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SDUUP | Newsletter April 2021

The Great Example - Entrepreneurship in Computer Science

Rolf Fagerberg is responsible for the innovation part of the course Formal Languages and Data Processing along with outreach coordinator Peter Bæksgaard Madsen, where students on the third year of the programme are required to develop an idea for a product and program a prototype. In the course, SDU Entrepreneurship Labs contribute a guest lecture on using Business Model Canvas in a practical setting, along with information on what they can offer the students after they have completed the course.

Practical work with Business Model Canvas and prototype development contributes to the students’ learning outcome

Rolf explains that the goal of the innovation part of the course is to introduce to the students how to work with idea development through a four-week course, which requires the students to work directly with their ideas:

In the course, the students are required to both develop an idea, which solves an issue, and work their way towards a prototype, which can be a program, an app or a website. The idea is that this will make the innovation teaching even more based in reality and directly connected to using methods form the student’s other courses. The students primarily work on their idea in a practical manner, as the teaching part of the course consists of only one double lecture, wherein SDU Entrepreneurship Labs contribute with a guest lecture on how the students can work with the Business Model Canvas. In addition to this, during the course we have a workshop, where the students are provided with tools for idea development and brainstorming, along with a mid-term evaluation, where the students provide feedback for each other’s ideas. The exam is based on a short report where they both analyse their business idea based on the Business Model Canvas method and describe the computer science elements of their prototype. Of course, they also demonstrate their prototype.

Focus on developing products on an academic and value-generating basis

It was decided to incorporate the innovation teaching in an existing course, because this will make the students experience how to develop an idea within their own academic background – according to Rolf, this makes it easier for them to see themselves work in a creative manner and might even inspire them to see entrepreneurship as a career opportunity:

The reason why we incorporated the innovation teaching in another course was that the students could work in a practical and creative manner with their academic knowledge. It was placed in a course, which teaches methods in transforming and processing data, making innovation with a focus on creating value by combining different types of data sources the starting point. However, the students are of course encouraged to incorporate methods from their other courses, i.e. AI, databases, algorithms and data structures, on which they are also knowledgeable on. The innovation course first and foremost supports the student’s innovation and entrepreneurship learning through the introduction to the Business Model Canvas, which helps them get started on idea and business development right away.

Great synergy between the course and SDU Entrepreneurship Labs

Rolf has been very satisfied with the cooperation with SDU Entrepreneurship Labs and explains that their knowledge is very important to the course and the students’ learning:

SDU Entrepreneurship Labs are great at explaining the students how to work on their ideas beyond the course and how Entrepreneurship Labs can support the further development of the students’ ideas through their experience and resources. Thus, there is a synergy between our course and SDU Entrepreneurship Labs, as we create a point of contact between them and our students. I have been very satisfied with our cooperation with SDU Entrepreneurship Labs as their lecture was easily integrated into our course and as they have expert knowledge in the subject, making them very important to the course, despite the brief time they are with us.

Entrepreneurship Labs has a great track record with students

Katrine Damgaard Foster is a Business developer at SDU Entrepreneurship Labs and has helped set up the cooperation with Rolf’s and Peter’s courses. She explains how Entrepreneurship Labs support students in their entrepreneurship learning:

If some of the students wish to develop their ideas further and built up their own business, we are the platform, from which they can do it. We have a physical co-working at Videnbyen, where the students can work on their startups and get support for their business development. We hope to plant a seed, which makes the students more aware of the fact that they can also use their degree to start their own business. Through our courses, we want to inspire students to think about other career opportunities than the traditional ones. And we have absolutely gotten a great hold on the students, as we had 286 active startup-teams in our environment last year.

Entrepreneurship Labs support courses with solid knowhow and practical experience

Katrine points out that Entrepreneurship Labs have many great resources and a lot of experience, which can contribute to entrepreneurship and innovation teaching.

We are happy to support courses through the tools we use actively in our environment – which we have done in Rolf’s and Peter’s course. Through a model such as the Business Model Canvas, we help the students understand how to start up a business and what a business model looks like. We introduce the students to a very early stage of the startup-process, but we also hope that this inspires them to work more with their ideas through us. What we can offer teachers is solid knowhow and practical experience on how to support students in entrepreneurship learning and developing startups.

About the Teacher

Rolf Fagerberg is a Professor of Computer Science and researches and teaches algorithms at the Faculty of Science. Rolf is responsible for the innovation part of the course Formal Languages and Data Processing

About Katrine

Katrine Damgaard Foster is a Business developer at SDU Entrepreneurship Labs and has helped set up the cooperation with Rolf’s course.

Editing was completed: 13.04.2021