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Failure Resume

Failure Resume

Have you ever had a student:

  • Pretend to interview more customers than they actually had
  • Skew the results of an experiment to make their product appear more successful than it really was?
  • Misrepresent why they weren’t able to complete an assignment?

The reason we see the above is because

Students fear failure.

And who can blame them! By the time they get to college, the threat of a “failing grade” has been used as a tool to ensure their compliance for the past 12 years.

Students spend elementary through high school literally being taught to fear failure.

Entrepreneurs can’t fear failure

If there’s one entrepreneurial scale we can teach our students to help them find success no matter where their career path leads them it’s

How to fear learn from failure

This is a scale that all successful entrepreneurs have navigated and mastered, learning from the bruises, and emerging more motivated and confident. Our students can learn from failure, and can learn from those who have found tremendous success because of their unique relationship with failure.

Greatness is Forged by Failure

Start by showing your students a slide featuring the following faces they will recognize:

  • Oprah
  • Elon Musk
  • Vera Wang
  • Steve Jobs
  • You (this is the most important one!)

Entrepreneurs who have failed and eventually been successful

Ask your students:

  • “What do all of these people have in common?”
  • Answer: They were all failures before they were successes.

Tell students:

  • Oprah, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs were all fired from their jobs before they became successful.
  • Show Elon Musk’s Failure Resume, highlighting the number of failures he’s encountered on his way to success.
  • Vera Wang failed to achieve her goal of making the Olympic team in figure skating and failed to get the job as the editor in chief of Vogue (after working there for 20 years) before eventually starting her own fashion line. She’s now in the US Skating Hall of Fame for the costumes she’s designed for skaters.
  • Share one of your own failures.

Next, show a slide with this quote:

The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception and response to failure. – John Maxwell

Tell your students that if they want to find or create a job they enjoy that pays well, one of the most impactful things they can do is change their relationship to failure.

Share with them that failure is uncomfortable for all of us, but the difference between being an average and an achieving person is how they take advantage of failures when they arise.

Tell students in this class you will give them the opportunity to learn how to make the most of their failures. The first step towards doing that is to show them how valuable their failures have already been to them.

Failure Resume

You’re going to ask your students to be vulnerable and share their failures. The best way for them to engage with this exercise is for you to be vulnerable and share your failures with them. In doing so, you’ll demonstrate the failures are what we make of them.

Tell students that if an experience is too recent, or feels too sensitive to reflect on now, they’re welcome to skip that failure and move on to another one.

You want your students to create a resume, but not a typical resume where they document all of their successful accomplishments. This is going to be a failure resume.

Tell your students that using the following categories as inspiration, they should try to come up with at least their three biggest failures, they have experienced, thus far and their lives:

  • School
  • Work
  • Sports/competitions
  • Relationship

They don’t need to come up with failures in each category, they just need to try to come up with three failures in total.

To help inspire ideas, share some examples of your own failures with your students.

Here is my example I share with my students – I talk about failing classes and getting denied admission to school, and about failing at work (getting denied tenure), about getting cut from my high school basketball team, and about lying to my wife.

Example failure resume

For each of the failures that you share with your students, be sure that you have real impactful lessons that you’ve taken from them.

The reflection and lessons learned is the step you must demonstrate for your students. Don’t languish on the actual failure too long!

Tell your students you’ll give them a few minutes in silence to reflect on and identify their failures.

My Biggest Failure

Looking over their failures, ask students to identify the one that they learned from the most. In other words, the one that would change their behavior the most.

With that failure in mind, ask your students to fill in the bottom half of the failure resume, answering the questions:

  1. My Biggest Failure Taught Me…
  2. And Changed My Behavior By….

For example, I share with my students that I learned from my failures to be more thoughtful in my words and actions, which leads me to pause and slow down so I think of others before speaking and acting.

Failure resume: reflecting on failure

After students have written in their answers, pair them up, ideally with someone they don’t know. They share their biggest failure with their partner, what they learned, and how it changed the way they act now,

Once your students had a chance to share with one another, ask a few to share what they learned from their failure with the rest of the class.

Because students are being vulnerable and sharing sensitive information be sure to thank each person who shares and reflect on what positive things it reflects about them that they something helpful away from their failures.

As you’re early in your class. It’s important to appreciate students for sharing; it will set the tone for the rest of your course.

Failure Will Not be Penalized

Tell students in an entrepreneurship course and in their career path, they are likely to run many experiments. Some, if not most, of those experiments will fail.

We encourage you to determine students’ grades by how much effort they put into their experiments, how well they reflect on those experiments, and how much they learn from each one – successful or not. With that approach, you can tell students they will never be penalized in your class for failing.

Making the Most of Failure

Tell your students the key to making the most of any failure is reflection. Once a failure occurs, successful people take time to identify:

  • What failed
  • Why it failed
  • And understand how they can improve next time

Ask your students to complete the last portion of their Failure Resume. For my example, upon reflecting I realized I can be more successful by inviting my wife into helping me be more thoughtful.

Failure resume: planning ahead for failure

By identifying techniques they’ll use to analyze and reflect upon their failure, for example:

  • Journaling
  • Talking to someone
  • Meditating
  • Contemplating alone

Tell your students to commit to themselves that when they face a failure, they will make the most of it by trying some of these new strategies, and by reflecting on the failure.

Get the “Failure Resume” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “Failure Resume” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.

Get the Lesson Plan

 

It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.

All we ask is that you leave us some feedback on it in the comments below so we can improve it!


What’s Next?

In an upcoming post, we will share a companion exercise to the “60 Minute MVP” exercise. This will help students understand why it is critical to engage customers prior to launching!

Subscribe here to get our next classroom resource in your inbox.

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.

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.

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!

Entrepreneurship Class Essentials with Steve Blank

Entrepreneurship Class Essentials with Steve Blank

Here is part 2 of our interview with entrepreneurship innovator and educator Steve Blank, where he shares his thoughts on what is essential for an entrepreneurship class and an entrepreneurship curriculum. If you missed part 1, you can catch up here.

Steve Blank is an icon in entrepreneurship education. He is known for developing the customer development method that launched the Lean Startup movement.  A serial entrepreneur turned educator, Steve continues to elevate the field of entrepreneurship and greatly influences how we teach entrepreneurship principals. 

Steve Blank on What is Essential to Teach in an Entrepreneurship Class

Increasing numbers of universities require students to take entrepreneurship courses. While Steve doesn’t believe these courses should be mandatory, he had very clear ideas on what the goal should be for entrepreneurship courses.

The truth is we will have students in our classes that are not interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Whether it’s because they’re taking the class because it’s required or whether they have a true interest in becoming an entrepreneur, we have a commitment to helping our students actualize their potential. 

“How do we make a well-rounded individual in the 21st century?”

Steve shared that, at the core, entrepreneurship courses, build skills in tenacity, resilience, and agility in hypothesis testing. These skills are valid for all students, whether they want to be an entrepreneur or not. And it is his belief that these skills should be the foundation of a liberal arts education in the 21st century. 

Particularly since the evolution of society and technology have created a shorter lifespan for most companies. By building up these skills, students will be able to access them as they go about building their careers. In addition, entrepreneurship classes will help identify future entrepreneurs.

However, these skills shouldn’t be limited to college learning.  Steve envisions these methods being taught as part of a K-12 curriculum as well. Similar to the Korda Institute for Teaching, entrepreneurship can be integrated into classroom learning to bolster student skills, knowledge, and community impact. By designing educational experiences that utilize entrepreneurship principles, students can start learning early to solve problems that impact or involve their community. 

Steve Blank’s 4 Essential Courses for Entrepreneurship Curriculum

We liked the idea of narrowing the focus of an entrepreneurship curriculum, but we also asked Steve if there were courses he deemed essential when designing a curriculum. Here are the four core entrepreneurial classes or concepts Steve believes should be included:

  1. Creativity: This course includes customer discovery and helps students isolate the problems they want to solve.
  2. Lean Launchpad Lite: This is a stripped-down version of Lean Launchpad which Steve believes can sometimes be bogged down with jargon. This class includes the framework and practical questions every entrepreneur needs to ask without a large focus on terminology.
  3. Core Skills (or as Steve likes to put it “Fucking with your head”): This is a skill-building class focused on improving student’s resilience, tenacity, and agility. Lesson plans focus on hypothesis testing and fact-checking. In this class, students become more comfortable with chaos, uncertainty, and even failure.
  4. Capstone: The capstone centers around the specific domain of expertise. For each university, it will vary with the region and the focus of the institution.

Designing Entrepreneurship Curriculum for the Students You Want to Attract

One of the questions we’re often asked is how to build a comprehensive curriculum. When put to Steve, he recommends keeping students top of mind when designing an entrepreneurship curriculum. 

If I was in a university the first question I would ask for an educator is, am I building a curriculum for the students I have, or am I building a curriculum for the students I want to attract? 

He shared the example of talking with some educators in Lincoln, Nebraska who work with farmers. The teachers were interested in putting together a class for farmers. The opportunity this presented for the university, in Steve’s words, “is they could become the Lean expert for farm entrepreneurship rather than replicating the other 7,000 versions of a general Lean Startup curriculum”. The question Steve encourages institutions and entrepreneurship professors to ask when designing curriculum are:

  • Is there a domain of expertise we can or should focus on?
  • Can we create a vertical version of Lean Startup for this area?

Teaching Minimum Viable Product 

On the topic of buzzwords and jargon found in Lean Start-up, the idea of an MVP is one of the most often misunderstood concepts taught in entrepreneurship. Particularly, it can be difficult to teach. 

One of the mistakes Steve discussed regarding the idea of a Minimum Viable Product or (MVP) is that businesses may understand finding a product to fit a certain market, but they stop there. Students and entrepreneurs alike need to understand that all components of the business model need to be tested and some of them need to be re-tested. 

Therefore, when teaching MVP to students, finding customers who want particular features of a product or want the product is just Step 1 of a robust class. For example, we could also design a class around MVP’s for pricing. Students can test whether a product could sell for $20,000 rather than $9.99.  

From customer discovery to learning how to pivot, an effective MVP course teaches students to run experiments across all components of commercialization.

Key Takeaway

Finishing out our discussion, Steve expressed the key takeaway he wants educators and universities alike to realize is that one-size-fits-all does not fit all for an entrepreneurship class. Whether we’re teaching tech, corporate, or social entrepreneurship, he encourages us to take our expertise and adjust our curriculums to get the right impedance match for the right students. In other words, treat our students like customers. 

Our classes are our own little start-up.


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Want More Engagement?

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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.


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:

Steve Blank on How to Teach Entrepreneurship

Steve Blank on How to Teach Entrepreneurship

Want to improve how you teach entrepreneurship? Steve has some ideas.


Steve Blank Talking about How to Teach Entrepreneurship

Before we get there though, with the fires raging along the West Coast of the US, one of which is stunningly close to Steve’s home, we wanted to send him, his family, and everyone affected by the fires, our best wishes.


Steve and I sat down, pre-pandemic, for an in-depth discussion on the state of entrepreneurship education and ways to improve it going forward.

Below I’ve written up a summary of half of our conversation: thoughts on how to teach entrepreneurship.

In an upcoming part two, I’ll summarize some of Steve’s ideas on creating a comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum, including:

  • The skills professors should teach their students, and 
  • Four courses Steve thinks are core to a robust entrepreneurship program

First, for anyone unfamiliar: Who is Steve Blank?

Forefather of Lean Startup

Entrepreneur, author, professor, an originator of evidence-based entrepreneurship, Steve Blank has developed or made famous some of the most recognizable approaches to entrepreneurship including: 

In addition, Steve has reimagined the way entrepreneurship is taught throughout the world with his Lean LaunchPad, NSF I-Corps, and Hacking for X (e.g. Recovery, Defense, Diplomacy, Impact, Energy, etc.) programs. 

In short, Steve has dramatically improved the way we practice and teach entrepreneurship.

Why Teaching Entrepreneurship is Hard

One of the very first topics that came up during our conversation was how we all can become more effective instructors.

Roughly 75% of college faculty are adjunct or non-tenure-track professors. Steve shared that as a practitioner, one of the challenges he faced was not what to teach, but how to teach:

There is usually very little onboarding in place to train professors in the most effective way to teach entrepreneurial lessons.”

While most of us are successful entrepreneurs or successful professors, very few of us are equally great at both.

Compounding the problem, Steve mentioned that there are so many kinds of entrepreneurship – small business, high tech, corporate, social, family business, etc.

With these challenges in mind, I asked Steve for recommendations to overcome them.

Steve’s Teaching Tips

Tip #1: Accept You Don’t Know Everything

“I see my mentors and other adjuncts and coaches make this mistake, in thinking your domain expertise is the expertise of entrepreneurship rather than a very narrow slice.”

When Steve first began teaching at UC Berkeley, he was paired with professor John Freeman who recommended he sit in on other instructors’ entrepreneurship courses. Steve mentioned, “the shock to my system, the discovery…there are different types of entrepreneurship.” 

Steve was a successful entrepreneur, but he wasn’t a successful small business, high tech, corporate, social, and lifestyle entrepreneur.

Each type of entrepreneurship has different goals and to be taught most effectively, requires a different approach and expertise. To illustrate his point, Steve mentioned that in high tech entrepreneurship, the first goal is to have a seed round that raises millions of dollars. In small business entrepreneurship, however, the first goal may be to make enough to fund a lifestyle and family.

It’s this diversity in objectives that can make effectively teaching innovation difficult and it was his realization that he didn’t know everything about every type of entrepreneurship that led Steve to increase his breadth of knowledge. 

Tip #2: Get a Mentor

Luckily, Berkely had a semi-formal onboarding process in place which sped up the learning process for new faculty. For other educators who do not have access to that kind of program, Steve recommends:

  • Attending other entrepreneurship instructor’s classes
  • If you’re an entrepreneur first, get another educator to mentor you
  • If you’re an academic first, pair with an entrepreneur to teach

Like we teach our students, teams with aligned goals and diverse skills have better outcomes; the same applies to our teaching. To improve your classes, find people who have a different set of skills and experiences than you and collaborate with them.

When in Doubt: Experiences Teach Skills

“If you’ve never started a company and you’re teaching entrepreneurship, it’s like teaching a med school class and never having cracked a chest.”

Entrepreneurship is a combination of theory and practice and our students learn it best when they are offered by perspectives.

Steve Blank Talking about How to Teach Entrepreneurship

Steve further explained his point by saying, “Startups are essentially years of chaos, uncertainty, and terror. That’s not what a typical academic career is like. And so it’s kind of hard to teach tenacity, resilience, and agility and maybe curiosity, which are the key skills for early-stage entrepreneurs without having lived with that uncertainty.”

Students Learn Best By Doing

How do we teach customer empathy, customer development, and customer discovery effectively?

The answer is learning by doing. When Steve teaches his Lean LaunchPad classes, he insists his students talk to 10 customers each week. And he always follows up to ensure they actually made contact. 

For students who have difficulty performing customer interviews, he recommends students practice interviewing. Steve recommends the book, Talking to Humans: Success Starts with Understanding Your Customers.

For an engaging way to help your students understand exactly what questions they should and shouldn’t ask customers, you can also use our free experiential Customer Interviewing Cards lesson plan.

The same goes for every topic in entrepreneurship:

  • Idea generation
  • Solution ideation
  • Finance
  • Pitching

Every entrepreneurship skill must be practiced to be internalized.

The Future of Entrepreneurship Education

Key skills for early-stage entrepreneurs can be taught with the right combination of theory and experiential exercises.

In class, Steve looks to create a feeling that there is no “right” answer that can be found in a book. It is this approach that encourages students to figure things out for themselves and inspires outside-the-box thinking. The Lean LaunchPad methodology Steve created is great for stimulating the chaos of entrepreneurship. It is this chaos that identifies those students ready for the pursuit of entrepreneurship.

Steve conceptualizes his classes as the Juilliard of entrepreneurship; when the way to train artists was with an experiential, hands-on apprenticeship. With this in mind, Steve thinks successful entrepreneurship curricula should include entrepreneurial appreciation.

“These core [entrepreneurship] courses will be the new liberal arts courses of the 21st century.”


Takeaways

Here are my takeaways from the first part of our conversation:

  1. Get a mentor. If your background is in academia, find an entrepreneur to mentor you in real-world realities. If you’re an entrepreneur, find an academic mentor who can teach you about teaching. Teaching entrepreneurship requires both.
  2. Train entrepreneurs like artists. Just like are no “right” answers in art, there are no right answers in entrepreneurship. Instead of focusing on teaching answers, we should focus on teaching skills.
  3. Students learn skills by practicing them. Experiences, not textbooks, are the best way to teach skills.

Don’t Miss Part 2

Subscribe here to get notified of the second part of my interview with Steve where we discuss:

  • The necessary skills professors should teach their students, and 
  • Four courses he thinks are essential to a robust entrepreneurship program

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:


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.

Custom Online & Hybrid Sample Entrepreneurship Syllabus

Custom Online & Hybrid Sample Entrepreneurship Syllabus

Whether or not your Fall starts online, it is almost certain that your Fall will finish online. As more colleges announce shifts online last week, Inside Higher Ed wrote:

“Colleges and universities [are] conceding that previously announced plans to resume in-person learning are no longer feasible.”

Between the social nature of students, the continuing spread of COVID, and the steps our schools will need to take once students start testing positive, it’s increasingly likely classes in the US will end up online this Fall.

Get Prepared

To help with your preparation, we’ve published an extremely flexible sample syllabus you can customize for just about any learning environment: 

Whether your class ends up:

  1. In-person
  2. Online synchronous
  3. Online asynchronous
  4. Hybrid

…or transitions between them, the sample syllabus will show you how to design an engaging and structured course for Fall.

Comprehensive Online Curriculum

In addition to the sample syllabus, you’ll get a preview of the checklist all of our Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) instructors use to prepare their courses.

For more details on using ExEC this Fall, request a full preview of ExEC.

teaching entrepreneurship

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Missed Our Recent Articles?

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

  • Consistently Teaching with Adjuncts. The hardest part about coordinating classes taught by adjuncts is delivering a consistent experience when multiple instructors teach the same course.
Top 5 Resources for Increasing Online Engagement

Top 5 Resources for Increasing Online Engagement

Here are our top 5 resources for increasing engagement in your online classes:

#1: Split Screen Your Slides & Webcam

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

To make your online lectures more engaging, check out these instructions on combining your slides and Webcam for your Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet sessions.


#2: Sample Online / Hybrid Syllabus

You can customize this flexible sample syllabus to work for just about any learning environment. Whether your class ends up:

  1. In-person
  2. Online synchronous
  3. Online asynchronous
  4. Hybrid

…or transitions between them, this sample syllabus will help you design an engaging and structured course.

Online Entrepreneurship Syllabus Structure

#3: Online Ice Breaker & Team Builder

You can create the most amazing content, and deliver it in the most engaging manner. But if your students are in teams that are dysfunctional, or just sleepy, their learning can come to a screeching halt as they disengage.

Bonus: The Skills Scavenger Hunt exercise is also a great icebreaker, which can be extremely helpful in terms of fostering connections between students taking an online class.

Kahoot Learning Games

#4: 10 Free Tools to Increase Online Engagement

During the TeachingEntrepreneurship.org Virtual Conference, we presented 10 Tools to Increase Online Student Engagement.

Mural digital workspace

Read about all 10 tools, including:

  • Mural
  • Loom
  • Flipgrid
  • Kahoot
  • and many more…

#5: Motivating Your Students Online: Pilot Your Purpose Lesson Plan

Help your students unlock their purpose, and they will be motivated to learn the entire semester!

Pilot Your Purpose Exercise

Especially in an online environment, you can more easily engage students by tapping into their intrinsic motivation. In other words, learn how to leverage students’ internal drivers and your class sessions will buzz with energy. 


Bonus: Creating Digital Worksheets

The key to engaging students, especially online, is to make lectures interactive.

One of the best ways to do that is to create digital worksheets your students can use to apply the lesson you’re teaching in real-time. 


Experiential Online Curriculum

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

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

Whether your online class is synchronous or asynchronous, the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC) is optimized for online and hybrid classes.

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, check out ExEC.

fall prep with Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum

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