Welcome! Alex here from Straight Up. The course syllabus below is being built and shared in response to a challenge issued to me by Dr. Doan Winkel (of John Carroll University). He challenged me to use my favorite stuff to design the entrepreneurship course I’d always wanted to teach – my dream course. I took him up on it and we got to work to create a version with his students in mind. And we decided to share our whole process. You can eavesdrop on our next design conversation here »  and you can catch a description and replay of the first one here »  If you’re an educator, you can catch any design sessions you missed and access everything we come up with by registering as a Straight Up Educator »  If you’re already registered then don’t forget to sign back in (at the top right side of this page). Thanks for being here!

By Alex Bruton, Ph.D.

Activity Schedule

This is our teaching and learning Activity Schedule for the semester. Think of it as the definitive reference for what we’ll be doing / did every day.

Collapse / or expand each date range for details. Check it daily to stay current.

Week 1: Welcome + getting our feet under us

Welcome! This is our first week together. We’ll be getting to know each other a little, and you’ll learn what the course is all about. There’s nothing formally due for marks yet but don’t miss it – we’ll be covering some pretty important stuff, you’ll have a few “mini badges” to complete to get your feet under you, and we will begin learning some of the key concepts.

Note for educators: The material used in this first week is discussed in detail as part of the Dream Entrepreneurship Course Experiment – with the goals of providing a rich and thoughtful narrative of the teaching and learning aspects, and helping you duplicate any part(s) of it you might want for your own courses. Anyone can listen to the first part of that discussion here »  Registered educators can find the whole discussion here »  And each of the links below takes you to the relevant topics in the Educators Hub, where you can find full teaching notes, handouts, slides, and other materials.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Aug 28Welcome!
  • I’ll provide an introduction to the course - to help you get to know me and to help you get to know what to expect in a class like this
  • We’ll do an ideation warm-up activity called Who’s in the Room? that’s part ice breaker, part creativity warm-up, and - importantly - part introduction to ideation. In fact, as simple as this activity may seem, it’s the first of three mini sessions we’re going to do on what I call the Ideation Fundamentals, and it’ll form the basis of your first quiz
  • I’ll also hand out a version of the course outline for you to read so we can discuss it together next time, and your first two mini-badges
Thu Aug 30In today’s class you will need to Challenge the Minefield, with the goals of: 1) getting to know each other a little better; and 2) working as a class on a common challenge; and 3) introducing us to innovation and entrepreneurship. Details will be announced in class. We’ll also spend a bit of time reviewing the course outline in case you have any questions.Be sure to dress in comfortable clothing for this activity. Nothing’s due coming into today’s class, but there’s no reason you can’t get a start on Mini Badges 1 and 2 that are due next week.
HomeworkDo the following before next Tuesday’s class:
  1. Mini Badge 1: Get set up on Google Drive
  2. Mini Badge 2: Your first mini ideastorming assignment
  3. Mini Badge 3: Look-back reflection

Week 2: Basic training + some key tools and concepts

Welcome back! This second week’s super important. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and put some tools to work, and you’ll be expected to start getting serious about building your own personal practice in ideation. Starting with the homework you did over the weekend, you’ll go from the lay person’s understanding of brainstorming to a more sophisticated understanding of what it means to be truly good at ideastorming, i.e. from blindly playing the ideation odds to deliberately changing your odds of success. All of this is to get you ready to go even deeper next week when we launch the Venture Design Studio project.

DateActivities and topicsThings due or required
Tue Sep 4Welcome back!
  • We’ll start today with a second ideation warm-up. Like the one we did last week, it’s intended partly to get us warmed up and partly to help you get acquainted with the Ideation Fundamentals we began studying last time.
  • Then we’re going to spend the rest of the class doing something I call Brute Force Ideation, a simple (and as you will see, sometimes flawed) approach to coming up with ideas as a group.
  • And we’ll close by briefly discussing the course outline
Mini Badges 1 and 2 need to be completed before the start of class today. Be sure also to bring to class a printed copy of your personal ideastorming work from Mini Badge 3.
Thu Sep 6Today:
  • We’ll start today with a third ideation warm-up. This is the last of the series and will serve to round out the Ideation Fundamentals we’ve been studying. In turn, these will be a key part of Quiz 1 to take place next week.
  • Then we’re going to play a round of the Idea Maker Game, a high-paced design thinking based ideation game. You’re challenged to try and win the game of course, but it’s really meant as a way of giving you the basic training you’re going need on how to use the tools in your Idea Design Kit. As we’ll discuss, the basics of using these tools will also be tested on Quiz 1.
All of this will be important as we get into the upcoming Venture Design Studio project
HomeworkI recommend you use the weekend to prepare for Quiz 1. As we have discussed, this will cover:
  • The Ideation Fundamentals we treated this and last week through the warm-ups
  • The use of the Idea Slide Rules for turning feedback received into a place on the impact-feasibility chart


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Watch this space as we build out the design for the rest of the semester …

At a glance

The table below summarizes the key dates and deliverables at a glance. The full Activity Schedule should be consulted for the rest of the details. All dates are subject to change and I will discuss with you /  make you aware of any required changes.

Aug 28First day of class!
Sep 4Mini Badges 1, 2 and 3 due
Sep 6Mini Badge 4 due
Sep 11Quiz 1 in class
TBAOther key deliverables will be posted here as we go …

This section briefly outlines the key resources used in the course.

Idea Design Kits

1. We’re going make extensive use of the tools found in this Idea Design Kit » You can purchase these into your center or bookstore at an educator’s discount, or you can have your students download the contents for free from the Straight Up Toolkit »  In the latter case, you can also have your students make their own Idea Slide Rules or download it in iOS app form, as discussed here »

My students seem to express a strong preference for having their own kits, even though they have to pay for them. They say this is because they get to hold them in their hands and because they like the kit folder which also serves as a way to hold and manage their designs throughout the term. That said, the free versions are available for those who can’t or don’t want to pay for the kits.