From August 29 to September 4, 2016, OIT Department of Mechanical Engineering invited students and teaching staff from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech), one of our partner universities in Taiwan, and hosted International Project-Based Learning (iPBL) program to build wind turbines. The program was started two years ago and held in Taiwan Tech, but it is the first time to be held in OIT. 15 participating students from each university were split into five teams with six members, and they in each team designed and build a wind turbine and competed for its power generating efficiency and design.
The participants from Taiwan Tech were welcomed at the party held at a school cafeteria, and mixed teams with OIT and Taiwan Tech students were formed. The project actually started on the 2nd day at Monozuukri Center of Faculty of Engineering. After a brief introduction of the program, Professor Kawata from OIT gave a lecture on wind turbine, and then the students discussed their design concepts of a wind turbine. From the 3rd day, each team worked on actual design and construction of turbine blades, a wind lens which gathers wind, and a base. In the beginning of each day, there was a team meeting, and at the end of each day, each team reported its progress in a group presentation. It was beneficial for efficient execution of the program, but it also gave a good opportunity to hone their communication skill in English. On the 4th day, they took a field trip to a manufacturing factory of DMG Mori Co., Ltd. in Iga. The students were very interested in the world’s leading edge precision machines. After the lunch, they also visited Ninja Museum and Ueno Castle.
Back in OIT, the students spent the 5th day to continue making a wind turbine. Turbine blades made by a 3D printer were polished with a sand paper to increase the efficiency. The wind lens was made of plastic cardboard and reinforced with aluminum foils. The base of wind turbine was constructed with steel plates and aluminum sticks fixed together with bolts and nuts. The wind turbines built by the students were filled with unique ideas.
At the final competition, the teams were evaluated according to performance test results and design of the wind turbine and also their group presentation and teamwork effort. In the test, they carefully placed each wind turbine just finished before the test in front of a large wind generator. They were all nervously looking at it while measuring its power output. In the final presentation, they explained their design concepts and creative aspects of their design. They seemed to be getting used to speaking in English. In the closing ceremony, when the evaluation results were announced, students of the winning team jumped with joy, while the others praised them with applause.
We were assured that this program served an opportunity to give our students a taste of development work in the global environment and boosted their motivation to pursue their studies and improve their English.
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