Enhancing Entrepreneurship Education in a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering: A Project-Based Learning Approach
2. Related Work: Project Based Learning Approach on Human Capital Development
3. Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering: A Brief Description
4. Project Based Learning Approach to the Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering
4.1. Developent of the Activity
- Problem definition: First, it was necessary to define the problem. Special care was taken at this point to formulate a problem based on a real case since the aim of the MCE is to provide professional skills. Moreover, defining a real case can help students be more engaged and enthusiastic about the project. The problem proposed was the creation of a technology-based enterprise. At this stage of the PBL, professors define the material and degree of involvement in the project. This year, three topics were worked on:
- Control of air quality in specific areas
- Vineyard control and pest avoidance
- Indoor comfort
- Formation of working teams and scheduling: Students work in teams. Each student has a different role. The problem is formulated and presented to the students so that the learning process may start. From this point, and until the end of the academic year, students are active elements guided by the teaching staff.
- Presentation of solutions: Before the end of the first semester, the students explain their solutions and defend their proposals in an oral presentation. The enterprise is defined and key elements are established. At the end of the second semester, students give a final oral presentation. At this point, the services offered are well-defined, and students have developed a real prototype. A more detailed description of the issues resolved through each subject is presented in Section 4.
- Assessment: The students’ work on the project is assessed through each subject. Note that the CP is assessed from different points of view in each subject. Moreover, teachers choose the level of involvement or relevance of the CP within the objectives of each subject. The effectiveness of the PBL methodology is also evaluated by collecting information from both teachers and students. The main results obtained from this data are shown in Section 6.
4.2. First Semester Project
- Interaction and Visualization of Information: The first step in the creation of an enterprise consists of knowing whether the core of the future enterprise represents a niche market or not. In this case, the analysis and visualization of data from different databases is a good tool to obtain this valuable information. This task is carried out jointly with Strategic and Operational Management.
- Strategic and Operational Management: Once the market niche has been established, students need knowledge of how to develop a good business plan, including funding. Some of these issues are addressed in Strategic and Operational Management and other, such as funding, jointly with Information Technology Governance and Innovation Management.
- Information Technology Governance and Innovation Management: In this subject, issues related to funding (both public and private, as well as at international, European, national and regional level) and protection of inventions (intellectual property rights and patents). This subject must be highly coordinated with Strategic and Operational Management.
- Technology Integration for Embedded and Ubiquitous Systems: This subject represents the base technology for the development of the enterprises, that is, IoT in different contexts.
- Audit and Security Management: It is well known that all information systems must have a baseline in security. The best way to guarantee this baseline in security is to design an Information Security Management System. Moreover, it is also important not only to conduct audits but also to know how to manage them. Finally, the information system that supports the enterprises could be affected and it is advisable to ensure business continuity through the development of a plan. All these issues represent the contribution of this subject to the project.
4.3. Second Semester Project
- Management Skills: The enterprise evolves, necessitating the ability to manage a team, skills in project management, conflict resolution, etc. All these topics are covered in this subject.
- Planning and Management of Information and Communication Technology Infrastructures: As previously mentioned, the enterprise must migrate to a cloud platform in order to be able to deal with the high demand for its services. The enterprise now not only acquires data from the sensors and stores all data in a server, but also has to provide intelligent services for decision-makers. Under this new paradigm, the data is stored and processed in a cloud platform with access provided through these intelligent services. In this subject, all issues related to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are presented.
- High-Performance and High-Availability Computing Services: This subject addresses all issues related to the software needed to use PaaS to implement services. Evidently, there is a close relationship between this subject and the previous one (Planning and Management of Information and Communication Technology Infrastructures) and also with Intelligent Systems Development. This subject also introduces the concepts and software of High-Performance and High-Availability used in Big Data projects.
- Intelligent Systems Development: All the techniques needed to analyze data to facilitate decision making are developed in this subject. As a result, a service is implemented and accessed by the cloud platform. In this way, the cloud could be seen as a Software as a Service (SaaS). Consequently, all the service levels in a cloud are addressed. In addition, techniques to address Big Data projects are taught.
- Management, Certification and Evaluation of Systems and Services: The system and services implemented in the previous subjects are managed, certified, and assessed in this subject, guaranteeing the quality of both service and platform.
5. Materials and Methods
- The first section globally covers the amount of information available, usefulness, work requirement, time commitment, perception of equity in the score obtained, and satisfaction with the CP;
- The second section specifies the contribution of each subject to the overall understanding of the CP, the level of commitment of the respective teaching staff and the work requirement.
- The third section is related to how the teamwork operates.
6. Findings and Discussion
7. Conclusions and Future Work
- Improving the information on the CP provided to the student when introducing each subject. Students would like to be informed about the exact contribution of each subject at onset of the CP; not only for the first semester subjects but also for those of the second semester.
- Emphasizing coordination across and within subjects.
- Proposing the same project in the same sector for different groups of students, to eliminate the perception of “disadvantage” if different sectors are considered.
Conflicts of Interest
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|1st||Strategic and Operational Management|
Information Technology Governance and Innovation Management
Interaction and Visualization of Information
Technology Integration for Embedded and Ubiquitous Systems
Audit and Security Management
Planning and Management of Information and Communication Technology Infrastructures
Intelligent Systems Development
High-Performance and High-Availability Computing Services
Management, Certification and Evaluation of Systems and Services
|Id Student||Age||Working||Year of Completion Degree||Modality||Id Team|
|Variables/Construct 1||# Items||Defining Items 1||Related Work|
|Creating a technology-based enterprise (TBE) (CE)||1||CE: Involvement in CP||Musteen et al. (2018)|
|Involvement level (LI)||2||LI1: Percentage of grade that depends on CP 2|
LI2: Level of involvement of teachers 2
|Kember and Leung (2009); van de Grift et al. (2017)|
|Understanding level (LE)||1||LE: CP helps students understand subject 2||Hogue et al. (2011); Kong et al. (2017)|
|Team working (WT)||2||WT1: Student engagement|
WT2: Team coordination
|Kember and Leung (2009); van de Grift et al. (2017)|
|Work required (WR)||2||WR1: Volume of work to be got through in subject 2|
WR2: Time spent by the student on subject 2
|Image of MCE(IM)||3||IM1: Students’ perceptions about usefulness of MCE|
IM2: Clear goals in CP
IM3: Teacher coordination
|Ramsden (1991); Li and Kaye (1998); Hogue et al. (2011); Yadav et al. (2011)|
|Grade (SG)||2||SG1: Student grade of subjects 2|
SG2: Appropriate assessment perception (grade/effort) 2
|Ramsden (1991); Hogue et al. (2011); Yadav et al. (2011)|
|Students’ satisfaction (SS)||2||SS1: Global satisfaction with CP|
SS2: Global satisfaction with MCE
|Fuente et al. (2010)|
|Students’ loyalty (SL)||2||SL1: The student will return to study at our Faculty|
SL2: The student would recommend the MCE
|Fuente et al. (2010)|
|Id Team||Coordination Level 1||Perceived Usefulness Level 1||Satisfaction Level 1|
|Id Group||Work Requirement Level 1||Time Used 1||Score 1|
|Subject||Level of Involvement in a common project (CP) 1||CP Leads to a Better Understanding of the Subject 1||Level of Teacher Helps to CP 1|
|Interaction & Visualization||5–20% (−)||2 (−)||2 (−)|
|Strategy||>20% (+)||>4 (+)||>4 (+)|
|Innovation||5–20% (+)||2–4 (+)||2–4 (+)|
|Embedded||<5% (+)||2 (+)||2–4 (+)|
|Audit||>20% (+)||>4 (+)||>4 (+)|
|Skills||5–20% (+)||2–4 (+)||2–4 (+)|
|Infrastructure||>20% (+)||2–4 (+)||2–4 (+)|
|High-Performance||5–20% (+)||2 (+)||2 (+)|
|Intelligent||5–20% (−)||2–4 (−)||2 (−)|
|Certification||5–20% (−)||2–4 (−)||2 (−)|
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Arias, E.; Barba-Sánchez, V.; Carrión, C.; Casado, R. Enhancing Entrepreneurship Education in a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering: A Project-Based Learning Approach. Adm. Sci. 2018, 8, 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci8040058
Arias E, Barba-Sánchez V, Carrión C, Casado R. Enhancing Entrepreneurship Education in a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering: A Project-Based Learning Approach. Administrative Sciences. 2018; 8(4):58. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci8040058Chicago/Turabian Style
Arias, Enrique, Virginia Barba-Sánchez, Carmen Carrión, and Rafael Casado. 2018. "Enhancing Entrepreneurship Education in a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering: A Project-Based Learning Approach" Administrative Sciences 8, no. 4: 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci8040058