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10 Free Tools for Increasing Student Engagement Online

10 Free Tools for Increasing Student Engagement Online

This past spring was a painful experience of online student disengagement. Don’t let that happen this fall!

During the TeachingEntrepreneurship.org Virtual Conference, we presented 10 Tools to Increase Online Student Engagement. During this conference, we asked participant teams of educators to research each tool and write up some notes in a discussion group. This mimics how you might ask student teams to research something and post their findings and recommendations in the discussion board on your LMS.

We used the summaries participants posted as talking points for this post. You can do this with student posts in your LMS by using their posts as talking points about certain topics, so they see their post consumed and shared.

This jigsaw technique is a powerful way to leverage student desire to perform well in front of their peers to move them into deeper engagement in the material.

Below is a video recap of the conference presentation, followed by more detailed information about all 10 tools. You can sprinkle these tools throughout your entrepreneurship syllabus, or stack these tools like building blocks, to create a deeper face-to-face or online student engagement this fall.

#1: GIMKIT

This is an interactive quiz program offering virtual prizes, so students can create their own games or you can create games to deliver interactive learning experiences. When you create a Gimkit, it is basically a quiz that shows up on your students’ phone.

Gimkit - Live Quiz Learning Game

If students answer the question correctly, they receive virtual currency. With this virtual currency, students have the option to buy power-ups. The following are examples of the power-ups available:

  • To receive more currency for correct answers. If they accumulate 10 virtual dollars, they can buy a streak bonus so if they answer multiple questions correctly in a row they earn more virtual currency
  • To get a second chance if they answer incorrectly
  • To get themes to enhance the visual presentation

Gimkit is an amazing gamification experience, which has game mechanics built into a learning experience so students using it will be more bought into the process. Students have various incentives that ignite their natural competitive spirit, which will be very addictive to most of your students, so they just keep playing. And more importantly,

they keep learning while they are playing!

The idea of students creating their own games is another powerful twist to Gimkit. Imagine each student generates their own quiz for an element of the business model canvas. They post a link in the discussion group on your LMS, and then students get to compete with each other and see who understands the various elements of the business model canvas the best by watching the scores within the various games!


To see the 9 other tools that will increase your student engagement this fall with

  • Interactive quizzes and assessment through gaming experiences
  • Virtual collaboration
  • Video discussion and presentation

enter your email below!


Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus

Whether you’re teaching online, face-to-face, or a hybrid or HyFlex model, we built our Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) to enable you using tools like those we just reviewed to provide award-winning engagement and excitement for your students

  • in any course structure
  • on every learning management system

Preview ExEC Now


If you want an engaging approach you can use online or in-person for your entrepreneurship curriculum, including an entrepreneurship syllabus template and 15 weeks of award-winning lesson plans, and don’t want to spend all summer building it:

Consider trying ExEC this Fall.

fall prep with Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum
 

If you’d like lesson plans emailed to you directly, subscribe here to get the next one in your inbox.

Join 10,000+ instructors and get new entrepreneurship lesson plans and exercises via email!

 

3 Plans You Need for Fall Prep 2020

3 Plans You Need for Fall Prep 2020

Whether you’re teaching online, face-to-face, or a hybrid or HyFlex model, the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) will enable you to provide award-winning engagement for your students:

  • In a structured, and flexible way
  • That integrates with all major learning management system (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, D2L/Brightspace, Moodle, etc.)

In this environment of uncertainty, you have a chance to innovate the course experience you deliver students. Don’t fall back to the same old entrepreneurship textbook you’ve been using for years – that method won’t give you the flexibility you need to deliver value to your students this fall and to effectively prepare for online, face-to-face, and hybrid-flexible models. 

Fall Prep Options

Online Fall Prep

All classes at all 23 campuses of California State University, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, are moving online for the fall semester. Many schools will likely follow suit eventually, given fears of a COVID-19 second wave.

Even if we start classes in-person, we need a plan to quickly transition our class online if necessary. We built multiple versions of ExEC: one we’ve optimized for teaching in-person, one optimized for hybrid classes, and one optimized for teaching online. Most valuable for your fall prep…

You can seamlessly transition between these version, even mid-term.

We’ve been developing ExEC for the last 5 years and so far it’s…

…while producing outstanding student evaluations

If you’re teaching online this fall, ExEC has you covered!

Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus Structure

Below is a general course structure highlighting the skills students practice at each stage of our online curriculum through highly impactful entrepreneurship activities:

We created an innovative online experience in which students learn these skills that are based on the following foundational experiential learning elements:

  • Asynchronous with multiple touchpoints each week
  • Skills-based
  • Reflection groups

We taught our online version at John Carroll University this past Spring using the same experiential, interactive, approach we use for in-person classes that create meaningful connections between students and professors.

Whether you’re teaching online or face-to-face this fall, you can use ExEC to keep your students engaged in building valuable skills no matter their career path. 

Face-to-Face Fall Prep

The Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum helps your students learn:

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

If you meet face-to-face this fall, this curriculum provides 15 weeks of powerful, experiential moments during which students master the above skills through deliberate practice. In addition, students develop a growth mindset, learn to leverage failure, and practice design thinking and business model experimentation.

We iterated ExEC in face-to-face courses at nearly 100 universities for years, so you can feel confident delivering award-winning entrepreneurship activities like the 60 Minute MVP and the Lottery Ticket Dilemma that create the most engaging learning environment available.

But don’t take our word for it . . .

fall prep Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum student testimonial

fall prep faculty Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum faculty testimonial

HyFlex Fall Prep

As a last option, many of us have been told we will be teaching a Hybrid-Flexible (HyFlex) course this fall. This is a new approach for most of us, and that uncertainty can be scary.

Not to fear – we’re developing a version of the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum specifically for this teaching model!

This approach combines some pretty complex technology and pedagogy; HyFlex is a course design in which courses simultaneously combine real-time, in-person classroom interaction with rich on-demand content. 

The underlying design ethos of a HyFlex model is flexibility and student choice. That means ExEC’s award-winning experiential approach is perfect for this particular model!

fall prep hyflex model
Source: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Are-Colleges-Ready-for-a/248710

Engage Your Students This Fall

Whether you are teaching online, face-to-face, or some version of HyFlex this fall, you can have

More engagement

More structure

More impact

in your entrepreneurship classes. ExEC combines the best practices of entrepreneurship education, and is now used at nearly 100 universities! This entrepreneurship curriculum is chock full of powerful entrepreneurship activities that teach skills entrepreneurs use to build real businesses. 

If you want an engaging approach you can use online or in-person for your entrepreneurship curriculum, and don’t want to spend all summer building it:

Consider trying ExEC this Fall.

fall prep with Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum

If you’d like lesson plans emailed to you directly, subscribe here to get the next one in your inbox.

Join 10,000+ instructors and get new entrepreneurship lesson plans and exercises via email!

Creativity and Innovation Sample Syllabus

Creativity and Innovation Sample Syllabus

Building an engaging undergraduate Creativity and Innovation course can be challenging. We wanted to share a few tips and tricks we learned from surveying our community of nearly 10,000 entrepreneurship educators:

  • Invite your students to practice the skills necessary to identify and develop with creative ideas – like observation, problem-solving, customer interviewing, and prototyping.
  • Show your students how the concepts apply to their current existence.
  • Bring guest speakers and judges into the conversation so students learn from other perspectives.

This sample syllabus provides a way to help students develop the mindset and skillset to be confidently creative entrepreneurs!

Creativity Skills

Students taking a creativity and innovation course should gain transferable skills they can use to create significant value in any workplace! Students pursuing any career path will benefit from honing these skills – any organization constantly needs new and better ideas. This syllabus lays out a course that helps students recognize, develop, and act upon their creativity and innovative spirit.

Specifically, this course is structured as a journey that enables students to first find a problem worth solving, and then find a solution worth building. During the first phase as they find a problem worth solving, students develop a growth mindset, leverage failure, discover ideas that bring them meaning using the creative process, interview customers and validate problems they identify.

During the second phase of the course, once students identify a problem they find to solve, they turn their attention to finding a solution worth building. In this phase, students develop their creativity and design thinking skills as they develop solutions based on customers’ problems. They also learn to monetize solutions through financial modeling, learn to prototype solutions to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort, and run business model experiments. Finally, students share the story of the process they went through (in)validating their business model. In this end, they demonstrate they have acquired the entrepreneurial skills to find and test new opportunities.

Experiencing Creativity and Innovation

In this course, your students actively experience creating and capturing value. Through a variety of validated experiential learning techniques, students remain engaged and excited from day one until the last day of the course.

One example of our approach to experiential learning is our award-winning Lottery Ticket Dilemma exercise, during which students discover how important emotions are in the decision-making process and the importance of understanding and fulfilling other people’s emotional needs. Learning how to tap into and apply creativity and innovation is a very difficult journey.

We developed this creativity and innovation syllabus to help you enable your students to learn and practice the skills necessary to be a force of creativity and innovation in their chosen career path.


Get the Creativity & Innovation Sample Syllabus

We’ve created a detailed Creativity & 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.


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.

“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. 

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

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.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

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. 

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

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

Teaching Entrepreneurship Online in Fall?

Teaching Entrepreneurship Online in Fall?

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into the “new normal”, your bookstore will soon be contacting you.

What are you going to do about Fall?

Assume You’re Teaching Online in Fall

Most of us want to get back to in-person teaching in Fall. Realistically, that may not happen:

  • This season, the US may lose more lives to COVID-19 than WWI (source)
  • The virus is expected to return in Fall (source)
  • A vaccine won’t be available for Fall (source)
  • Social distancing appears to be our best bet (source)

Given the devastating effects of the virus, and the likelihood of returning, It’s hard to see how it makes sense for schools to invite students back into dorms and classrooms in Fall.

Even if we’re able to start classes in-person, we’ll all need plans to quickly transition our class online if necessary. 

So how do you prep a class hoping it’ll be in-person, but assuming it’ll be online while knowing that…

Engagement is Harder Online

Let’s not kid ourselves…

Student engagement was a challenge before COVID-19.

But now that students are taking classes from home (i.e. bed), can attend class while watching Netflix, and know that we can’t be in every breakout room simultaneously, it’s an even bigger challenge.

Fortunately, there’s a way to prep for fall that will…

Engage Your Students: Online or In-Person

Lecture and quiz-based classes won’t cut it (they’re the antithesis of engagement), and it’s near impossible to structure a rigorous online class if you’re mixing and matching exercises from around the web.

If you want an engaging approach you can use online or in-person and don’t want to spend all summer building it.

Consider trying ExEC this Fall.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

We’ve been developing ExEC, the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum, for the last 5 years and so far it’s…

…while producing outstanding student evaluations

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 improving a structured set of exercises that we know teach entrepreneurial skills in an engaging way – online or in-person.

Don’t spend your summer recording lectures or compiling exercises from around the web. Make the most of your break, and your Fall, by using a set of rigorous, cohesive lessons your students will engage with.

This Fall, Try ExEC…

Whatever path you take this Fall, we wish you and your students the very best, and are happy to offer any help we can.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

If you’d like lesson plans email to you directly, subscribe here to get the next one in your inbox.

Join 10,000+ instructors and get new entrepreneurship lesson plans and exercises via email!

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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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!
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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… 

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

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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.

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