Earlier this year, the LX.lab in partnership with our first AiR (Academic in Residence) Ilaria Vanni, wrapped our inaugural AiR project which focused on developing place-based methodologies. Following the success of this initiative, we’re extremely excited to announce our new AiR project, along with our new team of AiRs from the UTS Business School, the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit: Martin Bliemel, Maya Marcus, Jochen Schweitzer and Julien Marchand.
The new AiR Project
Working towards innovative and groundbreaking learning design, we’ve partnered with four academics to develop high quality digital learning resources and assessment strategies for entrepreneurship education, including piloting of micro-credentialing and badging approaches.
We’ll be focusing first on creating new learning modules and testing assessment approaches, and a learning roadmap for the new Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (Honours) that commences in Autumn 2019. We’ll also be working towards linking learning strategies to the emerging UTS entrepreneurship capability framework and creating content that can be shared and adapted for related subjects across UTS. It’s a big project, and we can’t wait to share our processes and new resources with the learning and teaching community.
In the meantime, read our interview with the new AiRs to find out more about where we’re coming from, and what we’ll be working on together. And don’t forget to register for our AiR launch at the Entrepreneurship Education Community of Practice!
Tell us a little about yourself and your role at UTS/in this project.
Martin: I’m a recent addition to the new FTDI and director of its Diploma in Innovation. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs since 2002 and taught innovation and entrepreneurship since part-way through my PhD (circa 2006). A key question I am doing research on that is directly related to this project is how we can accurately assess entrepreneurial capabilities at scale. So, while I’m helping with the learning module designs, my focus will be on the assessment design.
Maya: I’m the Manager of Entrepreneurship Education for the UTS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit. I manage a team of people to help scale entrepreneurship education across the university which includes the development of online content, practical workshops, the UTS Startup Internship program, and various other initiatives designed to equip students with the skills, knowledge, experience and networks they need for their entrepreneurial journey. Each of these initiatives are focused on empowering students with things that will be valuable no matter what pathway they pursue – whether it’s commercialising research, launching a startup, innovating from within a company, or something else entirely.
Jochen: I work in the UTS Business School where I am responsible for the entrepreneurship programs including the MBA in Entrepreneurship and also the new Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (Honours). Before joining UTS in 2008 I was a strategy consultant working with a number of tech start-ups and also large corporations. At UTS, I originally taught strategy but over the years I developed an interest in design-led innovation and entrepreneurship education. For this new program we draw upon most recent knowledge about how to teach and learn about entrepreneurship.
Julien: For ten years I juggled between being an innovation consultant and running my businesses. The last business was a start-up with a lot of challenges, which made me realised that University never prepared me for it. I decided to do my PhD with UTS with the goal to understand who student entrepreneurs are and how to help them. I also started running the Studentpreneur podcast to help raise awareness among students that it is the best time to be an entrepreneur. After my PhD, I became an online lecturer in entrepreneurship. Now I am back to UTS to help develop and deliver this program to help students become entrepreneurs. I am applying the knowledge learnt during my PhD for the benefit of UTS students; it’s exciting!
What are some of the ideas you’re excited about at this stage of the AiR project?
Martin: I’m excited to go well beyond the startup MOOC I launched in Coursera to develop a more customisable and blended method of learning; one that is fully supported online, and backed by real mentorship and interaction. I’m especially excited to be working on assessing capabilities as scale, not just pop-quizzes about the acquisition of knowledge.
Maya: I’m really excited to have some really valuable, engaging content that will equip students with a strong understanding of key entrepreneurship methods and tools whilst also helping them develop really valuable 21st century skills including problem solving, creativity and critical thinking. There is huge potential in this content given the wealth of knowledge, resources and case studies we can draw on from across the UTS community.
Jochen: I’m very excited that we already got this far. To develop the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (Honours) we collaborated with various faculties and the entrepreneurial community. It took over a year to go through the various steps in the course accreditation process and this is the last stretch before the first students will be able to study the program. The AiR project helps to ensure we can implement the program as we envisioned it – as a mix of modularized blended and experiential learning. We are also piloting micro credentialing and e-portfolios.
Julien: The modular approach focusing on entrepreneurial competencies needed to start and run a business is thrilling. There is a lot of focus on making it as practical and experiential as possible. The opportunity to pilot it with micro credentials and an ePortfolio, to gather evidence of the competencies developed, makes it even more interesting!
Do you have any tips or advice for other learning and teaching practitioners who are designing new programs?
Martin: If you’re going to do something like this, you have a duty to do it right and aim high. That means drawing on the literature and best practices, internationally. Then, if you’re going to extend from the literature, be sure to contribute back to it and get your contributions peer reviewed and published within the international community, not just on campus.
Maya: The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit applies entrepreneurial methods to all program design. The key process we use for program development is the design thinking process – making sure we are clear about our vision, understand who we’re designing for, develop something that creates value and addresses a need, and that we test and iterate as we go. I would highly recommend this process, particularly the focus on who you’re designing for and ensuring you’re creating value for them.
Jochen: Find a great team and keep at it. Funny enough, given that this program is about entrepreneurship, when designing new and innovative educational programs you will naturally be working at the fringes of what seems possible or acceptable. Institutions like universities and large corporations move relatively slowly even though they have all the means. So it’s important to leverage the enthusiasm and experience of the team while taking one step a the time.
Julien: In our program, we facilitate the learning of the Lean Start-up methodology. In short, it’s an iterative process where entrepreneurs need to constantly test the early versions of their product with their customers to understand their needs. In developing programs for the new frontier of digital learning, I believe it’s a great methodology to apply. It keeps the learners’ needs at the front of everything we develop.