This paper discusses the integration of curiosity, creating connections, and creating value of the entrepreneurial mindset (the so-called 3Cs of the entrepreneurial mindset) in an electric circuits course with a lab component with an emphasis on how analogies support connections. We describe how a few key modifications that are reinforced continuously throughout the course can transform the course to support the 3Cs. Each of the 3Cs is targeted by a specific approach.
Curiosity is targeted through the formulation of exploratory questions and deeper exploration of those questions. For each lecture topic, a question has been generated by the instructor designed to stimulate student thought and to show students examples of good questions designed for deeper exploration of the topics. The first couple of minutes of class is spent discussing how the question is graded across five dimensions: grammar, clarity, relevance, topic orientation and potential for depth of exploration. Students submit their own sets of exploratory questions three times throughout the course. A single point formative assessment rubric has been created to provide students feedback on their questions. A brief research paper is assigned that requires students to formulate an exploratory question, identify at least one credible and relevant source to use to explore the topic of the question, identify new questions that arise during the research process, and report their findings. It is important for students to demonstrate they are aware of what they do not know by formulating follow-up questions during the research. Doing so demonstrates an ability for students to engage in effective self-study, which supports life-long learning. Students complete the short report with an assessment of their sources found during the research process.
Connections is targeted by circuit analogies related to more familiar topics. Connecting new topics to established student knowledge is a well-researched pedagogical approach firmly grounded in the science of learning. A dozen novel circuit analogies are provided that are used in the course. An analogy reflection assignment is given that allows students to select either one of the analogies given throughout the course or to create their own analogy that connects the circuit content to a life experience or other topic. In either case, students are required to describe the underlying deep structure that is shared between the analogs of the analogy. It has been shown that students who partake in the exercise of identifying deep structure between analogs are more capable of transferring knowledge to novel situations.
Creating value is targeted through a circuit design-build-test project that requires a value proposition. Students are organized into interdisciplinary groups to design and build a temperature sensing circuit that utilizes a thermistor and meets certain design constraints but is open-ended in terms of the application, or need. Students are required to identify an important need or application for their temperature sensing circuit. The final report for the project has a value proposition section in which students summarize the value created by their design.
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