From the start of the Demystifying Entrepreneurship course — part of an appropriately innovative degree venture — the cross-national team of educators from Deakin and Coventry Universities challenge learners, encouraging them to reconsider their assumptions about entrepreneurship and what it means to be an entrepreneur. With the city of Coventry in the background of the opening sequence, the first video in the course sees Dr Joan Lockyer call upon learners to ‘think about how you might be entrepreneurial or behave in an entrepreneurial way, even if it doesn’t involve you starting a business’. Elsewhere, thoughtful discussion prompts encourage learners to reflect on themselves and the field, and to ask more questions.
As well as expanding definitions and interpretations of entrepreneurship for learners, Joan and her fellow educators — Coventry University colleague Professor Gideon Maas and Dr Matt Mount and Steve Jaynes from Deakin — have also expanded their ways of working across continents. While the course might not be the first dual-partner collaboration on FutureLearn, the Entrepreneurism degree of which it is part, certainly is. Of the collaboration, Joan says “Academics are used to working collaboratively on research papers, but working on course design cross-institutionally presents a different set of challenges, not least the differences in time zones – meaning early starts for some and late finishes for others!” However, working together in this way has unearthed many benefits, she says. “Having two institutional and four academic perspectives means that the team has a wealth of knowledge and resources to draw upon and individuals’ specialisms, perspectives and examples add to the richness of the programme. The process has challenged us to be innovative in our approach and so we are practicing what we preach.”
- Joan is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship at Coventry University
- Gideon is the Director of the International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship at Coventry University
- Matt is Assistant Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Deakin Business School
- Steve is a Lecturer in the Department of Management in Deakin Business School