Redesigning Classes with an Entrepreneurial Approach
Biology course sections were redesigned with an entrepreneurial focus while still meeting the standard measurable outcomes designated for the course. Several modes of data collection were used to compare entrepreneurial and traditional sections. The findings will be presented and a discussion will center on the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education.
Two multi-section biology courses at Parkland College were redesigned with an entrepreneurial focus. These changes give students practice with entrepreneurial skills such as maximizing class participation (both in and out of the classroom), scientific evaluation, recognizing and utilizing opportunity and marketing of ideas. To determine the impact of incorporating entrepreneurial education into these curricula, both quantitative or qualitative measurements of success were examined, which ultimately improved the assessment that goes on in these two courses.
Corporate Entrepreneurship in Nutrition: Successful aspects of the entrepreneurial section included higher retention rates, and final grades than in the traditional sections. Entrepreneurial students believed they increased their knowledge, improved their problem solving skills, better understood the scientific process and improved knowledge needed in the field. Student testimonials in the form of reflection papers also provide anecdotal evidence of success.
Social Entrepreneurship in Environmental Biology: The redesigned curriculum showed greater success in skills such as: increased awareness of global environmental issues; use of science as a tool in solution-oriented problem solving; connection of content with the community; and personal empowerment to “do something”. Data collected throughout several semesters will be presented to support the increase in these skills in entrepreneurial sections.
Though content-oriented outcomes did not differ among sections in either course, we will discuss how assessing both quantitative and qualitative results can show the success of entrepreneurial education. This will be followed by a lively discussion on how to use these result to effectively design courses and assess the effectiveness of specific instructional strategies.