they engage themselves. For example, you can…

Engage Students in Ideation

In many entrepreneurship courses, students brainstorm ideas to work on based on a Bug List or some other sort of brainstorming exercise. These exercises don’t take advantage of students’ passions and can fail to engage them.

Ideation in ExEC starts with brainstorming their ideal customers. Your students start by understanding the emotional needs of people they are attached to (i.e. people they are passionate about helping). Those needs become the foundation of their business ideas, ensuring students are motivated throughout your course.

Example Idea Generation
Idea Generation Worksheet

We know customers don’t buy products, they buy solutions to problems – and right now people’s problems have changed dramatically. The idea generation exercises within ExEC will your students how to identify new opportunities they’re excited about that are inspired by real-world problems.

Engage in Interviews Done Right

Entrepreneurship students must learn how to effectively talk to customers to discover and validate their problems. ExEC uses a three-step experiential process to engage students in this skill. First, students play a competitive game to learn what questions they should and should not ask.

Learn to Interview Customers

When you run this exercise, your students will be immersed as they eagerly sort cards into different piles and compete with one another using their phones to see who can correctly answer the most questions, the fastest.

The second step is for students to practice their interview skills with their classmates. ExEC provides students with a robust interview script, which they’ll practice multiple times with their peers so they can feel more comfortable for step #3 – interviewing real customers.

Engage Students in Customer Interviewing with a Customer Interviewing Script

Finally, for the third step, your students will students interview customers the right way, at which point…

The learning becomes real!

Give your students a structured framework to conduct their interviews increases their confidence and, as a result, ensures they don’t disengage when you ask them to step out of their comfort zone.

Make Hybrid Easier

For better or worse, hybrid teaching is the new normal. When you teach online or hybrid, with proper planning you can replicate the engagement of all the experiences you’d do in-person.

Teaching Entrepreneurship Online To Engage Students

When we designed the online version of ExEC, we conducted considerable research on the best resources to increase online engagement.

We built each class session, each activity, each homework assignment to bring our award-winning engagement into an online environment. With ExEC, you engage students through elements like:

  • Virtual Post-It note exercises with all students simultaneously
  • Class-wide discussions including everyone
  • Small-group breakouts

Using a structured set of lessons like the ones in ExEC enables you to have modular exercises you can integrate into your online or hybrid course to ensure your class is engaging.

Teaching Entrepreneurship Online Professor Testimonial

Plus ExEC offers fully online and hybrid course packages for you on:

  • Canvas
  • Brightspace / D2L
  • Moodle
  • Blackboard

With the right curriculum and enough time to prepare, online learning can be better than in-person.

We will make your hybrid teaching easier.

If you’re teaching entrepreneurship online, you can have an engaging class without reinventing the wheel.Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Keep Students Motivated

Students spend hours each day on Zoom listening to professors lecturing them. Then they spend hours each night on a computer completing homework and in group meetings. Zoom fatigue is a huge impediment to student engagement – our students have to make more emotional effort to appear interested, and the intense focus on sustained eye contact is exhausting.

Learning on Zoom isn’t fun. It isn’t exciting. Unless you can engage students with something like ExEC!

Engage Students with ExEC Exercises

ExEC launches on day one with a super-engaging exercise called “Fear, Curiosity, and Toothbrushes”. Students interactively share their fears and curiosities about life after graduation. Professors map this information onto the syllabus to show students how the class will benefit them personally, in areas that matter to them.

The second part of this kickoff class is about normalizing failure, using the Toothbrush Design Challenge, which won the 2019 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Exercises Competition at the USASBE Annual Conference. Helping your students recognize the value of failed experiments now, early in the course, will help them make the most of the learning opportunities to follow immediately after this lesson.

The rest of the semester proceeds through a variety of high-energy experiences like the 60-Minute MVP, which one professor described as:

“. . . like a Navy Seal mental training exercise. Not sure it was that intense, but they were amazed and proud that they got it done.”

ExEC attacks topics students struggle with like finances with fun, game-like experiences like our Financial Projection Simulator.

teaching finance in entrepreneurship

From the first class session to the last class session, we keep you and your students excited and motivated

Make Spring Better

Spring can be more engaging and less stressful for your students. With a cohesive set of experiential:

  • Lesson plans
  • Sample slides
  • Student exercises
  • Rubrics
  • LMS templates

ExEC enables you to deliver an experience your students will never forget!

Best Entrepreneurship Curriculum available

Preview ExEC Now 

 

Slido: Our Favorite Tool for Online Engagement

Slido: Our Favorite Tool for Online Engagement

If Zoom fatigue is lowering enthusiasm for you and your students, here are some tips on using one simple tool – Slido – to inject energy into your online classes and increase online engagement.

Encourage Anonymous Questions

Slido is best known for helping instructors solicit questions from students and providing a mechanism for students to prioritize their most important questions.

A lesser-known element of Slido is that it allows your students to ask questions anonymously, and…

Anonymous questions increase interaction.

For example, if your high school health classes were anything like mine, the most interesting questions came when students anonymously wrote questions on pieces of paper and put them in a box to be answered by the teacher at the end of the week. Those questions started such provocative discussions I remember several of them today…decades later.

When you enable students to ask questions anonymously in your class, several interesting things happen:

  • Introverts participate. If you have a few vocal students asking questions and little participation from others, anonymous questions lower student anxiety, which makes it easier for everyone to participate. 
  • You learn what students are thinking about. Anonymity provides cover for students to ask questions they may be too afraid to ask but are curious about.
  • Discussions start. Anonymity means you can invite students to pose “challenging” questions. If you encourage your students to question what they’re learning, why it’s important, or why they should have to do the work you’re assigning, you spark discussions about how entrepreneurship is relevant, which can often be the key to increasing engagement.

One great way to take advantage of this technique is to start each class session off by inviting students to post anonymous questions about the last lesson you did, their last homework assignment, or anything else on their mind. If you do this at the beginning of every lesson, students know there’s always a safe place for them to ask questions, and you’ll see more of them crop up throughout your term.

Crystalize Learnings

In addition to soliciting questions, Slido also solicits brainstormed ideas from students.

One interesting way to use this technique is to have students post their takeaways from a lesson or exercise.

Some takeaways from the 2020 TeachingEntrepreneurship.org Summer Virtual Conference

When you ask students to write down what they’ve learned from an exercise, the process of writing their takeaway helps cement their learning. Plus, when you ask other students to upvote other students’ takeaways, they get to see a summary of all the topics you covered during the lesson, you also get to see which were most salient (and what topics you may need to reinforce in another class).

Plus, it’s a fun interactive way to end a lesson. Speaking of fun interactions, Slido is also great for creating…

Quiz Games

As we wrote in the Gamify your Lectures post, Slido is also great for replacing boring slides, with interactive games.

Be sure to read our full write-up for details on easy ways to make presenting information more fun for students.

See it All in Action

Enter your email address below to see exactly how we use Slido with these techniques to teach our TeachingEntrepreneurship.org Online Virtual Conference attendees:

Summary

If you want to inject a little energy into your class, we’ve found one simple tool – Slido – enables you to:

  1. Solicit anonymous, prioritized questions from your students
  2. Brainstorm ideas with students, including their takeaways
  3. Engage students with fun, interactive competition

Give it a shot and let us know how it goes!

Gamify Your Online Class with Slido and Kahoot!

Gamify Your Online Class with Slido and Kahoot!

Slide-based lectures are a surefire way to disengage your students – especially in online classes.

One of the easiest ways to keep students engaged is to replace your slides with a quiz game like Slido or Kahoot!.

For example, let’s say you’re teaching a lesson on finance and you want to define a number of different concepts:

  • Profit vs Revenue
  • Cashflow
  • Customer Acquisition Cost
  • Etc.

The most boring way to present this will be to talk through a set of slides with definitions on them, like so:

Bullets are boring.

A more engaging way to teach is to replace your slides with a no-stakes pre-quiz where students get to test their knowledge of concepts before you present them. That ends up looking something like:

Lectures can be fun!

How to Gamify Lectures

  1. For every concept you want to cover in class, create a quiz question that asks your students something about that concept. For example, you might ask:

    “What is the difference between gross profit and net profit?”


    • A) Gross profit refers to physical goods (e.g. groceries) and net profit refers to virtual goods (e.g. internet “net” goods).
    • B) Gross profit is how much money made in total. Net profit is how much money made after expenses.
    • C) Gross profit is how much money made minus the cost of goods sold. Net profit is how much money made after all expenses and taxes.
    • D) Net profit is how much money made in total. Gross profit is how much money made after expenses. 

  2. Instead of asking your students to complete all of the quiz questions at once, you’ll show them the first quiz question before you’ve given them the answer. By asking your students a question about a topic before you’ve spoken about it, you’re inviting them to actively engage and test their knowledge on the subject. 

  3. After your students answer the first question, you’ll be able to see which students got it correct and the students who answered the question most quickly, will show up on your quiz’s “Leaderboard.”

  4. Now that you know who mostly quickly answered the question correctly (they’ll be #1 on your leaderboard), you can ask that student to explain to everyone else why their answer was correct.

  5. You reinforce what your student says and round out any points they missed.

  6. Repeat this process for the remaining questions and you’ll have converted your lecture into an interactive game.

See it in Action

Enter your email address below to see exactly how we use this technique to teach our Engaging Students Online Virtual Conference attendees:

Benefits of this Approach

  • Activates your passive students. Instead of half-listening to you talk through bullets, this interactive quiz format invites students to actively test their knowledge of a subject. Game mechanics like points, a leaderboard, and a timer all help students focus their attention on the material you’re presenting by asking them to do more work than a typical lecture, not less. 

  • Students teach each other. Because you’re asking students to explain to one another why an answer is correct, they’ll do the majority of talking and be able to speak in a way that is more engaging to other students. 

  • Wrong answers inspire learning. Students, like all of us, learn more from mistakes than successes, so inviting them to take their best guess at answering a question before you’ve given them the definite answer creates an opportunity for them to learn either way:
    • If they get the question right, they’ll confirm some information they already knew.
    • If they get the question wrong, they’ll be primed and ready to learn the correct answer.

  • Discover what your students already know / what they need help with. These quizzes are, at their core, formative assessment tools. When the majority of your class gets a question correct, that means they know that concept well and you can devote more time to covering concepts your students don’t know well (i.e. more of their answers were incorrect).

Tips

  1. Use tools like Slido (our favorite) or Kahoot! (another great option).

  2. Make the questions hard, but not impossible. If the questions are too easy, students will get bored. If they’re impossible, they’ll start randomly guessing. If however, the questions are hard by doable, you’ll take advantage of the fact that students learn more when they get questions wrong, while keeping questions within the zone of proximal development.

  3. Don’t overdo it. This is a great technique, but if you do it every class it’s benefits will wear off. Instead, mix this approach up with a number of experiential exercises (like those in the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum).

How-To Videos

Finally, here are a couple of quick tutorial videos that demonstrate how to use Slido quizzes:

Summary

If your students aren’t as engaged as you think they could be, give this technique a shot. It’s worked wonders for us, and we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Hybrid Teaching Tips

Hybrid Teaching Tips

If you’re being asked to teach a hybrid, or “HyFlex” class, where some students are in person, and some are online and are worried about managing both environments, here are some tips for creating the best experience possible for your students:

Tip #1: Don’t Do It!

Engaging students is hard enough in-person. Engaging them online is more challenging. Now imagine trying to do both…simultaneously.

In some cases, hybrid classes are our administrations falling into the same trap as our entrepreneurs:

Afraid of losing customers, they’re trying to be everything to everyone. As a result, they’ll create a product no one wants.

To be clear, “HyFlex” classes have their place. Namely large, lecture-based classes with limited interaction.

If you’re teaching entrepreneurship however, your students will be best served by moving your classes online now. Remember that in-person classes, with everyone in masks and six feet apart, aren’t going to be the normal classes we remember:

So if you want to engage your students, online is the way to go. Plus, once you commit to going online, you can invest in creating a great class there.

Just like we teach our students…

We need to solve one problem well, not multiple problems poorly. Of course, you may not be entirely in control of the decision to go online.

If that’s true for you…

Tip #2: Teach Online to In-Person Students

If your hands are tied and you need to teach a hybrid class, knowing that:

  1. You can’t engage students simultaneously on Zoom and in-person
  2. In-person students will be socially distant from one another

All of your students will be better served if they are online, even when they’re “in-person.”

When your in-person students bring their laptops to class and everyone is on your video conference call (e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) you can:

  • Do virtual Post-It note exercises with all students simultaneously
  • Host class-wide discussions including everyone
  • Have small group breakouts
  • Ensure equitable access for all students

Having all of your students in one place, even if that place is online, will make the experience more manageable for you, and more engaging for your students.

Tip #3: Answer These Tech Questions

When setting up your hybrid classroom, there are a couple of questions you’ll need to answer (possibly with the help of your IT team):

  1. How will in-person students be able to speak, and ask questions, so that your online students can hear them? You’ll need microphone(s) in your classroom to pick up the audio from your in-person students so your online students can hear.
  2. How will online students be able to speak and ask questions without hearing feedback? You’ll need speakers in your classroom so your in-person students can listen to what the online students are saying. Unfortunately, the microphones required for question #1 above will often pick up the audio from those speakers, creating an annoying feedback loop where online students hear themselves talk with a slight delay (which will virtually guarantee they don’t participate in discussions).
  3. How will online students be able to see who is speaking in the classroom? You’ll need at least two cameras in your classroom: 1) one facing towards the front of the room so online students can see when you’re speaking and 2) one facing towards your in-person students so the online students can see when an in-person student is talking. You’ll also want a way for the video conference software to automatically switch between those two cameras based on who is speaking.
  4. How will in-person students present their work (e.g., pitches, presentations, etc.) so online students can see them? In-person students will need to simultaneously project their slides so that other in-person students can see them, while also screen sharing them so online students can see them.
  5. How will online students present their work so that in-person students can see them? You’ll need to project your video conferencing software within your classroom so the in-person students can view presentations from online students.

Recommended Solution

The easiest way to solve all of the issues above is actually to follow Tip #2: Teach Online to In-Person Students. When all of your in-person students bring their laptops and headphones to class and log in to your virtual meeting – as long as they unmute their microphones whenever they want to speak – all of a sudden:

  • Online students can see and hear in-person students, and vice versa
  • You can have class-wide discussions without headaches
  • Anyone can easily present their camera, screen and/or slides

This solution, of course…

Begs the Question

If you’re just going to have in-person students attend online, what’s the point in having in-person classes at all?

To which we say…exactly.

Not only are hybrid classes infeasible from an engagement perspective, but they’re also a technical nightmare (see Tip #1: Don’t Do It, and avoid the headaches of hybrid classes from the beginning).

Tip #4: Use Online-Ready Exercises

If you’re following along, you know the most effective way to run hybrid classes will be online. With that in mind, the next step is to find online resources to use for your class.

Whether you use an online-ready curriculum like the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC), or you assemble your own online activities, now is the time to start prepping your online class for Fall.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Note: ExEC’s Canvas, D2L, Blackboard, and Moodle templates can get your class set up in less than 5 minutes.

Our Students Deserve Better.

Our students weren’t disappointed with “online classes” last spring. They were disappointed by the way we delivered our online classes.

We didn’t have a chance to prep in Spring, but we should have no excuses for Fall.

Hybrid, or HyFlex classes, are just online classes with another name. If you invest in prepping your class to go online now, you can deliver the experience your students deserve.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Stay safe, and let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help you prep for Fall!

Best,

Justin Wilcox
Founder
TeachingEntrepreneurship.org