OIT Faculty of Information Science and Technology has conducted an online International PBL program with Sirindhorn International Institute of Engineering (SIIT) in Thammasat University, Thailand.
This program has started from 2014 and is now in its 8th year (it was cancelled in AY2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). This time, as same as last year, the students worked on writing a program that integrates simulated robot control and image processing to meet the following requirements.
- The robot is automatically controlled in a virtual space on an online simulator and visits multiple checkpoints in the virtual space.
- At each checkpoint, the robot plays an interactive game in which processing is based on body movements and facial expressions captured by a webcam.
The online exchange program was scheduled to run from July 20 to September 4, including a pre-study period for deepening communication and improving basic skills.
During the pre-study (Jul. 21 - Aug. 26), the students studied programming using online tools such as oVice, Slack, and GitHub, which were provided by the faculty members, and also worked on a video introducing recommended foods from both countries, which was set as a cultural exchange assignment. The SIIT students cooked beef bowls, rice balls, yakisoba, pork cutlets, dumplings, miso soup, okonomiyaki, etc. using ingredients purchased in their respective countries.
During the main program (Aug. 27-Sept. 4), the students worked on theme and created posters and videos based on the results of their work. On the final day, the Final Competition was held to showcase the results of the PBL, and the Closing Ceremony, which included an awards ceremony and critiques, was also held.
The Final Competition consisted of two parts: the first part was a poster session in which participants could freely view the videos and posters of their PBL results placed on oVice, and the second part was a 7-minute oral presentation in which each group presented their results. In the mini-games, many fun games were presented that applied the recognition technology acquired in the pre-study and elaborated on techniques and ideas, such as a quiz in which participants answered questions using the number of fingers, a game in which participants moved their fingers and faces as specified on the screen, and a game of rock-paper-scissors-scissors. The high level of the presentations was very exciting for the participants, including the guest teachers and students. After the competition, participants voted to determine the ranking of the teams.
According to the survey, around 78% of the respondents from both universities answered "strongly agree" or "agree" to the question "Did you enjoy the international PBL?" In addition, when asked "What was the most valuable thing about this project?", some responses such as "I learned the difficulty of joint development with people from different countries" and "I learned the importance of communication in a team" showed the difficulty of the project, however many of the participants gave positive answers for questions such as "Did you become more interested in each other's countries?" and "Would you like to visit each other's universities to participate in overseas research program?” It is hoped that face-to-face PBL will be realized soon, but even online, the participating students from both universities were able to have a very fulfilling international exchange opportunity.
This activity was supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) through Sakura Science Exchange Program for fiscal 2022.