Virtual Enterprise Evaluation Reports
VE has been shown valuable to the development of students in several ways (Morgulas, 2007 & Schroeder, 2001):
- Building entrepreneurial skills: With the recession, much public focus and many government programs (ARRA, 2009) have centered on the belief that entrepreneurs can innovate America’s way back to prosperity. VE provides the "entrepreneur's internship" experience with exposure to business processes and skills, as related to the student's discipline. In the program, the student determines the value of both their commitment to their product/service concept and an objectified value of that concept as developed in the network. VE builds students' self-efficacy with respect to entrepreneurship being a legitimate career pathway, potentially fostering innovation in all academic disciplines. And, with many government-funded programs (such as SBIR and Small Business Loans), this pathway is indeed within many graduates' reach.
- Intrapreneurship (Pinchot, 2000): Even if graduates do not end up starting their own business, managing a new project or venture within an existing company requires many of the same entrepreneurial skills. Employers demand these skills, and in many fields such as Information Technology, entrepreneurial- and soft-skills are often what determine who gets hired (Lee, 2006 and Saflund Institute, 2007).
- Soft-skills: These interpersonal skills (such as teamwork and effective communication with colleagues in different roles and positions), critical and analytic thinking skills, and problem solving skills were identified by the League for Innovation as crucial 21st Century Learning Outcomes (Wilson, 2000). These skills are needed for students in every field. For example, in Biotechnology, the National Science Foundation unequivocally stated, "soft skills are second only to good laboratory practices among the qualities employers seek in technicians" (NSF, 2008). VE imparts these skills (Schroeder, 2001) with a level of structured group work and student-to-student interaction not present in most simulations.
- Breadth of Perspective: As Doug Busch (2004) notes, colleges do an excellent job of providing a depth of technical literacy. But, often we fail to indicate where graduates fit in to the larger structure of an enterprise. Virtual Enterprise does this, and gives students a perspective on the types of jobs that exist in their discipline and the sorts of problems they will solve. Essentially, VE improves students' perception of the discipline in which its infused (Morgulas, 2007). This is important to student retention and pursuit of higher education.
Virtual Enterprise has been studied numerous times at the collegiate level. Schroder (2001) mapped the League for Innovation's 21st Century Outcomes (Wilson, 2000) to growth in soft- and entrepreneurial-skills attained through the simulation. Her study was based on objective observational metrics. Graziano (2003) extended this study to include student perceptions of their own learning. He concluded both from his review of the educational literature, and the responses of a pool of Virtual Enterprise graduates, that not only were students receptive to the structure of the simulation and they were actively aware of their competency gains and the relation of these skills to their chosen field of study. Morgulas (2007) studied the Virtual Enterprise contextualized to Information Technology. The conclusion was that the students better understood their future careers and knowing this, improved their perceptions of their underlying discipline. Further, instructors who were trained in the pedagogy were very impressed with its level of innovation and the potential for adding a new and necessary dimension to the education provided to students in their discipline.
- ARRA (2009). American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Available from: www.recovery.gov .
- Busch, D. (2004). Keynote presentation by Doug Busch, VP & CTO Digital Health Group, Intel Corporation, NSF SYNERGY 2004 Conference, Nashville, TN.
- Graziano, R. (2003). "The Virtual Enterprise simulation: Students' perceptions of an experiential, active learning strategy for business and career education" Hofstra University (Doctoral Dissertation in Business Education), 241 pages; AAT 3088556
- Morgulas, S. (2007). "Virtual Technology Information Enterprises (VEIT): An Integrated Vehicle for Technology Education Reform, NSF GRANT: DUE-0501711, 9/2005-9-2007: Final Evaluation Report". Center for Advanced Study in Education, The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York.
- Lee, S.M., Lee, C.K. (2006). "IT Managers’ Requisite Skills: Matching job seekers’ qualifications with employers’ skill requirements". COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM April 2006/Vol. 49, No. 4.
- NSF (2008). Educating BioTechnicians for Future Industry Needs. National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.
- Pinchot, G., Pellman, A. (2000). Intrapreneuring in Action: A Handbook for Business Innovation. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
- Saflund Institute (2007). BATEC Information Technology Workforce Skills Study. Prepared for the Boston Area Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC). Available from: www.batec.org.
- Schroeder, B. (2001). "Kingsborough Community College Virtual Enterprises Case Study Report". Center for Advanced Study in Education, The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York.
- Wilson, C. D., Miles, C. L., Baker, R. L., & Schoenberger, R. L. (2000). 21st Century learning Outcomes: New Competencies & Tools for Community Colleges. League for Innovation in the Community Colleges. The Pew Charitable Trust. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED439751).