In their educational journey, students acquire - next to knowledge, skills, and attitudes - an idea about what type of profession they would like to enter after their degree. They develop ideas about who they want to become professionally. These professional identity aspirations (abbreviated to PIA) guide, structure, and energize their studies. But for many students, there is value in going beyond traditional engineering PIA and also embrace entrepreneurship as a part of their future profession. And to do so, Rainer Harms is developing a tailor-made app.
The development of the app as a teaching intervention on PIA work at UT is supported by Rainer Harms’ Comenius Teaching Fellow. The project is to develop an innovative personal multimedia diary where students can enter and reflect upon their entrepreneurial and engineering experiences. The app enables students to upload pictures, videos, and texts which describe an entrepreneurial activity they have undertaken and reflect on what their thoughts and feelings were while acting as an entrepreneur. They can use these reflections to think about whether they would like to become technology entrepreneurs. Think “UT Wall for technology entrepreneurship journeys” combined with reflection exercises.
The idea to support PIA development emerged during Rainer’s courses at the EIT Digital Master School of UT, where students of Cyber Security and Human Computer Interaction learn about entrepreneurship. Rainer also teaches entrepreneurship in the Nanotechnology Design Project Course, whose course leader Niels Tas agreed to support this grant. The idea of a mobile app was inspired by Maaike Endedijks’ (UT) Career Compass, and Lisa Ploums’ (WUR) Entrepreneurial Mindset Monitor. The project connects well with UT’s 2030 strategy towards a fair, sustainable, and digital society with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Rainer Harms: “I am honored by the trust given by NWO and all those that supported the idea. The grant gives me the space to develop this relevant teaching intervention: this teaching instrument can help to ignite the fire!” Theo Toonen, Dean of the BMS Faculty agrees: “There are a great number of possibilities to use this project to connect entrepreneurship and technology in and between the faculties, and beyond UT.”
The University Twente is the most entrepreneurial university in the Netherlands. And it is the students who keep the fire burning. Their entrepreneurial actions drive new ventures, corporate entrepreneurship, and strategic change. When students combine cutting-edge technology with entrepreneurship, our future technology entrepreneurs can be agents of change.