Fostering Entrepreneurship in the CIS SandboxReport as inadecuate

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Information Systems Education Journal, v11 n3 p35-41 Jun 2013

A fresh coat of paint and new furniture were the obvious external changes to an eleven-year-old computer lab at Bentley University when it was renovated in 2011. More difficult than changing the outward appearance of the room was changing the perceptions of what happens inside. The facility had a reputation of being a place where only students who needed help would go, and the role of assistants who worked there was limited to tutoring and maintaining equipment. This case study describes the transformation of a Computer Information Systems (CIS) department tutoring laboratory into a Learning and Technology Sandbox where student lab assistants are employed as staff of a startup company, whose responsibilities include not only tutoring, but managing the technology and business infrastructure, publicity, and day-to-day operations of the facility. Students who frequent the facility go for tutoring as well as to independently explore new technology. This study, which included both surveys and personal interviews of student workers and student attendees, suggests that through the use of web-based collaborative applications, social media, and a work environment that encourages exploration, the Sandbox has provided student workers with an opportunity to build skills as entrepreneurs, and changes the nature of what a computer lab can be for the students who frequent it.

Descriptors: Entrepreneurship, Information Systems, Information Science Education, Case Studies, Tutoring, Computer Centers, Student Surveys, Student Attitudes, Interviews, Social Media, College Students, Departments, Information Technology, Computer Mediated Communication, Learning Experience, Skill Development

Information Systems and Computing Academic Professionals. Box 488, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480. e-mail: publisher[at]; Web site:

Author: Frydenberg, Mark


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