New URI Course Teaches Students to Become Entrepreneurs
Since many of the traditional jobs are being outsourced, the University of Rhode Island College of Engineering has decided to take a new route in educating students by teaching them how to create their own jobs. It established a minor in engineering entrepreneurship and offered one of the first classes during the winter break.
Teacher Behind the Project
The course was taught by Rajesh M. Nair who is an engineer and entrepreneur. Nair works for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the institute’s Asia School of Business in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. So every two weeks, he spends 24 hours flying between each school. He temporarily put his busy schedule on hold to teach the course after an invitation from the ocean engineering associate Professor Gopu R. Potty.
Seven engineering students embarked on the 12-day intensive course that nurtured creativity, encouraged risk, created buzz and attracted mentors and investors. At the end of the course, the students had produced two cat toys which included a vehicle with a laser pointer that senses the cat’s approach and darts off and an origami paper ball that swings from a remote-controlled arm. They also made a remote security guard for the university laboratories, a robotic hand to assist people in wheelchairs and an app that shows students which parking lots have open spaces. There were two other prototypes that were made but they were not pitched as commercial products.
Results of the Course
Co-teacher, URI ocean engineering professor James Miller believes Nair was very effective at re-orientation the mindsets of students that even his outlook changed when it comes to the solving problem as an entrepreneur.