Explanation of "Cases in Entrepreneurship"
based on course evaluation criteria
The following lists the survey “items” that you can expect to find on the course evaluation form at the end of "Cases in Entrepreneurship" (CiE) Below each item you will find my corresponding perspective.
(1.1) The course is of an appropriate level?
This entrepreneurship minor is open to all students, including business and non-business majors. It can thus be tricky to deliver a course that is useful to non-business majors and yet challenging for the business majors.
In order to handle this, every week we have readings of 3 skill levels. The Harvard Business Review articles and other practitioner articles tend to be easy. The cases themselves are of medium difficulty. And the scholarly articles should be challenging or thought-provoking for even the business/economics majors. Business/economics majors looking for other challenging articles can find them in the “Optional Readings” section of the Dashboard website.
(1.2) The course is relevant to my study programme?
Generally speaking, entrepreneurship—the creation of new products, services, and business models—applies to all fields. In medicine, doctors often have needs for specialized surgical instruments that entrepreneurial companies will develop and provide. Inventors or entrepreneurs develop technologies (i.e. information technologies such as fax machines or Skype) that challenge the ability of the law (i.e. intellectual property). And entrepreneurial ability is a trait that differs across personalities on a psychological basis. The connections between entrepreneurship and other fields go on and on. As long as new products or services are involved, entrepreneurship can easily apply.
(1.3) The course has a clear, systematic construction?
Before each week in “Cases in Entrepreneurship,” a case study is assigned along with 2-3 additional readings. Homework is also assigned. Each week, in seminar, we discuss the readings. Maybe you disagree with something in the readings. Or you can apply the lessons or concepts to your venture.
At the end of the module, there is a final exam which is heavily based on the homework. A week after the final exam, a short paper is due. The short paper requires everyone to apply concepts or principles from the readings to the team’s venture. Cases, readings, the final exam, and a short paper determine the basic course structure.
(1.4) I learned a great deal through this course?
Learning is important to the purpose of this course. By the end of the module, you should have a better understanding of, and appreciation for, entrepreneurship.
(1.5) My prior knowledge was sufficient for the course?
This minor is special because we have such a wide variety of educational interests and backgrounds in the class. However, it makes the instructional design task more difficult. It is not abnormal if you go through the readings and have difficulty understanding all the concepts covered! During class, we will group up to help each other understand and make connections to previous CiE weeks, as well to EiP.
(1.6) The lectures in “Cases in Entrepreneurship” were well-linked to “Entrepreneurship in Practice”?
All the teams are potentially moving at different paces in “Entrepreneurship in Practice.” Some teams may be working on marketing surveys while others are still trying to figure out the product design or the specific consumer problem to tackle. The concepts in “Cases in Entrepreneurship” are presented each week in a way that is supposed to align with a typical team process in “Entrepreneurship in Practice.” For example, action and opportunity exploitation is studied after opportunity discovery. And matters of intellectual property rights are covered after opportunity exploitation.
(2.1) The coordinator structured the lectures well?
Each week, we will start with “shout-outs.” Everybody is encouraged to shout out concepts that were covered in the week’s assigned readings, or “first impressions.” This is followed by a more in-depth discussion of each of the readings. Questions will be posed in class. The discussions may or may not be aided by “Pair and Share.” At the end of each week, we generate some Lessons Learned. Each week, we can expect that the Prezi presentation will be shaped by the class discussion.
(2.2) The coordinator stimulated active participation of the students?
Last semester, I included class participation scores as a part of the overall CiE course grade, and the response/criticism was mixed. In Spring 2011, I am getting rid of class participation scores. If the topics are interesting, then participation should naturally begin to emerge.
(2.3) The coordinator knew how to kindle enthusiasm for the course?
I will do my best. I certainly believe in the lessons that Entrepreneurship can teach us, as well as the wide variety of philosophies or perspectives that it can involve.
(2.4) The coordinator responded adequately to questions students asked?
(2.5) The coordinator explained the subject matter well?
Again, I will do my best. The difficulty with entrepreneurship is that it is such an interdisciplinary field that touches (or is touched) by just about any other discipline. If products or services are involved, and if money is exchanged somewhere and somehow, then entrepreneurship usually automatically informs the discussion.
(2.6) The coordinator actively encouraged me to come in if I wanted more feedback on my assignments?
(2.7) The coordinator was easily accessible?
I will often suggest in class that you contact me via email or phone, or that you can stop by my office if I’m there. I am always ready and interested to discuss your homework, exams, or short paper. In the rare instance where you’ve caught me at my office at a bad time, I will always suggest possible alternative times to chat.
(2.8) The coordinator speaks English well?
I hope it’s good enough for you! :-)
(3.1) The study materials were understandable?
(3.2) The study materials were useful?
As you may guess, entrepreneurship covers a wide range of phenomena. Some of the entrepreneurial contexts, naturally, don’t apply as easily to our Minor as others. For example, some entrepreneurial ventures deal with new forms of electronic payment (i.e. Paypal). Other entrepreneurial ventures are highly scientific or industrial in nature (i.e. 3M). In order to appeal to as many people as possible in our Minor, I’ve taken quite some time to make sure that the cases that we cover are easy to grasp (i.e. cover products or services that we are likely to be familiar with) yet provide some challenge conceptually. Furthermore, I’ve made sure that observations captured by the cases or the lessons learned in the additional readings all have the potential to inform our semester’s ventures.
(3.3) The quality of the facilities (e.g. classroom, equipment) was good?
Ideally, discussion in Cases in Entrepreneurship can involve everybody talking face-to-face. Thus, by design, we will aim to get a room that has movable desks so that we can hold such discussions.
(3.4) The organisation of the course as a whole was good?
Much care was taken to ensure that all components of CiE fit well together. If they don’t, and you can spot them during the module, please let me know what you think can be improved, and how!
(3.5) The Entrepreneurship Minor “Dashboard” site was useful and clarifying?
Much effort has gone into developing and refining the Entrepreneurship Minor’s Dashboard website. There are two good reasons for using this Dashboard instead of Blackboard. First, Blackboard is really very non-user-friendly for courses that rely heavily on a group project component. And second, Blackboard has proven difficult to use for non-UvA students (i.e. VU students), due to registration issues.
The Dashboard is customized to include in one centralized location the following: (1) All CiE and EiP documents, (2) tools for group work, (3) grades, (4) FAQ’s, and (5) ways to contact the coordinator.
(4.1) The exam was as I expected it to be?
(4.2) The exam covered the subject matter well?
(4.3) The exam questions were clear?
(4.4) The level of the exam was good?
The exam basically tests if you did the readings and attempted the homework by yourself. That said, many of the exam questions are directly taken from the homework assignments! And the homework assignments often include questions that can be directly determined from the readings.
(4.5) I did have enough time to do the exam?
The exam is untimed. Specifically, the exam is designed to be completed in 2 hours, but if you want to stay for 5 hours, I will stay in the room with you to complete the exam.