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Need some fresh and free ideas on how to ignite your entrepreneurship students? Get insights from our experienced NACCE Faculty Ambassadors for HP LIFE on how to integrate e-learning into your entrepreneurship class. They will discuss how they have implemented HP Life ( into their online/hybrid and face-to-face business courses.


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More Community Colleges Sign On to Use HP LIFE to Incite Entrepreneurship on Campus

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 07, 2013

At NACCE, we have known for over a decade that small businesses are the life blood of the economy.

Entrepreneurs innovate, create jobs and grow the economy. Community colleges are a vibrant member of their local entrepreneurial ecosystems. They create entrepreneurs, launch startups and grow existing local businesses.

Innovative community colleges have made a commitment to advance entrepreneurship in their communities. These colleges both engage small businesses off campus and incite entrepreneurship on campus. Now more than ever, it is vital that community colleges spark an entrepreneurial mindset in all students and equip small businesses with tools to grow. Across the curriculum, from business departments to cosmetology departments, this next generation of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs need to be equipped with entrepreneurial approach to problems and the skills to run a business. It is no longer a question if entrepreneurship can be taught but rather how can we best teach it.

Today’s students want to learn by doing. They want to practice the theory in real life situations. We are delighted to partner with HP to pilot HP LIFE (Learning Initiative For Entrepreneurs) in six community colleges across the country. HP LIFE provides relevant, small business simulations students crave. We are delighted to see that the initial results from this Open Educational Resource are positive:

  • Students are engaged (One faculty ambassador reported that student came to class having finished all assigned modules in a week because he was so interested!)
  • Faculty find it easy to implement into their existing curriculum

The fact that HP LIFE is underwritten by HP greatly benefits the often cash-strapped community college student. It is also a way to keep a faculty’s syllabus fresh at no cost to them.

This joint program is harnessing the power of an Open Educational Resource to be a catalyst in fostering entrepreneurship. While we consciously started lean with 6 test schools, mid-way through the semesters we see the power for this partnership with HP LIFE to be a driving force inciting entrepreneurship on and off campus.

Technical schools can include HP LIFE into a wide variety of credit and non-credit programs to enhance the skill of students who will eventually go into businesses for themselves.

Small business centers can use HP LIFE in a "flip the counseling session” model and then provide customized face-to-face training to small business owners.

Startup competitions can use modules to help contestants craft their pitch.

Every new opportunity that NACCE and HP LIFE discovers, represents not only an opportunity to empower an entrepreneur with skills to succeed, but also opportunity to fuel the economy. NACCE is proud to partner with an organization committed to collaboration, economic development and giving back.

We are delighted to see more schools integrate HP LIFE into their curriculum this Spring. We welcome aboard:

For more information about how to integrate HP LIFE in your class this spring, please contact Kim Norbuta at or join one of the following webinars.

HP LIFE Overview - Come learn about HP LIFE and the opportunity you have to use it in your course.
Tuesday, 11/12/13 2pm EST
Friday, 11/22/13 10am EST

HP LIFE and YOUR Course - Come learn how you can use HP LIFE in your course from faculty currently using it in his or her course.
Wednesday, 11/13/13 11am EST

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How are you using HP LIFE with Fastrac?

Posted By Barbara Millard, Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HP LIFE is an Open Educational Resource that Supplements Online and Face-To-Face FastTrac Classes 

The modules in the HP LIFE eLearning program are a perfect supplement to the business plan class I teach at Johnson County Community College. In that class, we use the Kauffman Foundation’s Planning the Entrepreneurial Venture program (the community college version of FastTrac). This semester, I have incorporated the following eleven HP LIFE scenarios into both my online and face to face classes: Unique Value Proposition; Marketing Benefits vs Features; Hiring Staff; Your Target Audience; Social Media Marketing; Effective Business Websites; Setting Prices; Basics of Finance; Sales Forecasting; Cash Flow ; Profit and Loss and Finding Funding.

Students watch the scenario video and then work in small groups

In face to face classes, these units are used both in the classroom and as out of class assignments. When using them in the classroom, I generally play the scenario to the class as a whole and assign the students to small groups where they proceed with the follow up exercise found under the business concept tab. After small group discussions and a report back to the class as a whole, students are then required to individually finish any remaining activities leading to the certification. This is sometimes done in class and sometimes it is assigned as homework. Once students have reached the certification level, they are required to submit a copy of their certification to the instructor. I use a Dropbox within our online learning platform for this even with my face to face classes. But, the same could be accomplished by requiring students to print out the certificate or send it as an email attachment. 

Online students complete the unit and participate in a discussion board

For my online class, students complete the units on their own and then respond to a discussion question related to the unit. While they have already participated in a discussion board within the HP LIFE unit, I feel it is beneficial to students to participate in a discussion question with their fellow classmates as well. I find that since they have participated in the discussion within HP LIFE, their discussions with their classmates are generally more insightful and involved than the discussion postings I typically get from students. 

The units require the students to interact with the material

The greatest advantage I find to using these units as a supplement to the readings in the textbook is that it requires students to interact with the material. In the past, I have given students quizzes over the assigned reading but that doesn’t always give me a true assessment of their interaction with and comprehension of the assigned material. Whereas, the HP LIFE units provide an opportunity to expand and apply the information found in their text prior to application within the business plan itself. 

Barbara Millard Barbara is an Associate Professor in the Entrepreneurship Program at Johnson County Community College where she teaches FastTrac Business Plan, Opportunity Analysis, and Family Business. She also operates BCM Training and Development which provides curriculum development and training in the area of entrepreneurship.

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HP LIFE: Sparking Alum's Entrepreneurial Spirit

Posted By James W. Dottin, Monday, October 07, 2013

Connecting With Alumni

Frequently, I am contacted by former students who have moved on to a four year institution or have entered the professional work world. For a number of them, they are using social media as the main medium of reconnecting with me. These alums are searching for a fulfilling career option to fuels their true passion, professional guidance via a mentoring relationship or simply a letter of recommendation for a new job or university. Ironically, earning a degree does not complete your educational experience or make you an expert in your field. The degree is truly the beginning of enlightenment as we faculty members hear repeatedly at every commencement exercise. I often tell these alums to discover from within what their passion is, and then pursue the best path that obtains their goals. Also, I often share with them that there is no substitute for real world, hands-on experiences to perfect their craft. The educational frontier provides a number of different options to realize the ideas and dreams of the "Millennium Generation.” A vast array of people who govern their lives in the digital age by utilizing social media as a way of life communication regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, income or educational level.

Alums Connecting for Purpose

Middlesex Community College (MCC) encourages both formal contact through the Alumni and College Advancement Office as well as informal contact through faculty engagement with former students one-on-one. Alums seek me out to listen to their ideas and dreams of creating a viable business venture. I am often curious to know why these aspiring entrepreneurs seek out community college faculty. The only rationale I can come up with is a trust relationship has been built up over time. I believe in being transparent by openly sharing out of the abundance of my academic and professional experiences. By providing alums with concrete examples and practical strategies they are capable of implementing is critical in capitalizing on a real business opportunity. The fact that these former students seek out assistance informs me that the need to nature their ideas is greater than one realizes. Alums want to connect back in order to be mentored by someone they trust. 

Recently, a former student reached out to me on LinkedIn after seeing my comments as a HP LIFE eLearning Faculty Ambassador promoting entrepreneurship skills development. Social media is proving to be a very powerful tool to connect potentially vast networks of like-minded people regardless of the platform such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to name a few.  These like-minded individuals of the "Millennium Generation” are constantly expanding their network and areas of influence with people that support them.  My former student developed and implemented the idea to create a software app for smartphones to scan bar codes placed at historical sites of the National Park throughout the city of Lowell.  Visitors can conduct their own self-guided tours with detail information of the specific site such as the Boot Cotton Mill complex that was at the center of the Industrial Revolution in the United States. He wanted to reconnect with me to explore other technology business ideas he could implement. Each week this student is expanding his network by adding other like-minded technology people to his LinkedIn network. 

One of the Success Keys: Mentoring Relationships

The alums I have been in contact with usually are seeking a mentor to act as a sounding board as well as a facilitator that guides their learning of new business skills. Providing real world examples of the implementation of these business ideas are strategic for any type of continuing relationship. The HP LIFE eLearning curriculum is designed to be relevant for real life business situations of the entrepreneur. These modules spark your curiosity and imagination beyond the traditional lecture or textbook examples. They provide practical technology skills to help you advance your business goals in the area of finance, marketing, operations and communication. These modules build the foundation to assist in deepening ones understanding and connect your personal experiences in order that they can be applied. This approach to learning-on-demand has become a natural way of accessing needed information immediately for the "Millennium Generation.”   The uniqueness of HP LIFE is not only is it entrepreneurship learning-on-demand platform but it has a mentoring component of degrees of levels of intensity of one-on-one relationships. Mentoring connects the dots and solidifies the entrepreneurs’ accountability to someone other than themselves. Mentoring relationships keeps entrepreneurs on the track of success. The mentor is one of the success keys in building a growth oriented venture because it is built on trust.

Advancing HP LIFE eLearning to Our Alums

Visualizing that your ideas can become a reality is critical to the success of any entrepreneur. For many of our alums, the visualization of their success will not come until they are presented with real life examples that are believable and to test drive their idea via hands-on learning of critical business concepts and technology skills. The HP LIFE eLearning platform is an online educational tool that the "Millennium Generation” is at total ease with this delivery platform of learning. These modules are designed to enrich the learning experience and engage the learner in further developing their business skills in practical suggestion. I have embedded the HP LIFE eLearning modules in my F2F classrooms. No matter the level of familiarity with the subject matter such as social media, students who have completed the "Social Media Marketing” module says that they learned how to apply the power of social media in new and effective ways. 

Here are several examples of what my current semester students shared about the HP LIFE eLearning "Social Media Marketing” module: 

"Although most people in my generation know thoroughly how to use things like Facebook, Twitter, and blogging, I am sure there are some aspects that we don't. One aspect in the Social Media Marketing module was creating a Facebook ad. Although I handle the business Facebook for my father's business, I never knew before how to create an ad. This segment was very helpful for me personally and will also benefit my father's business if I decide to create one…”   Cortney 

"In an age where technology and social media is booming, it would be crazy not to implement it into your business. It gives people an outlet to share information on a massive scale, for free, in potentially a short amount of time it may go viral. Almost every company has at least one form of social media they use frequently to post information about their companies regularly. This information can be sales, new products, promotions, fundraisers and much more. With the content you put out, a company can begin to achieve great numbers of "Likes", "Follows" and views on their pages...”  Dennis

"The social media module was fun and very current and easy to relate to. Since, of course, most students have Facebook, blogs, and Twitter accounts it was a module that was easy to understand and comprehend. Understanding and learning how businesses go about advertising on Facebook was extremely insightful. I think that was one of the best things to learn from this module.” Sasha

"Social media marketing is an effective and cost friendly method to market your business. Taking advantage of the free and popular internet helps greatly make a business known. A new "thing" has been hash tags. Hash tags are used on social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and they link a group of people together which can be considered a target market. It's free and gets people interested in your product. Also, you are able to design Facebook ads in order to reach a certain audience such as age group and also reach people who have liked specific pages. Social media marketing is a great tool to invest in and use.” Sabrina

If the testimonies of these F2F students hold true, alums may also find them of great value to their business development as entrepreneurs. The advancing of entrepreneurship education to our alums maybe be based on a multi-stage program strategy of awareness, demonstration, and integration. 

Multi-Stage Program Strategy

Awareness can be effectively made through the utilization of all the social media the colleges principally utilize. The Alumni Office of MCC uses Facebook, LindedIn, Twitter, email blasts and blogging to deliver its message to alums as an efficient and cost effective means of immediately reaching the alum base. Through this medium, specific targeted audience of types of entrepreneurs can be reached through paid advertisement used on social media sites as suggested in the HP LIFE eLearning "Social Media Marketing” module. Also, by creating network opportunities for entrepreneurial alums to communicate and respond to each other the postings about HP LIFE and how it has impacting their business bottom line may create the opportunity for one’s message to go viral. 

Demonstration of HP LIFE can be given at alumni entrepreneurship events as well as alumni and advisory board meetings of academic programs including automotive, business, engineering, hospitality, restaurant, cosmetology, retail, health and entrepreneurship. Also, presentations maybe given at job fairs or evening training sessions at your college’s career resource centers your college is partnered with. MCC has two such centers, the Career Place and Career Source. They provide career resources for those who are seeking employment. The entrepreneurial educational opportunities of HP LIFE eLearning may be a life changing event for those who are jobless. Cherie Fisher, MCC College Career Navigator at the Career Place and Career Source, concurs that "Providing modules regarding entrepreneurship to a community that has been hit by an economic downturn free of charge would be an indispensable service.” 

Integration of HP LIFE eLearning can be adopted into the fabric of entrepreneurial-minded alums via a self-directed learning pedagogy that guides one through the modules in a specific sequence. Self-directed learning will be supported by various levels of mentoring services providing through the HP LIFE eLearning program. The combination of self-directed learning and mentoring support from HP will ensure that proper checks and balances of the entrepreneurial venture are realized. Being accountable to a specific mentor in whom a trust relationship has been established may result in the successful launching of a sustainable business. 

Voice Your Opinion

Are these strategies applicable in the community college you serve in? Are there major differences at community colleges located at an urban campus versus suburban campus versus a remote campus that the multi-stage strategy con not be implemented? If so, what are they? What would be your ultimate strategy in reaching your alums with the HP LIFE eLearning message?

Dr. James Dottin is a tenured Professor of Business at Middlesex Community College in Lowell, Massachusetts. Through innovative technological pedagogy and best practices, Dr. Dottin engages his students in such courses as Entrepreneurship in Small Business Management, Principles of Marketing and Computer Applications by integrating students’ web design e-Portfolios and signature course work as an integral part of their learning experience. Since 2011, Dr. James Dottin has been a member of the business faculty delegation to Morocco through the Broader Middle East and North Africa - U.S. Community College Entrepreneurship Development Grant. He has provided his expertise in entrepreneurship to the Moroccan faculty of Enset Rabat and Enset Mohammedia in their development of an entrepreneurial curriculum within the Moroccan higher education system. Dr. Dottin earned his doctorate degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Graduate School of Education. 


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Entrepreneurship - Skill Development in Process

Posted By Darcie Tumey, Tuesday, October 01, 2013

All the skills that you need to run a business…online

Becoming an entrepreneur is not only forming a business idea and placing it into motion, but also obtaining the diversified skills in order to manage all aspects of the business from production to receipts.  HP LIFE provides the forum for an individual to participate in hands-on applications along with applying problem solving skills.  For example, individuals may separate the production of a product separate from balancing the revenues with the company’s expenses.  In the Profit Loss module, individuals walk through a problem solving activity that places both aspects in one situation.  As a result, the activity highlights the importance of calculating visible costs (for example supply purchases) with hidden costs (for example time and product waste) which also becomes a lost in opportunity costs.

It costs what to run a business?

In this example, discussing the Profit Loss topic with students who are building business plans facilitates class interaction by introducing the importance of defining all of the business’ costs.  As a result the lessons learned by completing the module can be transferred to the student’s different businesses.  It is one thing to ask students to figure all of their costs as an instructor, and it is another to have a modern example that is both relatable and applicable to the students.  This is where HP LIFE provides the vehicle to facilitate the conversation.

Simulating running a business

Upon discussing this topic with my class, students were engaged and followed through with submitting their preliminary financials that included both visible and hidden costs.  They also commented on how the module was fun to complete while working through the different sections.  As an instructor, it is refreshing to find a resource that builds in simulations and requires participants to complete activities instead of the traditional reading and discussion format which historically occurs in my classroom.

Darcie L. Tumey is currently an instructor at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC in Business Administration.  Previously she was Division Director of Vocational & Public Services Technology at Roanoke-Chowan Community College.  Ms. Tumey has worked in the educational field for over eight years and is currently a doctoral student at East Carolina University and studying Professional Development of Faculty who works at Community Colleges.

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HP LIFE and Gamification

Posted By Bryan Christensen, Monday, September 23, 2013

As a former video game enthusiast…

As a former video game enthusiast I am familiar with the thrill, entertainment and adrenaline rush that gaming offers. Now, as a faculty member at M State in Detroit Lakes I am instructing students who may have the same love for video games that I had many years ago. My wife tells me I am entertaining and I tend to agree with her but sometimes it is a challenge to capture and hold my students attention. Let’s face it, my lectures won’t always keep you on the edge of your seat or keep you coming back for more.

HP life has given me and my students some new and exciting learning options. Students have the opportunity to learn interactively and get instant feedback and gratification.

HP LIFE is "like a game”

One of the students in the Principles of Marketing class said HP LIFE is "like a game” when I asked for feedback from the students. Other students are enjoying the ability to interact with others around the world (social gamming), modules contain narrative, users can control the speed in which they complete the modules, and they have the ability to jump around the module if they choose. The students like to earn a certificate, collect points and earn virtual currency that is the Global Poverty Project (GPP) points. This allows for a competitive advantage or the willingness for the user to compete.

Many of my students are drawn to HP LIFE because it is similar to a video game that requires skill, quests, achievement, solve-problems, self-awareness, and it can remove one from your current mental state in the sense you become one with the game.

Game on my fellow gamers!

Bryan Christensen is a Sales and Marketing Instructor and the Director of the Business and Entrepreneurial Services at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. He enjoys bringing new technology to the classroom and implementing new instructional techniques and tools to help students.

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Why I am using HP LIFE in my Community College Classroom

Posted By Barbara Millard, Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Give it up Mom, they aren’t going to read the book.” 

My desire to be an HP LIFE Ambassador stems mainly from frustrations related to students’ refusal to read the material from a traditional textbook. Several years ago, when my now 24 year old was still in college, he made a comment to me stating "Give it up Mom, they aren’t going to read the book.”  I had been scheming up all kinds of ways to get them to read the textbook….and it clearly wasn’t working. This generation is uninterested in reading and bored by worksheets. I needed something to liven up my business plan class and engage students in the materials…in a way that speaks to this generation….which usually means it needs to be technology based. Yes, I’ve created some engaging exercises on my own and many work well. However, with a full workload, that leaves little time to create exercises that entertain and engage this generation. In addition, even though I teach at a community college that has a great deal of resources, I don’t have the resources to create technology based exercises that match the quality of those in HP LIFE.  That is what students today want and especially for classes that are online, that is what students need. 

Student thinks HP LIFE modules are "are fun to do rather than a boring worksheet”

Enter HP LIFE. The units in HP LIFE are just what I was looking for to add new life to my teaching. They speak to the students in a manner in which they listen and respond. This past week, I asked one class to write down their response to the HP LIFE units in general. Here are a few comments: "I like them because of the hands on learning; "they are more engaging than an article or textbook chapter”; "they are fun to do rather than a boring worksheet” and my favorite…”they make you think”.

No longer jealous of the tech based resources "core” faculty they have available to them

As I visit with professors in other disciplines, I’ve sometimes been rather jealous of the tech based resources they have available to them. Peers who teach in areas that offer book publishers and other educational resource providers a larger market, tend to have tech based resources that span all areas of their discipline.  While most of us teaching in the area of Entrepreneurship believe that it should be a core subject for all college students, in reality, it isn’t and therefore, the market is small when compared to subjects like Biology and English. Consequently, we don’t have a lot of quality, innovative tech based teaching tools to use in our classrooms or online.

HP LIFE is filling that void and filling it well

For me, HP LIFE is filling that void and filling it well. Would I still like to have them read the textbook and highlight all over it like I did back in the 70’s? Sure….but, it isn’t the 70’s. I’m not ready to fully take my son’s advice and "Give it up” but I’m thrilled to have alternative resources for my students. I still have hope that these resources might inspire them to dig deeper into the subject whether it be by reading in more depth in the textbook or digging deeper through the Next Steps section in HP LIFE….and I’m finding that some students are doing just that.

Barbara Millard Barbara is an Associate Professor in the Entrepreneurship Program at Johnson County Community College where she teaches FastTrac Business Plan, Opportunity Analysis, and Family Business. She also operates BCM Training and Development which provides curriculum development and training in the area of entrepreneurship.


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