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Diverging From Traditional Lectured Learning, Taipei Tech Introduces PBL

Campus News

Diverging From Traditional Lectured Learning, Taipei Tech Introduces PBL

Nov 8th, 2013
Sally Chang

Taipei Tech students attending the Rescue Robots Contest at Kobe, Japan.

The MOU signed with the Osaka Institute of Technology (OIT) was one of the most anticipated collaborations as it would introduce Problem Based Learning (PBL) to Taipei Tech students. The methodology of PBL was carried out through case studies; by analyzing similar cases, the students could observe the importance and relevance of real situations. Along with the necessary resources and instructions, the students could learn professional knowledge and relevant problem solving skills. In the summer of 2013, Taipei Tech’s Departments of Electronic, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering cooperated with the Electronics, Information and Communication Engineering from OIT PBL to Taipei Tech students. Through a series of laboratory internships, with robot development as the main topic, the two universities began their rewarding exchange activities.

PBL is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn through the experience of problem solving. Unlike the traditional classroom teaching, which is mostly lecture-based, PBL emphasizes understanding on a personal level, the ability to do research, and comprehend what have been learned in order to put them into practice. In this case, the role of the professors is to guide and monitor students’ learning process. This kind of learning aims to help students develop flexible knowledge, problem solving skills, self-directed learning, and more importantly, motivation for learning. That is, to learn actively.

Groups of students, from both Taipei Tech and Japan, test out their self-propelled wagons and exchange opinions with each other.

At the initial stage, nine Taipei Tech students were chosen from both the College of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering and the College of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. The selected Taipei Tech students headed to OIT to conduct research in the laboratory. Before they returned to Taiwan, they had to fulfill 320 course-hours of lab work assigned specifically by the OIT.

In the second stage, four PBL supervising teachers from OIT came to Taipei Tech along with 15 Japanese students. Together with 15 more students from Taipei Tech, the Japanese students began their weeklong PBL workshops. The 30 Taiwanese and Japanese students were divided into five groups to design self-propelled wheeled wagons to go around a specially designed U-shape track. The evaluation criteria included each group’s analytical skills and the final wagon competition. All of their works had to pass through the specially-designed U shaped track, facing the uneven, highly-challenging situation to evaluate stability and endurance. The climax of this activity was at the end, where the 5 teams’ wagons raced against each other. Without any kind of manpower assistance, the steadiest and the fastest one reaching the finish line was the winner.

In the third stage, 10 students from OIT came to Taipei Tech for two weeks and visited various Taipei Tech laboratories. The Japanese students were assigned to different laboratories based on their field of study, where they began their laboratory internships. At the end of the 2 weeks, the Japanese students presented their results. All participants also attended the final results presentation; the collaboration ended with a big success.

Group discussion between Japanese students (on left) and Taipei Tech Mechanical Engineering students (on right).

This exchange program which lasted for two months satisfactorily ended after the achievement publication. In this exchange program, the exchange students from Taipei Tech got the opportunity to live in Japan. “What I had learned cannot be directly applied here. However, what I had experienced truly inspired me in the development of mechanical field, and can be extend to learning in general.” said Jian You-Cheng (簡佑丞), a student at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Taipei Tech. This program is just the beginning of collaboration between the two universities, and both sides will keep on collaborating to provide students with more chances for international learning.

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