Chuck Sacco teaches an experiential entrepreneurship class called Launch It! at Drexel that allows him to work with students entrepreneurs to create and launch their own ventures with the help of up to $2,000 in seed funding.
After co-founding PhindMe, a mobile marketing platform used to direct digital advertisements to smartphone users, he decided to turn to teaching. Currently, he serves as entrepreneur in residence, director of external relations and interim director for the Close School’s Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship.
ACCLAIM spoke with Chuck about his Launch It! class and about how he is incorporating learning technology in his classroom.
ACCLAIM: Could you tell me a little bit about the ideas behind the entrepreneurship program at Drexel?
CS: This school is new. Our dean, Donna De Carolis, is very inspirational. She’s looking at the program as a startup. Her proposal was to create a separate entrepreneurship entity and to make it accessible to both business and non-business students. Entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly important to students in all kinds of programs. It also makes parents happy, because they want to know what their kids are getting out of school.
ACCLAIM: How does the class test out the students’ entrepreneurial tools?
CS: In the class, each student team receives up to $2,000 for advancing their idea. They can use this for website development, a material prototype, Google AdWords, or attending a conference. Many students have the potential to scale their ideas into businesses. We get emails from students about how the class has helped them to validate their ideas. However, we also hear a lot about how students fail. The class enables them to fail quickly and to learn from that.
ACCLAIM: We connected with you for this article because you have been using ACCLAIM to assign videos for discussion-oriented homework. What are your thoughts about the actual content of video, vs. similar content in a book? Is the choice to assign videos over articles and books because of millennial students? Is the content equal, just more focused?
CS: Video is a great way to communicate, especially for general information on a topic. Videos appeal to millennials. We’re increasingly using MOOCs like Udacity as part of our core delivery. They not only replace some of the lecture time, but also they also enhance what lecturers can deliver. Still, books have more content, and different individuals learn differently. Even with videos, we have to incentivize students to participate and post comments.
ACCLAIM: In the past few years, have you seen any changes in your students’ sophistication, and in their level of preparedness to be entrepreneurs?
CS: More and more students come in to my class with good ideas that are ready to launch. Their high school preparation has helped. We move them—and some of them are able to move their ideas longer term. They think about it beyond just going to work.
Many thanks to Skyler Logsdon, founder of MyKlipsApp, for contributing his perspective on Chuck’s class and his experience using Acclaim! MyKlips is a mobile app that allows hair stylists to manage scheduling, revenue, analytics, as well as to store their client’s hair styling preferences in photos and notes.