Fostering an Enterprising Learning Ecology for Engineers

Samantha Brunhaver and Micah Lande
Center for Design Research
Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305-2232
Email: sbrunhaver,

Sheri D. Sheppard and J. Edward Carryer
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305-3030
Email: sheppard,

Over the last decade, countless courses have been created in the hopes of getting engineering students excited about entrepreneurship. While most of these courses have aimed to broaden students’ understanding of business and human values, some focus instead on preparing students to engage in high technology entrepreneurship, or technopreneurship. We present Mechanical Engineering 218 Smart Product Design, a graduate-level mechatronics course at Stanford University, as one example of such a course. In this paper, we will explore in detail the factors which comprise ME218’s enterprising learning ecology, including the laboratory space, the course structure, the teaching staff, and the peer environment. We will also highlight some of the short and long-term benefits that students gain from participating in it.


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