Global project-based learning (PBL) with university-industry collaboration is one of the good ways to enhance global engineering competency. Also, an internship is useful to fill out a gap in the transition from university to industry. Niigata University has implemented global group work (GW) internships in the G-DORM project, which is an interactive student exchange program with four universities in the Mekong region. In the GW internship, students form a multi-academic year, multi-cultural, and multi-disciplinary group as if the students were international boarding students at a dormitory. And the formed groups tackle a global PBL in an internship that is carried out in cooperation with Niigata regional companies whose business extends globally. This paper presents the contents and the achievements of the GW internship carried out in Tsubame city in 2019 in terms of students’ satisfaction and interests in the regional industry. The practice in 2019 developed the motivation and the actual action of students in a step-up tendency.
Niigata University has a project called “Smart Dormitory,” which is a unique initiative of the engineering faculty that allows students to participate in full-scale research activities from the first year. In this project, group activities across departments and academic years are conducted under the guidance of senior students and faculty members. One of the projects is “Development of resource recycling technology for recovering phosphorus from sewage sludge ash” in which we have been participated. Recently, the price of phosphorus fertilizers has risen up sharply. Because of the lack of natural phosphorus resources in Japan, securing its own phosphorus resources is an issue of significance. Therefore, we have directed our attention to sludge ash, namely a waste product of sewage treatment plants. This sludge ash contains phosphorus (P2O5) at the same level as the low rank phosphorus ore, but it also includes metals and heavy metals. If we succeed in removing heavy metals, we could recycle and reuse phosphorus resources, and contribute to the realization of a phosphorus recycling society. In order to investigate the effectiveness of the phosphorus fertilizer recovered, in this study, we have carried out a pot experiment of green-soybeans and a field experiment of sweet potato in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture, and harvested sweet potatoes.
Tokyo Tech faculty/staff began developing online courses for edX in 2014 by working with student teaching assistants (TAs). In 2016, Tokyo Tech received a grant from MEXT to establish a Graduate Student Assistant (GSA) educational training program via coursework and on-the-job training (OJT). Graduate Student Assistants have been actively involved in assisting instructors in teaching courses in the classroom and online forming a “learning community” with students, peers, instructors and staff. Training students to develop online courses has been accomplished using blended-learning and by OJT. In the Coronavirus era, where education has shifted to online content delivery exclusively, training TAs to create online courses is a practical way to support faculty who are teaching online, develop new online courses for the general public (outreach) as well as to train doctoral students who will become future faculty.
Buckling may occur in slender columns and members subjected to compressive loads, or vessels and pipes subjected to external pressure for instance. The criteria for buckling have been determined based on the results of many years of research. However, students and engineers hardly experience buckling phenomena in labs since buckling tests on materials are not as established as tensile tests and hardness tests. Therefore, we have developed a kit that allows them to easily experience elastic buckling phenomena by using small rod specimens with different lengths and diameters. These are made of straightened metal wires for DIY. The compressive force on the specimen is applied by hand, and the force is measured using inexpensive kitchen scales. The GRANTA EduPack software was used to study the Young’s modulus of metal rods. By comparing the measured compressive load for buckling obtained from the experiment with the theoretical value, one can think deeply about the phenomena and the theoretical formula for buckling.
Cross-cultural Engineering Project is a program for international collaboration that aims to acquire synthetic problem-solving capability under interesting issues. Thus, participation in this program is required to suggest procedures and propose creative solutions for resolving the problems. To assist the activities of participants, this paper presents the Idea Creation Support System (ICSS) as a method to obtain attractive ideas and solutions for solving the problems. The ICSS consists of two understanding processes: problem understanding and Kando understanding processes, for ideas creation. The problem’s requirements, which define from consumer’s needs and Kando quality via the World Café process, are assigned as the target to enhance the solutions. Then, the Quality Function Development (QFD) matrix is utilized with contradiction solving method for defining the essential solutions to satisfy all the problem’s requirements. Through the proposed methodologies, the participants effortlessly obtained attractive ideas and the most effective solutions as the basis to solve the problems.
A student exchange program between the Muroran Institute of Technology, Japan, and the Chiang Mai University, Thailand, was held in Hokkaido, Japan, in June 2018. The program, which included lectures and events, was sponsored by the Muroran Institute of Technology. The program was entitled “Let’s Learn the Essential of Science and Technology of Monozukuri at Muroran in Hokkaido” and subsidized by the Sakura Science Plan of the Japan Science and Technology Agency. The primary objectives were to develop students’ exchange (particularly the undergraduate students), to foster students of both universities to participate in the exchange program, and to enforce the relationship between the two universities regarding research and education. The program was conducted over six days and included academic and cultural actions regarding “monozukuri.” The program mainly consisted of special lectures, hands-on classes, students’ exchange, and laboratory tours offered by the Muroran Institute of Technology. It also included visits to the facilities of local industries. Students and professors of both universities actively exchanged ideas and key information using the English language. The activities of this program are briefly summarized.
The technology of superconductivity is regarded as the most developed in the world due to the efforts of Japanese scientists who invented multiple novel and efficient superconductors. A characteristic research activity titled international collaboration aiming at reducing ac energy loss of superconducting materials has been carried on through the international network with respect to the extreme technologies such as large current, intense magnetic field and super-high pressure. To nurture young researchers, the international collaboration project has been conducted with an assistance of Japanese government. A characteristic international collaboration project has been carried on for three years in cooperation with the European forefront institutes and promoted the research activities of young Japanese researchers to the world top level.
“Smart Dormitory” program, one of unique engineering education programs in the Faculty of Engineering, Niigata University, has been carried out to facilitate active learning for the undergraduate students before starting graduation researches. The students make up teams corresponding to research themes and research their theme under the guidance of professors at the laboratory as after-school activity. This team research activity is mainly managed by the students themselves, so is called “Smart Dormitory” after actual dormitory which is run by dormitory students. We have been carried out research on wastewater treatment by constructed wetland, and had monthly and annual presentations. Last year, the Smart Dormitory teams had joint meeting with “Global Dormitory” students, oversea students from Mekong countries. Communication in English with them was not easy for us, but the experience with them highly inspire us to learn global communication skills and collaboration. We are going to present our research activity and what we learnt from the collaboration with the “Global Dormitory” students.
Faculty of Engineering, Niigata University has implemented several “Dormitory-type Education” programs such as Fabrication Project, Smart-Dormitory, Global-Dormitory and so on. Smart-Dormitory (S-DORM) is research-based learning for undergraduates before starting graduation researches. S-DORM students form cross-academic year, cross-disciplinary student groups to carry out forefront research under the guidance of professors. Global-Dormitory (G-DORM) is a student exchange program that has global project-based learning in an internship by Niigata University with four universities in Mekong countries. G-DORM students also form cross-academic year, cross-disciplinary, multinational student groups to work on the project. In 2019, S-DORM students invited G-DORM students to laboratory visit and monthly meeting. The exchange between the two DORM students inspired themselves to pursue their project goal and global activities. The collaboration of two DOMEs proved to create synergy effect on engineering education. The number of S-DORM students who already had taken or are going to take part in G-DORM activities is increasing.