Overview of a new course at Oklahoma State University (Entrepreneurship & Society)
A couple years ago, two colleagues and I began designing a new course as part of the Entrepreneurship curriculum here at Oklahoma State University. The course is entitled Entrepreneurship & Society and carries the course-catalog designation EEE 2083. It has been approved as a required course for all entrepreneurship majors.
The first in-person section of the course was taught this past semester (Fall 2022) by Dr. Per Bylund. Dr. Matt Rutherford will be teaching the in-person section next semester (Spring 2023) and I will be teaching an online section.
This post will provide an overview of the in-person course as it currently stands. Any insightful comments or suggestions made in response to this post will be passed along to the professors who will be teaching future in-person sections of the course.
In addition, I will be creating a follow-up post specifically related to the online section that I will be teaching. Whereas the in-person section focuses heavily on in-class discussions, and whereas online courses within the Spears School of Business are not allowed to require synchronous class sessions (e.g. virtual face-to-face discussion sessions), significant differences will exist between the in-person an online sections of the course.
In the follow-up post I will be identifying the changes I am currently planning to implement and requesting suggestions for creative ways to specifically tailor the course for asynchronous online-only instruction.
I will add the link to that post here as soon as it is available.
Overview of the In-Person Course (Entrepreneurship & Society )
The in-person section of the course is discussion-oriented and involves one set of required readings each week along with a required movie (usually a popular film, like the 2016 movie The Founder ). The course meets twice per week. The first class session each week involves open discussion of the week’s assigned readings. The second class session involves open discussion of the assigned movie. A weekly discussion paper, on the movie, is required. During the Fall 2022 semester, the professor teaching the course agreed to require the students to post those discussion papers via Hive; those posts can be viewed here.
The primary aim of Entrepreneurship & Society is to provide students a macro-level perspective on new venture creation, wherein students will better appreciate the nuances associated with how institutions affect new venture creation (both positively and negatively) along with how entrepreneurial ventures operating within competitive markets contribute to societal well-being and to local, regional, and national economic growth and development.
The vast majority of business and entrepreneurship courses taught at Oklahoma State help students understand the ‘how’ associated with businesses, i.e. how they form, how they operate, how to ideate, how to raise investment capital, etc.
Entrepreneurship & Society focuses on the ‘why’ and the ‘wherefore’ – why do new ventures form (or not form), why do some societies experience more entrepreneurial activity than others, what are the effects of entrepreneurial activity on societal well-being, under what circumstances can entrepreneurial activities be ‘bad’ for society, under what conditions do policies, institutions, and cultural norms encourage or hinder entrepreneurial activity, etc.
List of Required Readings
Required readings for the Fall 2022 in-person section were:
- Per Bylund, The Seen, the Unseen, and the Unrealized: How regulations affect our everyday lives. New York: Lexington Books, 2016.
- Joseph Schumpeter, “The Process of Creative Destruction”
- Saras Sarasvathy, “What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial?”
- Richard Ebeling, “Business Ethics and Morality in the Marketplace”
- Russell Sobel, “Principled Entrepreneurship”
- Scott Shane, “The Legacy of Communism Still Influences Beliefs about Entrepreneurship”
- Geoff Williams, “Marx Against Them”
List of Required Movies
Required movies for the Fall 2022 in-person section were:
- Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
- The Founder (2016)
- The Fountainhead (1949)
- Joy (2015)
- The New Machine (S1 E8 of History Channel’s series The Men Who Built America)
- Other People’s Money (1991)
- Poverty, Inc. (2014, directed by Michael Matheson Miller)
- They Say It Can’t be Done (2019) (https://www.theysayitcantbedone.com/)
- Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
- Wall Street (1987)
The in-person section utilizes weekly quizzes at the very beginning of the first class session each week. The purpose of the weekly quizzes is to  encourage students to engage with the assigned readings prior to coming to class and  encourage students to show up to class on time (if they show up late to class and miss the quiz, they get a zero for their quiz grade that week).
Weekly Discussion Papers
The in-person section of the course requires students to write a weekly discussion paper evaluating the assigned movie for that week, from an entrepreneurship perspective.
In particular, each discussion paper is supposed to
summarize the main point learned and then elaborate on and contextualize this point using the readings. Focus your discussion on an aspect of entrepreneurship in the movie/podcast that you find especially interesting and use the paper to (1) describe this aspect in the movie (what happens, with whom, why is it entrepreneurship/entrepreneurial), (2) discuss why it is interesting, and (3) elaborate on the interaction/relationship between entrepreneurship and society from the perspective of the movie/podcast (try to use concepts and discussions from class discussions and readings) by answering these questions: How does this aspect of entrepreneurship affect society? How does society affect/stifle/support this aspect of entrepreneurship? What is the interaction between this aspect of entrepreneurship and society like? You must address all three questions under #3 and your emphasis in the paper must be on #3 whereas #1 and #2 should be kept short.
For the Fall 2022 semester, Dr. Bylund required students to submit each weekly discussion paper as a Hive post. Those can be viewed here. It is unclear at this point whether Dr. Rutherford will keep that requirement.
The course includes a mid-term exam and a final exam. The exams focus on assessing each student’s recollection and understanding of the issues in the assigned readings and the in-class discussions.
As mentioned above, for the Spring 2023 semester a different professor (other than the one who taught the Fall 2022 section) will be teaching the in-person section of this course and I will be teaching the online section.
Feel free to comment below regarding any general suggestions you would like to make, regarding the course as a whole. Suggestions that are particularly meaningful will be passed along to the professors who will be teaching future in-person sections.
In addition, I will be making a separate post detailing how the asynchronous online-only section will differ from the in-person section, and requesting suggestions specifically related to the online section.