The Evolution of an IT Student-Run Venture: A Follow-up Study
RJ Podeschi Millikin University
Abstract Research was published in 2020 regarding the creation and operation of an IT student-run venture at a small private university in the Midwest (Podeschi). Student-run ventures are owned and governed by the university, can be profit-motivated or socially focused, and can be either co-curricular or integrated into a for-credit course (Morris, Kuratko, & Cornwall, 2013). Student-run ventures allow students to gain experience of working “in a business” and “on a business” simultaneously. Moreover, student-run ventures allow for students from across different disciplines to engage, thereby mimicking a real-world work environment. This specific student-run venture is a for-credit course and has now been in operation for seven years. While the foundational elements have remained the same, students have evolved the venture into something different from its conception as students’ core operation are now focused on web design/development rather than unique one-off client engagements. Students continually implement new tools and revise business processes for efficiencies, and knowledge is strategically passed on to the next generation of student consultants. In addition, the population of students have become more diverse in both field of study and demographics. This purpose of the abstract is to outline the proposal for a seven-year longitudinal study on the student learning outcomes achieved through this unique curricular experience while also articulating how the student-run venture has evolved over time. Information Systems (IS) and computing educators can use insights from this to develop or enhance their own student experiences at their home institutions.
While the initial research (Podeschi, 2020) focused on the rationale, benefits, risks, pedagogy, and mechanics of the student-run venture, the research did not go in-depth to address student learning outcomes due to small sample size. This proposed research will conduct a qualitative analysis of seven years of student reflections that ask students two key questions as part of their reflection: 1) What new skills did you learn this semester and how did you leverage them?; and 2) What skills do you feel you need to develop to be more effective in next semester, and why? If you are not returning next semester, what skills do you feel would need to develop if you had another semester, and why? While key themes will be analyzed and summarized, changes in responses and themes over time will also be reviewed. The results will highlight, although self-reported, what students reflect upon their learning outcomes while identifying gaps in learning that could be addressed. In addition, the research will summarize feedback from clients to identify strengths and weaknesses over the tenure of the student-run venture.
Morris, M., Kuratko, D., & Cornwall, J. (2013). Entrepreneurship Programs and the Modern University. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.
Podeschi, R., (2020). Lessons Learned from Launching and Advising a Student-run Technology Consulting Venture. Information Systems Education Journal18(5) pp 65-74. http://ISEDJ.org/2020-5/ ISSN : ISSN: 1545-679X. A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of EDSIGCON 2019