Fostering an Entrepreneurial Mindset in "Digital Systems" Class through a Jigsaw-puzzle Model

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

IEEE Xplore

Conference Name

2017 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)


In this paper we introduce a jigsaw-puzzle model to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in students. We then use our model to craft and add innovative lab assignments to “Digital Systems”, which is a core course taken by Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science students worldwide. In each lab assignment, students are provided with some components or puzzle pieces as well as the user guide of a digital system, and possibly some reading materials to better understand the operation theory of the system. One selling point of our model is its significant flexibility, so that the game may be played in different ways. Here is one example: students go over the user guide and the reading materials to get a solid understating of the underlying digital system. To comprehend what they have available, students also study the puzzle pieces. Then students challenge themselves to complete the puzzle and eventually build the digital system physically and test it. The resulting system is supposed to function in accordance with its user guide. Our work is an attempt to fulfill the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) Students Outcomes. The anonymous survey from the students is encouraging and shows that our work is able to excite students' curiosity, provide them with an opportunity to apply creative thinking, and instill in students a feeling of value creation among other things.



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