EMBEDDING ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS IN HIGHER EDUCATION TEACHING AND LEARNING
University of Fort Hare (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:One of the roles of education is preparing the human resources to feed into the labour market through skilled personnel that are immediately employable or that are able to start own businesses within the economy. This is achieved through teaching individuals various sets of skills which include : technical skills, business skills, entrepreneurship and innovation skills. The last set of these skills is the one that typically enables the creation of new businesses within an economy. In South Africa, the need for Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprise (SMME) development is high on the national development agenda, with a view of enabling the reduction of the high unemployment rate in the country. While the business and entrepreneurship skills are usually taught in the business and commerce departments at Higher Education Institutions (HEI), there is increasingly a need to equip graduates from non-business disciplines with the relevant entrepreneurship skills. This need is more pronounced and pressing within the IT and Computing disciplines where there are prevalent opportunities for business development - supported by the current hive of global activity around IT start-ups and entrepreneurship. The paper presents the curriculum design for a graduate computer programming course that is offered at a HEI in South Africa. This is presented using Fink's model of Integrated Course Design (ICD), highlighting the specific learning goals, the teaching and learning activities, as well the as the feedback and assessment mechanisms incorporated into the course. Fink's taxonomy of significant learning is further used to detail the targeted learning goals within the course, which not only focus on learning the technical programming skills, but also on learning the associated innovation and entrepreneurship skills. Two key techniques have been incorporated into the course for embedding some level of entrepreneurship skills : the first, which is informed by the Customer Development process within the Lean Start-up methodology, is getting the students to specify and acquire pre-sales on a product that forms the focus of their practical effort within the course; the second, which addresses the specific context situational factors, is using an assessment method that encourages persistence, hard work, excellence and self-knowledge. Finally the paper presents the preliminary evaluation of the effectiveness of these techniques through informal assessment and observation of the positive change of student's attitudes towards entrepreneurship and consideration of entrepreneurship as a possible career option.
Keywords: Curriculum design and development, entrepreneurship curriculum.